Review: Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge – A Re-release That Could Benefit from More Optimization

Review: Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge

Developed by Nano Games and published by Aerosoft, Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge is an offroad truck simulation game. Initially, it was released as just Heavy Duty Challenge and revolved around the Europa Truck Trials style of offroad truck racing however the developers decided to add some more content to the game and it was later re-released with a brand-new name and much more diverse content. While the new content certainly feels like a promised addition to the game, this re-release is still far from perfection. This is our review of Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge on PC in which we crawl over some rocks and complete tough terrain challenges.

Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge features three main game modes apart from the tutorial section. The starting tutorial serves as a great entryway into the game as it teaches you everything that you need to know about different trucks, axle setups, drivetrains, and how to manage difficult terrains. After completing the tutorial, you are free to jump into the game and pursue your very own path. You can either jump into the Sport Mode which is the main campaign mode of the game. Here, you can take part in different championships and compete with other drivers. Here, timing is king, and the fastest driver to complete each level in a championship is crowned the winner. At the end of the championship, you will receive monetary benefits which can be used to purchase new trucks, performance parts, and upgrades for your trucks.

Review: Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge

The upgrades and performance parts are only part of the Sport Mode and in any other mode, you will drive the basic version of each vehicle. The Cargo Mode allows you to jump into two open-area maps and complete different missions. These missions are mostly cargo delivery missions where you will need to pick up an item and then deliver it to their destination. There are no limitations or time trials here but for bigger loads, you will require trucks with a greater number of axles. Finally, you have a free mode where you can pick a map, and a truck and explore it without any missions or time trials. There is a decent selection of trucks in the game which are categorized based on the number of axles. You will find plenty of officially licensed trucks here such as Hummer, MAN, Mercedes-Benz Unimog, and more. Each truck looks beautifully detailed and if you love Europa Truck Trials, you will find some great racing trucks in the game.

The gameplay of Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge is pretty decent for the Sport Mode and you actually enjoy the game. It is much slower and you really have control over your truck as you climb over rocks, logs, stones, and tons of other obstacles. The throttle response feels decent and how the truck moves over the obstacles is also satisfying. Depending on your truck, you will have multiple axles to play around with. You have the complete freedom to switch to 2WD, and AWD, and lock all of the axles differently to suit the current obstacle. In certain situations, you really have to use your brain as you slowly crawl over treacherous terrains. You will need to play around with your axles and gearbox as you find the best lines to crawl up and down the obstacles and tricky courses featured in the Sport Mode.

These mechanics also really matter in the Sport Mode because in other modes, the realism actually starts to feel a little off. The driving mechanics are only good for slow speeds because at high speeds, the trucks start to behave oddly. The steering becomes loose and you will quickly lose control of your truck even with the slightest touch of the steering wheel. This might be better with a steering wheel but the Xbox Series X controller provides absolutely no relief to this loose steering. During free roaming and missions, you will often pick up the pace and reach higher speeds because of the open maps and straight road sections but the steering prevents you from having control over the truck. There is no option to set the steering sensitivity which further adds to the frustration. In short, you only have to drive slowly to have control over your truck because increasing your speed in these modes will only cause you to lose control completely.

However, the same gameplay mechanics feel exceptionally strong in the Sports Mode where you will feel in control, and changing different driving modes and gears will give you a complete command over your truck. The slow motions feel satisfying and how the trucks behave under stress is really cool. The suspension rolls, the wheels move in a flow, and the overall truck control feels pretty solid. This is pretty strange because the same mechanics do not work at high speeds but they feel exceptionally good at slow speeds. The sensitivity is still high here but due to slow speeds, it is much easier to manage it and move around comfortably.

Review: Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge

Coming to the technical aspect of Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge, there are still a lot of issues with the re-release that need working. Some really annoying bugs impact the gameplay and these should be the ones that should be worked on first by the developer. In the Sport Mode, there were numerous instances when my truck’s wheels would just fall through an apparently solid surface. Bridges and other wooden surfaces fail to hold the vehicle up and my truck would just fall through the surface while driving on them. There were numerous instances where this happened to me and it caused me to gain penalties since I was stuck and unable to move or I had to reverse and then rock forward in order to un-stuck myself.

Apart from the truck tires falling through solid surfaces, in the Off-Road Trips Mode, different trucks perform very poorly. In different scenarios, a truck would stop completely when I would shift the gear or it would get stuck in some invisible object. The exploration is fun but these bugs and glitches really ruin the gameplay experience. These are not the type of bugs that you would ignore and continue playing the game because they start to annoy you and you ultimately stop playing the game. Probably the biggest problem on the Xbox Series X is the performance of Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge. Framerates drop so much that the game feels unplayable at certain points. Small things like rotating the camera around cause the frames to drop as well which is just weird.

The main strength of Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge lies in its Sport Mode and beyond that, the game does not feel very refined or polished. The new game modes feel a little rushed with little optimization and poor mechanics overall. While it surely adds much to the content, it still requires more optimization overall. I still think that its climbing mechanics are excellent and the truck design is fairly decent but at this stage, the game still requires more optimization on the Xbox Series X. If you can get past the choppy framerates and poor performance, Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge has great gameplay mechanics. The game has been out for some time now and the issues are still persisting so I really hope that the developers are working on its optimization and making the game better because it is still far from being well-optimized.

Final Verdict:

I absolutely loved playing the Sport Mode in Offroad Truck Simulation: Heavy Duty Challenge but anything beyond that is a hit-or-miss for me. The Cargo Mode feels limited and rushed while the maps in Off-Road Trips are too buggy to enjoy. This coupled with choppy visuals and poor framerates raises serious concerns for the Xbox Series X version of the game. While it has a strong base underneath, it requires more optimization work and fast because otherwise the game will continue to lose its player base and would not be able to establish a strong foothold in its genre. If you are a fan of Europa Truck Trial, you are going to love this game because the trucks in the game are amazing and the courses are challenging as well. However, I would wait a little more to give developers more time to optimize it before jumping into the game. If you want to jump right now, it is still a fun game nonetheless but be ready to face multiple glitches, bugs, and poor performance.

Final Score: 6.0/10

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About the Author: Umair Khalid

Founder of GamesHedge, Umair enjoys a wide variety of video games ranging from RPGs to racing games. Currently busy with The Crew Motorfest and Way of the Hunter.

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