Gravel combines a little bit of simulation and a lot of arcade style racing into one game. If you want a break from the all the serious stuff of Forza motorsport then this one could be for you. Game modes are Off Road Masters (a sort of career mode), Free race, Xbox live and Time Attack.
Off Road Masters is a kind of career mode although there are no drivers to choose from. You have no character, you simply have to work your way through the game. 15 episodes and 5 special episodes with a number of tracks to race in each one. The better you do in each race the more stars you’ll earn, enabling you to progress to the next episode. There are some nice cars available but you’ll need to get your driver level up before you can use them. I’m unsure how long it would take to get through all the episodes but it took me about an hour to get to the 4th.
Then we have free race which is almost as it sounds although you can’t try a track until it’s been raced in Off Road Masters mode first. It’s the same with the cars, it’s not possible to use them unless your driver level is up. So not really a free race but more of a race what you’ve already raced but for less of a reward type of thing.
Xbox live mode is what you would expect, matchmaking and create a private race. Leaderboards are available too so you can see what times others are putting in. During matchmaking I only ever got to race against one driver which was a shame. I tried on day one of release and day five and still only raced against one other person.
Time attack, again you can only choose tracks and vehicles you’ve already unlocked in (yes you guessed it) Off road masters mode. However this is one of my favourite game modes, just jump in and try to beat the times others have set. It’s like a race but without other people crashing in to you.
We shouldn’t forget we also have Weekly Challenges. This is where you race against the clock for the chance to earn show points, which I think help you level your driver up.
Graphically Gravel has nothing too special to get excited about but it does have some good splash moments when driving through puddles of mud and at night time. The handling of the vehicles seems the same for every one I tried. I drifted around most of the corners, whether I wanted to or not. Yeah I know it’s a kind of rally game but spending more time drifting than actually getting around the corner is frustrating as it slows you down. It is possible to change the car settings but if you don’t know what you’re doing you could make it worse.
Gravel is a decent game if you have a spare hour you want to kill, although any longer and you’ll be reaching for the off button. Seeing where you’re going is sometimes difficult due to lack of signs on the road. Corners show up on the mini map as you’re hitting them so it’s easy to crash into the barriers. Free race is annoying because for me free race means being able to race any track or car, but they have to be unlocked. There are a good amount of cars to choose from (when unlocked) and Time attack is fun. Compared to Milestones other release of Monster Energy Supercross only a short time before writing this, Gravel does not come close to the same quality.
GOG Rating 5/10