Driving Essentials Reviews

1,049,958 (656,714)
TA Score for this game: 1,199
Posted on 13 June 19 at 02:55
This review has 2 positive votes and 0 negative votes. Please log in to vote.
Heavy Braking (-1 point)

In all seriousness, Driving Essentials is an interesting idea. It's a fairly comprehensive driving simulator with the aim of teaching people to drive. I'd say this "game" isn't for someone like me (I've been driving for about half my life now), but the refresh on some concepts doesn't hurt.

Driving Essentials works through 10 lessons (and endless time to practice in Free Drive mode). These lessons go over the basics of driving and what to look out for while driving. The whole time you play, the game is scoring you. It penalizes you for anything that it would deem unsafe. These can be minor things like forgetting to signal or look both ways and thus result in a single point of penalty. But they can also be continuous drains on your score for how long you tailgate another vehicle or drive above the speed limit.

You can regain points for safe driving, but the recovery rate is quite slow in comparison to the penalties you can quickly put up. This isn't a bad thing, but just something to understand.

The lessons the games go through (while not exhaustive) cover a lot of the major parts of learning to drive. Some examples:

- Weather Conditions
- Distracted Driving
- Following/Distance between Drivers

Each lesson has very clear examples and visuals to help you understand. The narration is easy to listen to and will explain what's happening in very simple terms. I didn't necessarily take anything away from the lessons, but I could see new drivers really getting some information in very safe environment (although maybe too safe).

Overall, Driving Essentials clearly does what it sets out to do. A game devoted to the idea of teaching new drivers is a really interesting one that the developers succeed in doing. As such, I want to score the game accordingly or at least give credit to where it's due.

At the same time however, I think it is worthwhile to examine Driving Essentials as a game. This is where the review has to turn a bit negative. Let's try to bullet point/short answer our way through this:

- Odd Penalties: At times, I've seen the game penalize for things that I didn't actually do. I've had the turn signal and got penalties for no signaling. Looking only in one direction at a turn (because the other direction didn't have a street) and still took a penalty for not looking both ways. I quickly "corrected" myself for these problems, but for a game teaching safety, these penalties felt wrong.

- Visuals: While I wouldn't necessarily expect top quality visuals, the visuals in the game seem a bit overly simple. At times, it became difficult to pick out exactly where things were. Some of the objects also had quite a bit of blur to them until you were very close. Finally, not being able to see the right side mirror at all without actually turning felt off. While getting full views might not be possible, I felt that the visuals I was receiving from the game were less than that of my own peripheral vision in everyday life.

This last point I want to cover is a bit more of a nitpick than a full criticism. As an achievement site, this game will be a real easy completion. It's pretty hard to mess up once you know what to look for at each intersection or activity the game asks. And what this really means, is that you can save yourself a lot of "difficulty" with one simple tip - GO SLOW!!!

There really was no incentive to go even close to the speed limit. Highway driving? Go slow! Middle of the town? Go slow! I really think a penalty for this would have benefited the game. The teaching voice said that going an appropriate speed was important, but it never felt necessary to go faster. Like I said, this is a nitpick, but I think it would have further benefited the goal of the game.

But for achievement hunters, this means you can easily (and quickly) glide through the 10 lessons and free ride scenarios to 1000 Gamerscore. For this community though, I think it might be worthwhile to wait on this title. Look for a discount probably. I know the game has had a price drop from $60 down to $40, but for the achievement community, it's a bit steep for what very well might be a short experience. The game is fine, but for many of the people who read this, it's a big ask.

In conclusion, Driving Essentials is definitely a modern educational title. Like I said at the beginning, it is not for experienced drivers necessarily. But that's not really the point. Looking at the Twitter for this developer, you'll see that the goal from the outset for them wasn't to make a game. Driving Essentials is a tool to help young drivers. They post articles about distracted driving and the dangers facing teens just getting behind the wheel. As such, I think it's important for us to understand that about the "game" and maybe see in a different light than we normally would. I hope this review has helped convey that.
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