Gaming has entered an exciting new generation with the release of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. This means improved gameplay, graphics and all round amazingness. However, the Xbox 360 is still receiving some love by developers, and that’s why we are still seeing games released on that console to this day. MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame is one of those games.
Geared up in my overalls, biking boots on and helmet firmly in position I was ready to see what the official motocross game had to offer. All the standard features are present and can be ticked off the bog standard racing game checklist. Instant Race, Grand Prix, Championship, Career mode, Time attack and of course if you’re playing the game for long enough, Xbox LIVE. They are all self explanatory, but to pick a few, Grand Prix allows you to participate in a race weekend with full qualifications and races. Championship mode allows to you tailor your MXGP experience by choosing how many of the official tracks are in your championship, such as how many laps etc.
Then there’s the career mode, where racers ride as their custom created rider. All riders start off in the MX2 division and it’s up to you to work your way up, building your fans database along the way before dominating the MX1 division. In this mode you also get the chance to sign-up with official MXGP teams and become the champion. Apart from a change of apparel you wouldn’t really notice any difference in the bike styles, or at least I didn’t anyway.
MXGP is all about the realism. Now as already stated, I’m no expert in the world of motocross and this definitely includes the physics involved in riding such a bike. Despite the lack of knowledge though I was pretty disappointed with the game physics at first. With me being a novice, the bike setup was there to aid me, however I just didn’t think it felt like I was riding a motorcycle. It felt more like I was just holding the acceleration button down with no regard to the required pace for the impending turn, then just turning round the corner with ease. The game really becomes a challenge and kicks into gear when you alter the game physics so that it is set to pro, and the rider weight set to manual. Every corner and jump becomes important as changing your weight with the right stick incorrectly could throw you off-course and out of the lead.
While rider physics are Milestone’s strong suit, graphics are certainly not. I started this review by stating that their is a new generation of game consoles out which provide better graphics than the current gen. Well, MXGP would not look out of place on a PlayStation 2 or Xbox (The Original Xbox). The lighting is poor, the jaggy dirt is an eyesore and the general surroundings make you feel you’re playing a game on the original Xbox. It’s safe to say that my 42” HD TV did not do MXGP any justice.
Another gripe is the lack of atmosphere throughout the game. Crowd noise is a drone and the lack of in-game music is a strange omission. It won’t be long before you’re plugging in your iPod (other MP3 players are available) to try and cover up the whiny noise of the motocross bikes. There are however no shortcuts where the official teams are concerned including the teams livery and riders. Shaun Simpson from Yamaha or seven time world champion Antonio Cairoli (Yes, I had to Google him) to name two available.
So if you can put up with the dated graphics and are keen to take your skills online against other motocross enthusiasts, you’ll be glad to know you can. Up to twelve players can compete in a single race or even a championship, if you have enough time on your hands. The usual leaderboards are available too if you enjoy keeping on top of lap times for each track and class.
So to sum up, MXGP is only really going to appeal to the motocross enthusiasts. I don’t see it as a game that you’ll just pick up and play, especially given the steep learning curve (to master the realistic physics). The graphics are dated to put it nicely and while graphics aren’t everything these days, they do play a huge part in the gaming experience. The lack of atmosphere while taking part in a race also becomes noticeable the more races that you partake in. If you’re still gaming on the Xbox 360, and are a fan of motocross then yes, go out and pick this up. If you’re not, you’re not missing much.