Gravel is an arcade racing game and was developed by Milestone S.R.L. It's available now on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC.
There has been a lack of arcade racing games on the current generation of consoles, however, Milestone SRL is trying to remedy that with Gravel. This game takes inspiration from classic racers like Burnout, Forza and even Motorstorm. This isn't Milestone’s first game in the arcade racing genre though as the last game they made was 2016’s Sébastien Loeb Rally Evo. However, that title focused solely on rally racing, whereas Gravel focuses on multiple types of racing.
There is a lot of content to go through in this title’s career mode, seeing you work your way up through the ranks with a TV presentation style. Most things in the career mode are presented like you're watching a show, with different stars for each major rank in the mode. The career mode was fun and encourages you to retry tracks to achieve 3 stars on each to unlock the next batch of tracks.
Gravel doesn't delve too deeply into the simulation front, instead it encourages an arcade style for a more casual approach. Sure other games that focus more on simulation are still easy to play, however for this title you really don't need to know much about cars to have a great experience. However there, are some options for people who love the simulation aspect of racing games, but not as in-depth as other games such as Forza or Gran Turismo.
The actual driving mechanics are really fun and reminded me a lot of MotorStorm. The game has you earning points during your races, for doing things like sliding, jumps and other cool tricks. Gravel also actively rewards you for replaying tracks, as after a few attempts you may learn a new shortcut that provides you with a small advantage that may be the difference between winning and losing.
There is a multiplayer mode available, however at the time of writing this review, I haven't been able to play a single online game due to the lack of people playing. This could have been due to having the game early for review. There isn't an online ranked mode in this game but, to remedy this there are online leaderboards for each track, there is a quick play option though so you can still play online but you are limited to this one mode.
This game looks astonishing, with beautiful attention to detail like the mud splashing all over the cars, or the sun setting while you are in the middle of a race. There are a lot of great things in the art for this game, from the eerily realistic cars to the beautiful sights you get to see while driving around these tracks.
There are a lot of cars to choose from in this title, however most of them are locked behind a level system, this is a good thing as it provides something for the players to grind for. There are well over 30 different cars available however that number seems really low. But there are different variants of each car available each requiring you to get to a certain level before you can use them. Each variant also feels very different from the last, one might be very easy to drive but then a variant may feel very different and take you awhile to get to know how the car performs.
The soundtrack is very nice with a variety of modern songs, similar to other racing games. The cars in-game sounds similar to how they would in real life for example, a car with a huge powerful engine will make a huge roar as you’re accelerating at the start of a race.
Gravel (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
Gravel is a great racing experience for veterans and newcomers alike, with so many tracks and cars to unlock this game will keep you busy for a while. However being unable to find an online match has me worried that the replay value of this game isn't very good after you've played through the meat of the single-player game.