With the start of the seventh season in SnowRunner, along with the Compete & Conquer add-on, the game finally received a next-gen patch for the Xbox Series X|S and PS5. We felt the updated game and are in a hurry to share our impressions.
- Developer: Saber Interactive
- Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
- Release date: April 28, 2020
Our loyal readers probably know what the off-road game from Saber Interactive is all about. You’ve read our undeniably great review of SnowRunner, and you’ve certainly seen our definitive article on the top five reasons to play SnowRunner in 2022.
In this case, you also remember the story of how the Spintires project, developed by Pavel Zagrebelny for the Havok Physics competition before 2010, first turned into a full-fledged car simulator with a road surface deformable under the wheels, and then was bought out by Focus Home Interactive and turned into MudRunner – the prototype of the modern SnowRunner we’re talking about now.
More than two years and two whole seasons have passed since the release of the game, during which SnowRunner has seriously acquired content. If in the main version of the game, drivers could drive along the washed-out roads of autumn Michigan, visit snowy Alaska and inhospitable Russian Taimyr, now the Kola Peninsula and the Canadian Yukon, the wetlands of Wisconsin and the homeland of Stephen King – the state of Maine, maps on the Don and Amur, are open for them, and more recently, also a location in Tennessee with routes for off-road racing.
For more than two years, owners of high-performance trucks and SUVs have been immersed not only in the fierce charm of SnowRunner nature, but in impassable mud and snowdrifts, in streams and fast-flowing rivers, in swamps and on flooded dirt roads, delivering goods to their destination, pulling from natural traps other cars and exploring the area in search of secrets.
At any time of the day and in any weather, drivers alone or in cooperative mode kneaded, loosened and plowed the ground, biting into the surface with the wheels of vehicles of various classes – from passenger SUVs and highway trucks, to real all-terrain vehicles – monsters from the world of heavy vehicles.
The release of SnowRunner took place on PC, Xbox and PlayStation in April 2020, and on May 18, 2021, the basic version of the game hit the GamePass library. However, when I set out to play the Saber simulator on the Xbox Series X, I ran into the limitations of the previous generation of consoles, the most painful of which was the 30 fps limit.
Meanwhile, on May 31, Season 7: Compete & Conquer began in SnowRunner, with the release of which the game finally received a nextgen patch, and we hurried to test it. Thanks to a free update, Xbox Series X|S and PS5 owners can now fully enjoy the process already at sixty frames per second, but with caveats.
So, on the Xbox Series X there are minor fps drawdowns, and in approximately the same places that I wrote about in the SnowRunner review when I played it on PC. The closest example is the dirt road near the Black River farm, which you are more likely to use to bypass a power pole that has collapsed on the way to the garage.
There are still enough such “non-optimized” places on the maps in SnowRunner, and some of them, obviously, went to modern consoles. I still don’t see a particular problem in this, especially for a leisurely simulator, but still keep in mind.
On the other hand, downloads accelerated and the picture of the console versions was fresher and a little closer to the PC versions – the game received support for 4K resolution and an improved Depth of Field parameter (depth of field), thanks to which the landscapes became noticeably more beautiful, and admiring nature is included in the mandatory SnowRunner program.
The developers have added full crossplay between absolutely all platforms on which the simulator was released. It still works relatively well, but during several hours of testing with a server on the console and a guest driver on the PC, the host crashed a couple of times and had to start from the last saved point.
The Quick Resume function works correctly, returning the player directly to the wheel of the car. The load on the Xbox Series X has increased significantly, but the game does not hang the system, as is sometimes the case with resource-intensive projects in recent years.
Let me remind you that the owners of the Year 2 Pass have also waited for the seventh season, in which the Burning Mill summer card in Tennessee became available. This is a large area of a square kilometer, dotted with branches of a stormy river and tracks designed for rally and autocross competitions.
In addition, two new cars appeared in the game: a tiny Gor BY-4 torsion bar scout with eight hidden upgrades and the Sprinter racing truck, a sports modification of Azov 43-191 with a lightweight polymer body.
If you, the owner of a modern console, are all waiting for the right moment to break into (or return to) SnowRunner, now is the time: you will find good performance at 60 fps and 4K resolution, racing activity uncharacteristic for a simulator, several new cars in the garage, accelerated downloads and improved graphics, which will make it even more pleasant to dive into the summer season of the best off-road conquest simulator to date.