Maybe it’s because I’m a critic, but I always seem to go into far more details about a game than most people would care to read. I just think there’s a lot to know and a lot to understand about gaming, so I babble before getting to my point.
Not today, though. Today, here’s the summary of my entire review: “THIS GAME F**KING SUCKS! STAY THE F**K AWAY AND PELT IT WITH HOLY WATER!”
I’m not kidding. Remember my review of Mindjack, the game that more or less mind-f**ked its audience with its terribly generic nature? This was one of the last things I said during that review: There is no way on this good Earth, with games like Uncharted and Mass Effect refining the third-person shooter genre, that I can recommend this game to any sane-minded person.
I just can’t help laughing, not only at what I have to now review, but at how wrong I was about Mindjack. Don’t get me wrong – that game was terrible. But somehow, Big Rigs: Over the Road Racing manages to top Mindjack in sheer unplayability, making that 2011 dud look like a f**king cult classic.
Let’s start off with the basics: Big Rigs fails to fulfill its promised gameplay quota. According to the packaging (and Wikipedia – when you have to consult Wikipedia, you know you’ve gone too far down the rabbit hole), the player is meant to “deliver illegal cargo, with cops chasing [them]” and “race trucks across the country”. It’s a good enough premise – yet when I start up the game, take a wild guess what’s not there? Two words, rhyme with “Fargo” and “pops”?
The real goal of the game, I take it, is to engage in a one-lap race against a rival truck driver, while steering your own truck across a treacherous road. Again, it’s an interesting idea, one that would have made for intense racing and somewhat strategic gameplay requiring the player to use every instinct they have to finish the race. However, problems arise long before you even start racing, if you manage to start racing.
For one, getting a race to work is more trouble than its worth. Once you’ve picked between the only four trucks you’ll ever drive in this game – which, incidentally, all handle the same: in a sluggishly unstoppable manner – the game brings you to the race selection screen, containing an astounding five maps. And here’s the best part: most of them only marginally work. One entitled “Nightride” actually crashes the game when attempting to load it, while the other four maps may or may not immediately end after declaring you the winner before the race even starts!
Then, the game starts. Someone get my spare bottle of whiskey – I’ve labelled it “For the Apocalypse, a.k.a the Death of Gaming”.
You don’t have to be a gamer to immediately notice the game’s key problems. The textures don’t fully load resulting in very shifty-looking roads, there’s no collision detection or even proper physics to make sense of the fact that you can drive off-road, up 90 degree angles, and even into the draw distance, and you can’t crash into anything. Seriously, just let the truck drift and you’ll pass through countless trees, buildings, streetlights and so on.
Add to that problem the complete lack of rival AI. I’m not just saying that the computer-controlled rivals are idiotic, I’m saying they haven’t been programmed at all. The other truck you’re supposed to race against just sits behind the start line (or floats there – I’ve checked and the other truck was not completely Earth-bound at one point).
If you manage to overcome the wobbly controls of each truck, the flat and overly basic textures that make grass look like it’s been drawn in crayon, the lack of a soundtrack or even truck sounds to add some semblance of atmosphere, then you’re in for the greatest insult – a 1st place trophy with the meme-spawning phrase, “You’re Winner!”. It’s bad enough that they couldn’t program the damn game, now they mock our intelligence with crappy grammar!?
There’s nothing redeeming here – no cinematic flair, no interesting visual or audio effects, no cheesy campaign mode with lovably idiotic characters and B-film writing. There aren’t even any extra modes, save for “Random Race”, which does exactly what it says. On the main menu, itself an overly generic but unoffensive screen, there’s a section set aside for high scores, but never in my short time playing the game did I ever once see a single entry in the “High Scores” list – not even from a member of the development team.
Part of me wonders how a game could fail so badly. Did the development staff just not care? Were they too busy with the hookers and blow they likely spent their budget on to notice that there was something they needed to, I don’t know, FINISH PROGRAMMING!? I’m no programmer, but prioritizing my game over more petty interests seems like common sense.
Sadly, this is the result – a game, still in its pre-alpha state, released to the masses. I’d say this was commentary on the complicated, if ultimately one-sided, relationship between publishers and developers, but then I’d be lying. No other publisher-developer pair has ever been so misinformed, so disconnected from the expectations of not only the public but of one another, that they would even consider doing something as stupid and careless as this. Both parties should accept the blame – the developer Steady Stone for not finishing this sh*t, and GameMill Publishing for releasing this unfinished sh*t.
Now for the score. I’m split between listening to my head and my heart. One tells me to run for the hills and never look back, while the other chants in a rhythmic pattern, “0 out of 10, 0 out of 10, 0 out of 10…” In the end, I have to listen to my emotions on this one. Congratulations, Big Rigs – “You’re Winner” of the Worst Game I’ve Ever Played Award.
Recommendation: BURN IT!!!