How harsh can you criticize a game at $1? Does price and other information mean you should take it easier on your criticisms of a product? That's the question I'm looking at here. Let's get some of the basics out of the way.
World Enduro Rally is an ID@Xbox game developed and published by GraphicDNA. It's a trials-esque title in that we ride a bike from beginning to end on some obstacle course. We can do some tricks which help lower our final time while any time we crash will give a penalty after crossing the finish line. There are two sets of events to complete, local and world championships. In practice, the only difference is in the strictness of the times required for Gold medals. It's not difficult really, especially compared to games like Trials, but there is at least a difference.
Next thing I want to discuss here is the willingness of the developer to change this game.
When it came out, besides some broken achievements, the world championships were operated as a global leaderboard and only the top so many players would be able to get the ranks required. The developer in a very community minded approach polled the player base and realized that leaderboard achievements like those are not really enjoyed with the achievement hunting community. They soon patched those out for the "harder" time based achievements for World Championship events. I like to say that this was admirable by the developer. Too often we see stuff like this not listened to or things left broken. I appreciate the effort put in to do this.
That brings me to the game itself though. And unfortunately, it's a bit of a mess. I can forgive some of it being only $1 and the achievements flowing pretty quickly, but the errors can't just be forgotten. Here's some of what we see:
- Menus break after completing events. If you decide you just want to do one championship and then switch from the local to the world (or vice versa), the game skips the selections and is only able to go between the start menu or the world select menu. This led to me needing to restart the game a ton just to be able to switch things up.
- Game track is very indistinguishable from the background (or foreground). On numerous tracks, specifically anything with a nature focus, the actual track you're on blends together with the environment. So many times on jumps or ramps, I never could tell which was my actual track. And when the game has some need to think about your posture and thus climbing, not knowing what you're doing is a huge problem.
- Camera tracking. Not sure if this is meant to be a feature at times or a bug, but when making jumps down cliff sides (or even little ravines), I frequently had the camera jump away from me and snap back and forth. When paired with the issues about the distinctness of the track, it only further confused what was happening on screen.
- Restarts not restarting. When you're aiming for the gold times, you sometimes decide you need to restart a track to improve upon the tricks or the speed you go through a track (or not have a crash). Unfortunately, there were multiple times where it took restarting the track for it to register properly. I didn't notice it at first, but the game was giving me a crash even after I restarted the first time until I did it again. Maybe it's intentional, but when the game doesn't give a crash after restarting again, I think it's a bug.
And this is only some of it really. I could talk more about the lack of polish or crispness of controls, but realistically, it's not worth it. Let's move on to the achievements.
They're easy. The times are relatively forgiving for the Gold, Silver, and Bronze times. It will take some players a few runs to get it, but they're not the hardest. Not to harp on the differences over and over, but this is no Trials level task. Don't let the ratio fool you. It's only so high as of writing because of the bugs and achievement structure that has since been changed. This ratio should fall a ton.
So where does this leave us?
Well, it leaves us with a flawed game. One that feels like it could use some major changes. But at the same time, it's low cost and surplus of quick achievements allows you to plow through it quickly even with all of the problems. I don't think that means I should make the review score very high honestly, but I think it's made me have little vitriol towards it and more just an apathy. I applaud and admire the developer for their effort to fix things. If you're a fan of this genre, then this can be a quick (and cheap) diversion, but with Trials Rising coming, you have many better options out there.