Motocross has seen a rather interesting evolution over time and it's pleasing to see that this has culminated in an official video game being published. Motocross is no stranger to the video game scene, but with MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame, it becomes the latest in a long line of motorsports to venture into the more serious side of video games. That means you've got a faithful replication of the sport's professional side, with tons of official riders, bikes and tracks.
As soon as you load the game up, you will see that the core offering is pretty standard, as well as being a bit deceptive. Of course, you have the option to take part in an instant race, but this mode is almost identical to grand prix. Aside from this, you have the option to put together your own stand-alone championship, race against the clock with time trials and take part in the game's career mode.
For fans, career mode is where most of the offline action will be spent. Here, you can take part in rider challenges, switch teams, work your way up through the different divisions and become the best rider in the world. It's just that we've seen it all before and as soon as you get into the basic "menu", this becomes all too apparent.
Here, you can peruse the front cover of pretty ropey looking magazine, check out the championship standings, view the season calendar view your emails and "social feeds" on the computer and access your locker. There is pretty much nothing here that's engaging or innovative. It means the only real difference between career mode and championship mode is the fact you can switch teams and change engine size through promotion.
This side of the game is very underwhelming and it's disappointing. Games that released earlier in the generation were able to offer more substance in this department and it feels as though some corners were cut, just so the game could offer some semblance of a career mode. That shouldn't detract from the overall gameplay experience, but it does in this case because the career mode in any sports game is often one of the main drivers for playing the game offline. And with MXGP, it's lacking.
Gameplay is very competent from a technical perspective. Fans of MXGP and Motocross in general will be very pleased with how the game sets itself up, with particular attention being paid to bike physics. This would be expected considering how integral this is to the sport, with plenty of jumps, tight corners and difficult tracks, but it's still enjoyable to see the game in full flow.
Such is the implementation, that the control scheme is a little unorthodox. It bears some similarities to the MotoGP series, and it means you will have to control the front and back brakes independently, while also controlling the weight distribution of your rider. This means you will have to pay a lot of attention to how your rider is behaving, but also the course itself. You will need to think about which brakes to use based on jumps, opponents, the sharpness of a corner and also the track deformation.
We have seen track deformation for quite some time now in games such as Motorstorm where it was offered up as part of the whole "4D" spiel towards the start of the PS3's lifecycle. In MXGP, it's quite similar, but it does have quite an impact on how you race. Not only can you see the lines other riders use, but the ruts created can have a drastic effect on cornering. This also doesn't just apply to you, as the AI can often be seen struggling to overcome cornering and you will see pop-ups in the corner highlight crashes.
Despite this positives, the negatives can't be overlooked and these again come in the form of dated implementation. Simple elements are missing, such as opposition riders not appearing on the mini-map, and it starts to take the sheen off of the whole experience. And that's without even getting onto oddities such as how the game handles landing on other riders following a jump. Hint, it doesn't.
Aside from the track degradation, the riders and bike will also get muddier as the race progresses. But other elements of presentation are pretty standard, with the game having very little in the form of wow factor. The same can also be said about the game's online mode. It does the job, but offers very little in addition to what's expected.
MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame is a decent introduction to video games for this sporting competition. It faithfully represents what the franchise is about, with lots of licenced content and well implemented controls. However, it does very little to expand upon what's expected in the majority of departments, with a career mode that's very bland and presentation that looks dated.
|Controls work well.|
|Lots of licenced content.|
|Track degradation works well.|
|Game modes aren't that imaginative.|
|Much of the game feels quite dated.|
|Career mode is very basic.|