Gravel: A Possible DiRT Competitor

Article By 
Tom Matthews
March 8, 2018

Gravel: A Possible DiRT Competitor

Article By 
Tom Matthews
March 8, 2018

So, it’s been just over a week since the release of Gravel, an off-road, high energy, old school arcade racing game from the makers of the Ride franchise. Admittedly this did worry me a bit, as I really didn’t like these games, however, so far my time with the game has been a fair amount of fun. I should state this article will merely be my first impressions of the game, and I am currently working on a more in-depth review for the game which shall be coming out in the next few weeks, so make sure to follow our social links to keep up to date when the full review releases.

However as for now, what can I say about the game thus far? Well, first things first, it is FUN. As I mentioned, Gravel is an old school arcade racing game, a genre that’s died down a little bit in the racing game scene throughout recent years, and since the DiRT franchise has taken a more serious route now, Gravel is a game that takes over nicely from where DiRT 3 left off. But, that’s not to say this game is anywhere near as good as DiRT’s game quality. The UI is a bit dull and basic, and the menus feel a tad bit bland, and it’s not just that either, the whole concept of Gravel is rather cheesy and gimmicky due to the fact that the game is based around being a TV show, a bit like what Split/Second was.

One of the many stadium races feature in Gravel, with a picture taken within the game's photo mode.

But despite these minor flaws the game does delivers well on the enjoyment factor, and it has a fair amount to offer too. The car list from what I’ve seen so far is pretty decent, with a huge variety of off-road vehicles for players to choose from, the track list / locations all differ from the last making the race dynamics always feel fresh. However, I think I might see these races / game mode types start to become slightly repetitive after a while. This makes me think that perhaps the inclusion of a rally or gymkhana game mode would be a nice addition, and I know that would make this game a bit similar to another off road racing franchise, but when was the last time these races modes where in a fun, arcade-y style of racing game, as a pose to a serious one? And besides that, this game does have a season pass, so who knows, maybe we may see the addition of new game modes come from that.

The Menu screen of Gravel, with selection choices of the Campaign, time trails, weekly challenges and more!

It seems that only time will tell as to if Gravel is a decent competitor for the latest, rather weak and repetitive, DiRT game from Codemasters. But, whilst the DiRT franchise has a lot more polish, it does seemed to have lost track of all the fun it used to be back in its previous versions of the game, which is where I hope Gravel will step up to that task.

Overall though, Gravel has been ticking a lot of the right boxes for me so far, although I do hope that this game has a few more cards left up its sleeves to impress me further. However, despite it being an enjoyable game, there is something that doesn't sit quiet right with me when I play it, there's something that doesn't feel, right. Hopefully by the time my full review of this game is out I'll be able to figure out what that is...

Tom Matthews

Tom is the co-founder and co-owner of FullThrottle Media. He's the face behind the iconic Gear Knobs series, which is recorded and edited in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto V. When it comes to Tom Matthews, two things come to mind – cars and Jeremy Clarkson, and you can expect to hear a lot of that amongst his various ramblings and rants in his weekly Sunday column.