Both the sports and motor sports genres have expanded and evolved offering more for the average fan these days. Nuance in any approach to competition gives fans the level of control they so desire. In the racing scene, there’s no shortage of rubber-peeling experiences both across pavement and mountainous terrain. Newer experiences such as F1 Manager 2023, takes players out of the driver seat and puts them in the position of a team principal as they aim to manage racing much like a business fielding sponsors, hiring staff, developing new hardware, and more.
Overpass 2 might catch the eyes of racing fans out there as it ticks a few boxes aside from racing gameplay including team management and customization. But going hands on with the experience will undoubtedly turn sour for many. Like its predecessor, Overpass 2 aims to nab the wild, offroading niche element of the racing genre. It puts drivers through their paces by tasking them with not merely punching the gas and steering from point A to point B, but also finding the most desirable path. Off-roading should be a thrill, but Overpass 2 stifles the momentum in more ways than one.
"Off-roading should be a thrill, but Overpass 2 stifles the momentum in more ways than one."
Let’s start with the controls. Racing requires finesse and accuracy. Punch the gas too hard, turn a little too sharp, or barrel over debris or obstacles and you can ruin your shot at the gold. Fans of the genre know exactly where I’m coming from so there’s no need to beleaguer the point. By the very nature of the sport, racing sims should meet high standards when it comes to physics and controls. The controls should never get in the way of a player’s experience. Yet, Overpass 2 struggles with lagging input. Simply moving the analogue stick to veer left or right would result in a slight delay in the movement of my vehicle. This cramps the entire experience forcing me to be less reactive and more predictive of paths I’ve never driven before. Cornering on mountainous switchbacks becomes a pain.
The means by which you operate the camera is entirely nonsensical. At one point I found that the camera was off to the side viewing my driver from the right after I crashed driving uphill. It took me roughly 30 seconds tinkering with it trying to just make the camera face forward from behind my vehicle so I can actually see what’s in front of me. When all was said and done, I realized that you can’t intuitively turn the camera 360 degrees with the right stick as you’d expect in most racing games or even third-person adventures. What I found is that no matter what angle my camera is facing, I have to push my analogue stick forward to set things back to normal – not pivot as most games do.
Out in the wilderness, you’ll take your UTV or ATV over the most rugged terrain. You’ll find that many of the paths are littered with rocks and you’ll be forced to slow down drastically. Often times, I found myself moving up mountain sides at a snail’s pace as my vehicle attempted to crawl over rocks. It is nice to see an off-roading racing title offer a bit of player choice when it comes to tackling the terrain. But this is where the path-finding skill should kick in as you seek out the path of least resistance. Most times, there really isn’t one. The time trials were an utter bore as my vehicle slowly crawled over rocks and gravel. I am all for slow and methodical stuff but the experience is clunky and not fun at all.
"Overpass 2 struggles with lagging input. Simply moving the analogue stick to veer left or right would result in a slight delay in the movement of my vehicle."
Career mode enables you to dive into the team setting. It combines elements from racing simulators’ core tenants with the actual racing scene. If multiplayer, tutorials, standalone time trials and free roam aren’t your bag, career is really your only core option. Being forced to manage your team’s staff, sponsors, and other mundane tasks if you’re only in it for the racing is really quite a drag. Racing sims are for a specific crowd and not every racing fan enjoys the elements in them. Instantly, you’ll be forced into an overly long tutorial guided by a dull voice over that feels as tired and bored with Overpass 2 as I did. Eventually, they will stop interjecting to clue you into all the menus and details of day-to-day operations. Sadly, the management element feels like an afterthought. In career mode, you’ll maintain a calendar of events while also fielding sponsors, headhunting for staff, and developing your vehicles among other things. For the average racing fan, it’s all unnecessary menus that complicate the experience with an added measure of tedium. Those who enjoy management sims will likely find that it misses the mark as it isn’t quite as extensive and layered as other options available.
Visually, there isn’t anything to write home about in Overpass 2, except for maybe the fact that the human animations during cinematic sequences nearly look like they’re from the PS2/Xbox era. Everything is rather bland aside from the outdoor tracks, and even then, the environment can feel a tad monochromatic in the most gravel and rock-laden courses. As this isn’t a triple-A title from a major studio, much of this is to be expected, despite its glaring lack of frills, detail, and smooth animations.
If you’ve read GamingBolt’s review for the original Overpass in 2020, unfortunately, none of this will sound like anything new. Most of the flaws from the first title were carried over to the sequel without any solid improvement in the game’s mechanics or offerings. At the end of the day, the core gameplay is often frustrating and dull leaving little room for any enjoyment in Career mode, multiplayer, and beyond. The parts where slow and methodical gameplay is required isn’t fun and the physics and controls will often be a hindrance to the entire experience.
This game was reviewed on the Xbox Series X.
Path-finding elements in the terrain.
Visuals, controls, unsatisfactory core gameplay that stifles speed and impedes the "fun" factor at just about every turn.