Motocross now has its tire in the dirt with MXGP – The Offical Motocross Game, developed by Milestone S.r.l and published by Plug in Digital. MXGP seeks to give more control to the player in this motocross racer while also creating fun gameplay without too much micromanaging. There is a fair bit of a learning curve with the game (as there is with any game in the racing genre), but with a tutorial and helpful hints along the way, players should be able to find interest in this motocross simulator.
Players are a motocross racer seeking fame and fortune but as the official motocross game, MXGP does a great job of not just leaving the story at that. Between “Career Mode” and “Instant Racing” there is a fair amount for players to do while working towards motocross stardom.
Career mode is where the details really shine for MXGP as players are not only given options to customize their rider, but also their bike and even check in on “social media” in order to see what A.I. fans think of them. Being able to tweak your bike right before a big race allows players to set up the bike depending upon the type of race; there are different loadouts for different race lengths or types of track.
The ability to adjust suspension based on the bumpiness of the track can help shave off precious seconds during qualifying rounds or make the difference between finishing first or second. This attention to detail really helps make players feel like an actual motocross professional with decisions that will affect their riding abilities. Also being able to feel in control of the team to sign with adds a nice bit of flavor to the game.
While all of this control and customization does a lot for the story of MXGP, gameplay is hurt in some crucial ways. Overall, there is a fair amount of tutorial necessary for the actual driving aspect of the game, which means that learning curve can only be overcome with practice and patience. However, the learning curve of required knowledge in order to properly tweak your bike is something that is far more daunting of a mountain to climb. All of the little details ultimately just overwhelm and mostly hurt more than help.
For an experienced rider or race junkie, the details are appreciated but for the layman, it can make a player feel frustrated. Micromanaging aside, the game runs smoothly, the racing is adrenaline pumping and after just a couple races, players will feel much more equipped to handle more challenging tracks and A.I. opponents.
Also worth delving into further is the aforementioned tutorials, which are very well put together and are definitely worth a watch. The tutorials will help players learn the game’s driving mechanics, which require players to be working two sections of the keyboard simultaneously (the w, a, d and s keys, also known as WADS, as well as the arrow keys, which respectively control weight shifting of rider versus steering of bike).
Graphics and Sound
MXGP really didn’t “wow” in terms of graphics. A lot of character faces look bizarre at best and many of the tracks seem lackluster as far as modeling goes. However, graphics don’t interfere with gameplay and it is very easy to tell where everything is during the race, as well as avoid obstacles with relative ease. The courses are incredibly detailed and details also show up great on the bikes themselves. The fact remains that ultimately the game looks older than it is.
Sound is pretty standard – bikes starting up, dust grinding, collisions and a very colorful soundtrack of “race noises” fit well and don’t overpower the game. MXGP’s sound had a very authentic feel as it wasn’t trying to too hard with a heavy soundtrack of well-known hits, but simply let the game be itself.
In general, MXGP is a fun and unique game that brings motocross to life but for those not used to racing games (or not particularly interested in motocross), it has a very steep learning curve and controls can fight against players.
While the amount of detail does a lot to make MXGP a very immersive simulator, it hurts the game by throwing too much at players and makes what should be a fun racing game overly complex. For the motocross buff or racing game fanatic, the game will be a great buy and a fantastic outlet for exploring the player’s need for speed, but for the casual gamer or one not familiar with the sport, there are other games out there.
Steam is currently running a sale from MXGP’s standard price of $39.99 down to $33.99, but this deal is only until April 4.