Officially licensed motorsport games are always initially focused on meeting the expectations of a set group of people. Formula One is the most popular, with MotoGP and WRC following suit. So when Milestone announced they were making a game around Motocross, they have a challenge in getting it to a much wider audience. The result is a fun and enjoyable motorcycling game, but is missing the finesse to make it a great one.
This release is on the PlayStation 4 having already been released on PS3 (which we originally reviewed here), Xbox360, PSVita and PC earlier this year. The PS4 release includes four additional tracks, greater depth in graphical fidelity, improved audio and the ability to have 22-bike grids simultaneously.
The lack of finesse as mentioned starts upon loading the game up for the first time – the tutorial is merely a series of videos instructing you how to ride the bike, with text on screen remaining throughout telling you it is using the default controls. Whilw informative, it is an information overload for when you are thrown into a race for the first time. It would have been nice to have had a series of challenges or even licence tests in order to assist your development into racing these bikes around some challenging circuits.
That said, it doesn’t take too long to get to grips with the controls and before long you are having some good races. There are differing levels of difficulty with driving assists that still give you enough control over the bike. One area this game really comes into its own is the ability to transfer your weight across the bike whilst airborne. Jumping across the dunes in motocross is the signature facet of the sport, and the ability to jerk the bike out mid-air to aid in speed, landing and traction works to great effect in the game.
The game has a host of game modes with Grand Prix, Time Trial, Multiplayer online and a very comprehensive Career mode to choose from. Entering the career mode and allowing you to customise everything about your rider and even who manages you, the career portal does give you a sense of engagement. You start driving spot races within the MX2 class to show off your talent to draw interest from teams to offer you a full time ride. Through the season, continued good performance can result in a drive for MX1 and championship glory. In terms of difficulty, however, whilst it takes a little while to get used to the handling, once you do the challenge goes with it and race victories seem to come a little too easily0
Where the game lets itself down further, though, is through the smaller details. Graphically, despite being on a new console, it looks a little bland. The background scenery is lacking in depth, the crowd looks very old-generation and some of the animations of the rider coming off the bike can be quite comical. The quality of the graphics does not do the PS4 justice, and for a sport where deformable ground should be this game’s trademark it is not very noticeable. Finally, it was confirmed that the game is locked at 30fps which is very disappointing for a game that clearly is not pushing the capabilities of the PlayStation 4 system.
If you are a fan of the sport and have played motorcycling games in the past, you will certainly enjoy MXGP – it is a game which is fun, has an engaging career mode and encapsulates the essence of MXGP. But you can tell it was made for MXGP fans exclusively – sure, someone new to it will get some enjoyment, but will likely have limited appeal in the long run.