The version of the UK featured comprises Edinburgh; the Lake District, especially Derwentwater; and the Cotswolds, amongst other beautiful and well-known British places. The game is set amongst predominantly rural settings, namely forests, farmlands and small villages, giving a gentle and intimate feel to your explorations. Players can choose from up to 450 different cars, and can play in groups of up to 72 players per server, all in a synchronised, shared world. Each vehicle has been individually designed so it ‘feels’ different to the last – you could turn down the difficulty of a particular section or race, or you could have fun switching vehicles until you get the ideal car for that specific race and ace it! There are plenty of side quests, alongside the main story arc, to keep you busy and entertained, each with their own progress bar so you can see how close to completion you are.
When you first login, there is a prologue series of events that walks players through the game’s many features and introduces concepts like the changing seasons – more about which can be found below. In the prologue, you get to sample a good flavour of the overall game including being able to play each season for five hours or so, easily long enough to enjoy a good sampling of the joys ahead in the full game. Once through the tutorial prologue, you can choose where to go next: exploring the map, trying to run over sheep (fortunately, you will not succeed), or building combos. You can play alone, ignoring the other players on the field, or you can challenge them to Player vs Player contests. Do note, even though you can challenge them , you can’t otherwise physically interact with them (and vice versa) unless you are actively grouped together. In other words, if someone wants to upset your win, and tries to drive into you, they will pass harmlessly through you: a relief to anyone doing particularly well on a round that they don’t want messed up by some passing random!
To Everything There is a SeasonThe game’s main USP is the seasonal changes that occur throughout the whole world at the same time. These fixed seasons mean that all players experience the same climate conditions at the same time, offering a fair playing field and also encouraging players to fully explore the open world sandbox not just once, but four different time, seeing all the differences and difficulties that each season brings. For example, in winter Derwentwater freezes over enabling players to drive onto the ice to reach areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Seasonal changes occur on the Thursday, and each ‘season’ lasts for a week, so there is plenty of time to enjoy the full experience of each climatic change. To add even more interest, there are always season specific events going on, including:
- daily bounty challenges
- weekly bounty challenges
- Unique events which change frequently