Gravel Hands-On Preview – Off-Road Racing Greatness

Milestone's new off-road racing game is an absolute blast.

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Italian based video game development studio Milestone S.r.l. gained a ton of success over the last two decades by creating both the successful MotoGP and Superbike video game franchises. With their upcoming new IP Gravel, that same talented team aims to create a fun off-road, four-wheeled racing game experience that’s fully accessible to everyone.

During PAX West 2017, I got to spend a little hands-on time with Gravel and gained a deeper understanding of Milestone’s overall vision for this new project. Here are a few more details on why this upcoming racer should definitely stay on your radar.

Gravel could be best described as an exhilarating off-road arcade stylized racing game. While highly complex racing simulators like Project CARS and Forza Motorsport have often dominated the market, this title takes a much simpler approach to their formula by emphasizing the thrill of racing over customizing every single aspect of how your vehicle looks and performs. The fact that anyone can pick up and play this game at any skill level will be very appealing for some and could go a long way towards growing the core audience over time.

There are four different disciplines to compete in and they include Cross County, Wild Rash, Stadium Circuit and Speed Cross. Each discipline presents different challenges and although specific types of vehicles work best in certain environments, players are still able to choose any vehicle that suits them best. Gravel will include 65 tracks, 70 cars, 19 popular car brands, 10 different gameplay modes, 16 locations, 7 vehicle categories and online multiplayer functionality. There will also be a career story mode titled Gravel Channel where players are expected to square off against several off-road masters. This mode wasn’t playable during my appointment but I definitely expect to hear some more details on this feature over the next few months.

Gravel aims to be the ultimate off-road, four-wheeled racing game experience.

My entire demonstration experience consisted of me trying out a few different cars and tracks under each of the four disciplines. Cross country races usually take place in vast landscapes while Wild Rush competitions happen in more exotic surroundings. Various checkpoints are located throughout each track and much like other racing titles, you can rewind to avoid collisions or catch important markers that you might have missed on the lap. The controls felt very simple and responsive which emphasizes my earlier point about choosing the right vehicles based on your location and chosen discipline.

Another aspect about Gravel that I found impressive this early on lies within how visually stunning it actually is. The game is built entirely in Unreal Engine 4 meaning that environments are more detailed and the quality of the overall racing experience is nothing short of fantastic. Unreal Engine 4 also speeds up development time and is one of the main reasons why the finished product will be out a lot sooner than fans expect.

While my time with Gravel might have been brief, there is no denying that this title is looking very promising so far. With a detailed focus on off-road racing and a ton of content in the works, the complete package is destined to captivate the hearts of both casual and hardcore racer fans alike.

Gravel launches early next year on PS4, Xbox One, and PC. Are any of you looking forward to trying out Milestone’s latest masterpiece? Please feel free to let us know your thoughts on the game and more in the comments section below.

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Richard Bailey Jr. Editor-In-Chief
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