Overpass 2 — Review
Let's dive right into a glass of pure, unleaded gasoline. Overpass was no masterpiece, and if you've managed to erase it from your memory, you've done well. The competition for the older MotorStorm (and its sequels) is almost non-existent, and that's one reason why many virtual racers have abandoned these muddy races. Publisher Nacon apparently interpreted this as demand for more content. And so, Overpass 2 was born.
If you don't feel like reading the following lines, in the spirit of user accessibility, let's answer the fundamental question right away. Is it worth playing Overpass 2? The answer is no, really, it's not necessary. Watch the gameplay video; there are a few shots where the author tried to intricately cut scenes. Your interest in Overpass 2 will end there – that's just a well-intentioned piece of advice. Forget about the price tag, which stands out more on AAA productions, where Overpass 2 (and not even the original) comes close. The worst part is that playing is one big, too big, and never-ending, monotonous bore.
Where MudRunner (and SnowRunner) captivated many with simple off-road driving from point A to point B or anywhere really, Overpass 2 is the opposite in terms of entertainment. It lacks those moments that make you grip the edge of your seat, where you physically lean in, trying to navigate a turn, overtake an opponent, or conquer an obstacle on the track. You drive buggies, ATVs, and all sorts of vehicles that a regular person wouldn't sit in because a cage on wheels with a powerful engine is anything but a peaceful place. Scratching your way up muddy hills or racing through nature, riverbeds, narrow forest paths, and dusty canyons – the concept is interesting, but the execution feels unnaturally forced.
You can try training, races, free driving, or a career, or you can get bored online. Training won't teach you anything substantial, but at least you don't have to watch a tutorial on how to control each vehicle. Individual races are a tempting alternative to watching raindrops race down the window. It's worse if it's not raining. Or you choose a vehicle, time of day, weather, and off you go into the woods, where an open world awaits. Boring, empty, without tasks, without anything that would make you want to revisit these corners more than once. There's also a desert, forests, mountains, and circuits. Baja Desert, rocky Utah, some part of Western Europe dominated mainly by circuits, dusty Johnson Valley somewhere near Las Vegas, and so on. The career tries to evoke the atmosphere of a team pulling together for a better tomorrow.
You collect finances to pay your team for exploring new parts that will upgrade your machine or invent (read make accessible) a new machine, tire, and so on. You also invest a considerable amount in repairing damaged vehicles. Or you start hiring additional staff, improve your PR, and you already know all this well. You also collect experience, so if you hear a clink and you jump up a level, you get three points to buy some improvement in all possible areas. Or you forget about it completely because the reviewer can't assess improvements like +5% grip on ATVs. But it definitely works, and distribute your points wisely – here in more experience or money after winning, there a more powerful engine, here I unlock another slot for the mechanic, and just to the left, I improve his work morale, so he swings the hammer faster.
We can all throw berries at the sides because it's all a monotonous spectacle that we desperately click through just to get on the track. But no, first, we have to tell our engineers to invent better shock absorbers and tires and whatever. And in four weeks, they'll wrap it up and show you how tough they are. For ten grand, go buy new shock absorbers over there in the store. Alright. You want to repair the car; it takes ten days, so better find better scouts, and they'll supply you with human material with better parameters who can do it in fewer days. Yes, it's just as boring as this sleep-inducing description of pointless activities.
If you finally get on the track, disappointment awaits you. Well, okay: you do one race, then another and a third because we have three types of vehicles available: ATVs, buggies, and so-called rock bouncers. You repeat it with each vehicle. And again. And if your head doesn't hit the keyboard, and drool doesn't start peeling off your mouth, you've overdone it with caffeine or other drugs. Playing Overpass 2 is a snoozefest. The thrill of driving, speed, tension while crossing challenging terrain, scrambling uphill with absurd elevation. No, none of that can be found here. A few minutes are enough. Keeping the player on track is a superhuman feat for Overpass 2. Half-hour intervals are the maximum to maintain dignity.
Why is it, why is it? A famous poet of children's rhymes once sang that. And why? The physics of the whole game are too simple, and you can't predict what will happen if you hit that obstacle. Sometimes it stops you, other times it sends you into the air, and occasionally, you'll go through it as if it were a rubber obstacle. Even driving on huge boulders lacks the right finesse. You simply go up, switching between rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, and individual wheel differential support. That's all, and the differences are about as significant as the first option moves you more in turns and is uncontrollable, the second option you turn on and won't turn off, and the third only helps you at low speeds and rough terrain.
Furthermore, the controls seem to respond with a slight delay, and navigating turns at any speed is quite problematic. Negotiating turns feels slow with closed eyes, and deformable mud plays no role. Nothing is interactive; not even the smallest rock flies away. Subsequently, the individual championships are a recycling of well-known circle driving or just nose-poking. It would all be fine if the environment around you were interesting, offering more than generic trees, rocks, tree stumps, cacti, and other debris. The design of the tracks itself has nothing that would stay in your memory longer than the few minutes you spend with the game. That is a fundamental problem: it's not just about the environment; it needs to be engaging rather than a stark facade.
The vehicle selection is anything but a diverse offering. Developers boast about a varied selection of 30 "movers," but let's assist ourselves with another statement from the genius of today: "not even visually." They all look the same, just this one is a Suzuki, that one is a Kawasaki or Polaris, Yamaha, or Arctic Cat. The modification of all vehicles turned out the same way. And why bother with a few pieces of pipes and sheets when everything is muddled after a few meters? It never happens that you get a good feeling from driving or overcoming an obstacle. It's straight up in your face, whether you press keys on the keyboard or a gamepad; it doesn't matter because the response, given the simpler physics, hits zero values. And that your wheels dig more into the mud in the rain. Wow. It also affects the ride, but the fun factor precisely rises to zero, absolute zero to... as another classic says.
Overpass 2 is an example of a soulless game. Races that could have had finesse, drowned us in a muddy atmosphere, and offered a challenge and even a slower pace. No, these are races where there's no tension, no feedback from challenging driving. They often last more than 10 minutes, and most of the time, it's wandering in the dark as entertainment. Other drivers (AI) try to crash into trees at all costs. The opponent can't stay on the track, drives without an ounce of self-preservation - as if the virtual racer tried to end his life composed of ones and zeros and didn't have to suffer anymore. Overpass 2 occasionally suffers from bugs (the wheel sinks into the ground, other drivers don't wait for the countdown at the beginning and start immediately - that's a fact), so you have to restart your position or at least the vehicle (and you won't escape penalties), but at least there's some revival. Right?
It can't be said that Overpass 2 is explicitly bad racing. Certainly not; they're just so horribly boring, uninteresting, and ordinary, like dozens you've seen and played, making it challenging to point out a single feature worth trying the game for. The fact that there's no MotorStorm, Fuel, or another MX vs. ATV (and I'm already pulling from the bottom shelf for mediocre pieces) shouldn't be a reason to give the second Overpass a chance. Perhaps it doesn't look so bad, and you can spend dozens of hours in the career (weekly races or championships, progressing through the season to a higher division, and it takes terribly long). But why would you do that when the weather is so nice outside? Even if it's currently windy and raining, it would be more fun than dedicating another minute to Overpass 2.