Thursday, 09 August 2018 09:00


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Clearly, it seems that many of the gameplay decisions for this title have been made by developers who are real-world motocross enthusiasts, which is the least you’d expect from the official video game of the Motocross Championship. It seems like a lot of work was put in to bring real motocross into this digital experience — so much so, that you should honestly be able to feel more comfortable riding a real-life dirt bike for the first time after playing this title. For quite a few different reasons, however, all of the work and attention to detail may have been in vain, as MXGP PRO will likely drive off new players to the series and disappoint returning fans.


MXGP PRO is made with Unreal Engine, and the things that the engine does well are done well: trees, sun shafts, and the scenery surrounding your rider looks gorgeous. However, a large part of what you’re going to be looking at is the back of your rider, and this could’ve been done considerably better. The character’s shirt ripples in the breeze, but the effect that they’ve chosen for this looks less like wind-swept fabric and more like the effect Amnesia uses when a character is going insane. The result is jarring and hard to reconcile with the visual appeal of the rest of the release.


MXGP PRO has a rewind feature which is handy if you’re about to careen into a tree, or if you’ve already hit a tree and just want to see the little guy go flying again. Rewinding does the essential job of extending the tutorial further into the game, letting you make your mistakes until you get it right. As a result, players will get a feel for how to belt around the track in the most optimal way possible, as soon as possible.

Before a race, you’re given the option to modify your bike, and the options are incredibly in-depth: suspension, gear ratios, brake response, and accelerator mapping are all adjustable. Initially, all of these options seem overwhelming, but MXGP PRO does a great job of explaining what in the world these things mean. While I’m sure the options that I changed had absolutely no effect on my ability to ride my bike, or possibly even had a negative one, the fact that these options are available, rather than just a couple of presets, indicates that the developer is looking out for its hardcore players.


For the most part, MXGP PRO is you, a bike, dirt, and a bunch of trees. There’s a host of different races in different locales, but that’s the constant: bike, dirt, trees. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. This is MXGP PRO, not Mass Effect. Besides a keep-it-simple-stupid approach to the riding experience, however, MXGP PRO doesn’t particularly move its genre forward or even differentiate itself from other titles in its category.

Races are missing a certain level of high-octane action that you’d expect from whipping a bike around a track, and instead feel crowded and repetitive. The majority of the time in MXGP PRO, you’ll be racing against twenty-two other racers, which has the side effect of keeping rivalries in a race very impersonal. Instead of going head-to-head with a pesky racer in green who’s always on your tail, it’s more or less you versus the horde. Not only does this make it difficult to keep tabs on your competitors, but they also get in the way constantly.


Most importantly, the actual experience of driving the bike isn’t anything special either — in a racing entry, it’s important to feel like you’re in complete control of your vehicle. When you’ve hit that sweet spot where you’re not even thinking and have reached joystick nirvana, your enjoyment of any racing game will increase dramatically, and it’ll become easy to ignore its faults. This was the major problem with this title: in a game that’s centered around riding a bike, the bike doesn’t feel good at all. Even beginning to learn how to corner, or during other various tactics for getting a faster lap, there was never really a satisfying feeling of connection between the controller and what was going on on-screen.

The feel of a vehicle is what a title like MXGP PRO is built on, and unfortunately for the fans of the series, that feeling is very flat. Corners are inconsistent, steering feels floaty and imprecise, and the bike itself seems to sometimes have a mind of its own. If these issues had been addressed and the actual gameplay of MXGP PRO was tight, responsive, and satisfying, we would have been able to look past other issues in this entry as we flew past them on a dirt track. Unfortunately, gameplay ended up being the final nail in this title’s coffin.


The Verdict: Average

All in all, MXGP PRO is a relatively flat racing game — it has racers, it has things with wheels, and it has the occasional checkered flag. It doesn’t do much of anything to differentiate itself from other entries in the genre, and it fails to deliver a satisfying feel to its players.

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James Kuhtreiber

James Kuhtreiber is an American writer and comedian who is currently living in Ireland. His work can be found on Amazon and probably below the paragraph you’re reading right now. James is also the Chief Editor over at Nerfwire, the oldest established (and most definitely genuine) gaming news site in the world. When James is supposed to be working on everything mentioned thus far, he’s usually playing World of Warcraft.


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