In recent years, motocross games have fallen flat a little bit, as no title has lived up to our expectations. But, when it was revealed that an official MXGP game was going to be released, I was hopeful that it would fill the void. After testing the game last week, it is clear that it has delivered in all areas.
Obviously, one of the greatest draws in this game are the real tracks, as this is something that we have all wanted on a console for a very long time. However, no one has delivered this until now. I know that some people are slightly skeptical, because this has never been done before. But, trust me, these tracks are very realistic; everything is as it was when the FIM Motocross World Championship arrived at the venue in 2013.
When we went to test the game, we played an early build of it. So, we only got to play a handful of tracks, as the rest were locked. What tracks did we play? We logged laps around Matterley Basin, Agueda, Valkenswaard, Lausitzring, Losail, Si Racha and also Beto Carrero. Although I am sure that you would like me to tell you which ones I enjoyed most, I’m not sure I can pick a favourite. Why? Each track was so realistic, and unique, that they were all very challenging and enjoyable.
In fact, this was one of my favourite things about the tracks: they were challenging. I have always wanted a motocross game that poses some kind of challenge, as all you have had to do in most other titles is hold it pinned and turn. However, in MXGP you have to set yourself up for corners and always think ahead. A perfect example of this is the corner following the whoops at Matterley Basin. This was one corner that I found really hard, as you had to start slowing down in the whoops and set yourself perfectly to protect the inside. But, like I said, this challenge is something that excites me.
Of course, terrain deformation has been added to the MXGP game, also, which a valuable feature, especially on the sand tracks! Unlike MX vs. ATV Reflex, the terrain deformation in this game is very realistic. It affects the bike in the appropriate way too!
Now, this aspect of the game got me very excited. If you are a fan of motocross games, I am sure that you have longed for a career mode where you start off as a privateer and progress to get picked up by bigger factory teams. Well, guess what – the MXGP game has that! In fact, they have two different career modes.
Firstly, there is the championship. Now, this is the conventional series where you pick a rider (whoever you like) and then tackle the official calendar. Of course, this will be entertaining in itself, as you can do both MX1 and MX2. Basically, this would be enough alone to make it a brilliant game.
However, Milestone has gone one step further, and incorporated the ‘career mode’, which is going to be the most popular part of the game for most, I am sure. In a nutshell, you start off as a privateer as a wildcard at one GP. Then, judging by how you perform, you may get an offer from a smaller team to compete in the full series. From this point, you will continue to progress each season, and eventually (it may take some time) you will garner the interest of a factory team, which will obviously put you in the best possible position to succeed.
I am sure that you are wondering whether this would make a difference, right? Well, it does – this is another realistic aspect of the MXGP game. There is a notable power difference between a Red Bull KTM, and an STR KTM, for instance. Of course, this also means that more often than not, riders like Antonio Cairoli, Clement Desalle and Gautier Paulin will finish at the front, just like they do in real life!
When you take part in the career, your rider is based in a house in between races, where you can answer emails from potential sponsors, check results, change your look, work on your bike and communicate with fans! Again, this is an aspect of realism that is unprecedented in any other motocross game!
- I need to make sure one thing is clear; this game is nothing like MUD. In fact, the developers made sure that this game was completely different; they scrapped everything that they did with their previous title and started again with this. Obviously, this is great news, as MUD was underwhelming, to say the least. So, if you are thinking about not buying MXGP because you hated MUD, do not be put off. MXGP is much, much better.
- When Milestone released their most recent game-play video (Evgeny Bobryshev at Valkenswaard), I noticed that a lot of people were complaining about the speed of the bike. Well, after playing it, I can confirm that the bikes are not slow; they just react appropriately to the terrain deformation. You would not expect to be as fast around Valkenswaard as you are at Matterley Basin, right? This is conveyed in the game.
- One of the first things that I noticed was that ‘Time Attack’ has been implemented to this game. Now, this has not been featured in a game in quite some time, but it was a great feature back in the day! More often than not, you get to a point where the AI is no longer a challenge, which is often the time when the game goes stale. However, being able to race yourself will provide hours of fun, I am sure! I am very excited about this specific feature.
- The attention to detail in the MXGP game is unrivalled, as the loading screens, start procedure and trackside advertising are great additions that will probably go unnoticed by most. In my opinion, this is a game that will never become stale or boring, because there are so many little hidden gems to keep you entertained!
- Most of you already know this, but the game does use a dual control system, similar to what was used in the MX vs. ATV games. Of course, this is a massive step forward, as those controls are a lot more fun than the standard single stick system used in MUD.
- Finally, another great aspect to this game is the changes that you can make to your bike. You can set it up like you would a real bike, there are so many areas that you can tweak slightly to get better performance. Of course, it is quite important that you make these changes for the different style of tracks, which again adds another variable to this great game.
Okay, so I am sure that after reading that, you can tell that I am a fan of the new MXGP game. I have played every motocross game over the years, and I can honestly say that this is one of (if not) the best. There are so many variables that will ensure that this game will stay fun and interesting for a long time. If there is one thing that I want you to take from this, it is to not be put off by MUD; this game is completely different, and brilliant, to be honest.
Words: Lewis Phillips
The MXGP game will be released on March 28th, and will be available on the following consoles: Xbox 360, PS3, PS Vita and Windows PC.
If you have any specific questions about this game, feel free to email me ([email protected]) and I will do my best to get an answer for you!