Last year at the start of PAX West; Genevieve, Joseph, and myself were invited to get a look at the pending racing game GRAVEL in a private meeting at a suite near the convention. What made this even more exciting was that the meeting took place a day before the convention opened so since we were in the area to run errands and pick up our press passes; this was a very appealing way to see a game and get the jump on our convention coverage.

I do want to say at the start that I am horrible at driving games. My preferred method of braking often is using the wall, other cars, and obstacles to redirect my vehicle or slow down, but it does not stop my appreciation for them.

GRAVEL is a very fast paced and enjoyable game that mixes online and offline racing and allows players to use and customize trucks and cars as they race on tracks and outdoor courses. Everything from the Pacific to Alaska and Africa come into play and there are even some amazingly difficult night races where you have to make your way with only your headlights to keep you on the ever changing off-road course.
I had hoped for a few more locales, but there are variations on each locale and you can expect more maps and possibly modes will come down the road.
The graphics are fantastic and playing the game on a PS4 Pro with a 4K television brought the visuals of the game into amazing focus as it was easy to become immersed in the game from the very start.
The menus do take a bit of getting used to as it was at times unclear what form of racing I was about to embark on but I was up to speed in no time.
Matchmaking was fairly easy but it did seem to match me with drivers of a far superior ability time and again which makes it hard to see anything other than a last place finish should I make one mistake on the course.

While the game may not have the depth of other racing games, I found it to be instantly engaging and very fun which is saying quite a bit considering I usually do not play many racing games. Joseph is a fan of racing games and he was able to successfully complete many of the races in our PAX West meeting with no issues and often in the top position.
In the end GRAVEL is a fun entry for those looking to dip their toes into some off road racing or for diehards, but some hardcore racers may want more depth and variety.

3.5 stars out of 5