Review: Expeditions: A Mudrunner Game

Expeditions is a sequel of sorts to Snowrunner, the 2nd game in the Mudrunner series. For those unaware, the ‘runner games have you pilot huge trucks through horrendous terrain and conditions to complete objectives. Sort of a hardcore version of the truck simulator games.

But you’ve unlikely played much like these. The concept is only ever get from point A to point B. The challenge is ensuring you have the right equipment for the job at hand, and the skills/abilities to ensure you’re able to make it in one piece.

Before we get to the specifics, let me outline the fundamentals. Whereas the previous ‘runner games had big maps which let you loose to slowly unlock them by collecting and delivering bits, Expeditions gives you similarly big maps, however, each activity is broken down into little sub-missions. 

Each puts you at a point on the map and tasks you with a challenge. You can still go off and explore, but unlocking the next challenge results in a completion, and a reset back to base. Whilst the purists may baulk at this prospect, it provides some nice clear structure to the game (which admittedly is also painfully light on tutorials) and gives you ample opportunity to reset and recalibrate.

The resetting is important. Not least because there are several different mission types across the world, all requiring different types of vehicles, and some also require different equipment fitted to said vehicle. We aren’t talking about whether you pick a Focus or a Toyota here. You need big, big rigs with huge pulling power. The specific design and make-up of these beasts will also be an important factor. 

Things like power, whether the vehicle has 4-wheel drive and if you can lock the rear diff all help you manage deep waters, big, huge swathes of mud, and hill climbs which should be inaccessible. You have a winch option on your vehicle to help you get out of really tricky situations (assuming there is something to winch to) and an ability to buy a device which manually puts a winch point into the ground. You need to manage your vehicle damage as you crash and bump around things, as well as your tyre pressure. Being able to release and increase the tyre pressure gives you a grip at the expense of fuel – all of these little tricks are at play and combine to give you what you need to get from A to B. Suddenly, doesn’t sound quite so easy does it?

Vehicle upgrades also play a part, so does vehicle capacity – got to collect some bits and bobs? Well, you’ll need space, and alongside that space comes the limited capacity for bits that may help you even get there, such as additional fuel. 

The maps are big and even though you may know where you are going, getting there is a challenge. Some support by way of binoculars and a drone can help you spot routes which may be accessible – each mission acting like a little…. Well, expedition. You can build up a home base to help (which about my earlier point, is not explained in the slightest) but over time you end up with a huge variety of different options and ways to tackle the world.

In this way, I think I would best describe Expeditions as the Dark Souls of driving games. It’s slow but you see progress, it can be painful at times but ultimately extremely rewarding. I would describe Expeditions as a perfect downtime game where you want a challenge but also don’t want to think at a rapid pace. It’s engaging, and challenging. A recommend – just remember your wellies. 

Reviewed on PS5