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31 January

Dakar 'The Game' puts you right in the middle of the action, giving you the opportunity to watch virtual clips of what the Dakar is really all about, whether it’s on two, four or six wheels.

A racing game that accurately depicts a form of motorsport while keeping things entertaining is a rare thing. Sure, big titles such as Gran Turismo, Forza Motorsport, Project Cars and Dirt Rally have proven successful at this. But none of them however have ever attempted to tackle the Dakar Rally. Well, now Big Moon Entertainment has done it with Dakar Rally: the Game, the company is bringing one of the most extreme forms of motorsport direct to your sofa.

It’s easy to see why none of the big companies has ever attempted to recreate the Dakar. Recreating a rally stage or a race course is a fairly easy task compared to recreating the Dakar.

Peruvian desert or the Chilean mountain ranges (yes, the game is based on the 2018 edition of the infamous rally). How has Big Moon Entertainment done this you might wonder? The company has cleverly used an existing gaming engine instead of developing its own. The game is created with the Unreal engine (made famous by the first-person-shooter Unreal Tournament), a graphics engine which sacrifices some structural details (such as plants and bushes) to gain performance and enable epic gaming worlds to be designed.

Not only does “Dakar: the Game” offer the opportunity to tackle the rally behind the wheel of Nasser Al-Attiyah’s Toyota Hilux, it also offers all the other categories as well. The game enables players to enter the virtual competition in any significant vehicle that participated in the 2018 event - whether it’s a Kamaz truck, Toby Price’s KTM, a Quad or an SxS. You name it, it’s in there.

The game offers unparalleled levels of realism. Usually rally games offer shortened versions of the real rally stages. 15-20 minute stages are often shortened to 3-4 minutes of gameplay. This is also the case with “Dakar: the Game”, but although the stages are shortened significantly, the game is set up in a way that you can easily spend one hour navigating one stage. Short compared to a real Dakar stage, but pretty long for a video game.

Apart from the large game world, the long stages and a huge range of vehicles, the game also offers one thing that is synonymous with the Dakar: helping each other. Dakar: the Game is the first racing game we’ve ever come across that allows you to virtually exit your vehicle and walk towards a competitor who is stranded in the dunes, attach a tow rope and actually tow him out. Another challenge is navigation, especially on the bikes or quads where you don’t have a co-driver pointing out the way. On the bike, you’re responsible for reading your own road book and if you miss a turn you will get lost. And for even more realism you can always pour some sand in your shoes.

The game received mixed reviews in the mainstream press, which is unsurprising as this isn’t a mainstream game. “Dakar: the Game” is aimed at the Dakar fan who doesn’t mind navigating virtual stages for longer periods of time because it’s all part of the simulation of a truly epic event. Mainstream audiences often think that a race longer than 10 minutes is tedious and boring. And this game definitely isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a big Dakar fan, you’ll love it.

Watch the preview of the game here: 

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