There was something about Overpass I just didn’t get on with. I love the idea of a more serious, obstacle-based racer but the feel of the game just felt off and I couldn’t get to grips with it. Well, Neopica’s taking another crack at the series and Overpass 2 does seem to making some small forward steps.
The career mode takes on a familiar structure. You have a calendar to work through with your time in between championship rounds being used to repair vehicles or undertake bonus events. These events largely focus around racing or navigating obstacle courses. Sometimes additional complications like a damaged vehicle will make things interesting. In terms of an incentive to do these events, money is usually a motivating factor. Credits are used to hire staff and repair your vehicles. Given how rugged the sport is, keeping your hardware in fine condition is imperative.
You also have a skill tree which you can pump points into over the course of the year. These usually grant you perks which can then enhance your car’s performance or team’s effectiveness. I got plenty through the first season to see a good chunk of these benefits and it’s nice to see that it’s not a grind to progress through. Aside from this, you also have sponsors to sign with throughout the year. They’re short-term contracts but you have objectives to complete that can deliver additional funds.
The career has a decent loop to it and I find skipping side-events didn’t punish me too greatly. I had enough money to keep the garage in top shape. The main meat of the campaign is the championship. These 10 events usually arrive monthly and they comprise of three events that utilises your main vehicle types. This does mean success requires a multi-discipline approach. I kept me honest although there is the luxury to simulate race.
It’s no surprise I enjoyed the circuit races more. These feel more traditional in setting and obstacles are usually kept to a minimum. I took the opportunity to put my foot down whereas I’m perhaps overly cautious in the more specialised hill climbs. These are more vertical in challenge and, despite being much shorter, present a stern test of throttle control and careful positioning. It can be very technical and skilfully making a climb can be satisfying.
It’s a sport similar to trials in that you’re tasked with traversing rugged terrain and man-made obstacles. However, rather than being scored, you are usually against the clock. Penalties do come into play if you veer off course or leave a see-saw too early but my most common mistake was rolling a vehicle. In an ATV, that is an instant penalty which meant I had to really dial in the physics.
Driving in Overpass 2 feels a little loose. There’s a variety of locales with plenty of off-road surfaces that rarely deliver the grip you would want. Mud bogs you down, sand can be slippery and that’s before the weather can intervene. It resulted in me wanting to be extra careful about attacking ridges too aggressively. Some events can be as long as twelve minutes so it was nice to keep my focus up as I managed the gap to the chasing pack.
Bottoming out or becoming stuck on rocks can be devastating. You can reset your vehicle (incurring a penalty in the process) but the biggest loss was usually the time I’d spend trying to bail out of trouble. To help, you have three drivetrains you can switch between. This can direct power to all wheels, the rear wheels or offer a slip differential for more finesse. The tutorial goes over their correct usage but I stayed largely in four-wheel drive for most of it.
I’m not entirely sure about the feedback. Again, it could be tricky to judge given how loose the surfaces are and how unconventional the vehicles can be. I never felt I could truly trust the wheels underneath me, although I did grow in confidence. On the other hand, the AI racers have confidence to a fault. They regularly launch at bumps and rockery without any self-preservation. It’s funny to watch but can also impact your races. I wanted to steer clear of them during circuit races and I wasn’t entirely sure what they were doing matched the times I had to beat. The three vehicle types do feel unique with rock bouncers looking robust and powerful.
Visually, Overpass 2 looks dated . It’s not anything special but there are moments that surprise me. The sandstorm that rolls in during one of the longer tracks makes each lap feel treacherous. Whilst there is performance and quality modes that prioritise raytracing, I’ll always take a steady framerate in a racing game. The vehicle models look decent, although the bare nature of some means you’re mainly looking at a cage on wheels. I didn’t see any major dips in performance but it’s not pushing fidelity by default.
I did encounter some technical hitches. Nothing especially major but adjusting the camera would usually result in it sticking in the last-known position. I could reset it by holding down on the right stick but it was disorienting when I first discovered it. I’ve also had mini-maps lose track of my position on hill climbs. Very tricky to deal with if you’re unsure of where the intended path is.
So did I have fun with Overpass 2? A little bit. I don’t think the tutorials convey the magnitude of some hill climbs but I spent less time struggling over logs and being jammed to a standstill. The career mode has a decent, if fairly standard structure to it and, despite the lack of a difficulty setting, I felt relatively challenged. I still think it needs work. Feedback isn’t all there and the AI is downright dangerous to be around. It’s an improvement but a small one.
+ The off-roading feels easier to get to grips with.
+ Hill climbs can be challenging and technical.
+ Decent variety in locales and event types.
- A distinct lack of feedback when driving a vehicle.
- Has a couple of peculiar technical hitches.
- The tutorial could be a bit more expansive.