Platform: Steam, PlayStation 3, XBOX 360, Vita
Genre: Racing Simulation
OFLC Rating: G
I cannot say I am an experienced rider (riding ATVs out on Uncle’s farm is about it), but there’s something about Motocross that gets my attention. Whether it’s the thrills and spills or just the gritty excitement of it all – Watching my older cousin ride Motocross was, but playing a good computer game experience of the motorsport was another thing. The first Motocross game I played was Dynamix’s Motocross of 1989. The games that really had me hooked on Motocross were Microsoft’s Motocross Madness of 1998 and the sequel Motocross Madness 2 of 2000.
Since then I haven’t really come across another good Motocross game, until now. About a year ago I played MUD and honestly found it be (put fairly) rather lackluster. When I first saw MXGP available in the PSN for Vita, I was both curious and somewhat skeptical given my previously brief experience with MUD. Having checked out some of the footage for the game on YouTube I was pleasantly surprised and took a chance on it. I have been playing MXGP for almost a week now and I will say it’s the best Motocross game since the Motocross Madness games. The people who made this game, Milestone I have actually played and enjoyed their PC arcade racing games – Screamer and Screamer 2 from 1995/96. By the way being a Screamer fan I created a few races in GTA Online as a tribute to the series.
MXGP is a lot like the previously mentioned 1989 Motocross, where you had the option to experience roughly what it would be like to progress through a Motocross rider’s career within the FIM Motocross World Championship from humble beginnings to championship glory. However, you can choose to play single races and time trials or even get stuck into some serious online action. MXGP features the rosters for both MX1 and MX2 competitions, allowing you to either fill the boots of one of the rostered riders or your own custom rider (which you will create upon first playing the game). Like any simulation game, you will have access to a selection of assistance options to make the experience more accessible to beginners and casual players alike – However, I would honestly recommend leaving all but the “Semi-Automatic” transmission off as I found the assists to hamper the degree of control made available. On the default setup you have your two analogue sticks that control both bike and rider’s weight shifting ability respectively, the shoulder buttons controlling the throttle and front brake. The rear brake is mapped to the X button, your transmission to both Circle and Square buttons. Your point of view controls use the directional pad for third person side views and the Triangle button to look behind, along with the Select button to toggle between first and third person camera views. However, it would be fair to assume the console and Steam versions of the game allow to map your in any way you see fit as the PlayStation version allows for this.
By using the “Pro” physics (riding physics assistance off) you gain more control and take full advantage over the setup offered. The transmission settings allow for either “Manual” or “Semi-Automatic” (Allowing you to change gears if you feel the need, otherwise treating it as an Automatic transmission) – Using the Vita’s preset configurations you may wish to use semi-auto as changing gears can be quite encumbersome using face buttons. Where you’re able to set up the controls to suit, you can easily put together a configuration that feels more authentic. As far as the simulation quality goes, it’s accurate enough to take advice from experienced riders and apply in-game – Provided you are riding without any assistance options (with the exception to transmission – Depending on your setup) of course. For anyone looking for that extra bit of immersion, may I suggest the following – Use first person view, switch off “Map” and “Rider Names”.
When choosing from the modes available you can play “Instant Race” your course and rider are chosen at random from the MX1 competition roster, leaving only the number of laps (3, 5, 10, 15 or 20) and the riding skill of your AI opponents (Easy, Medium, Hard and Realistic) only to be decided. Both “Grand Prix” and “Championship” will allow you to choose the competition (MX1 or MX2), course and rider whether from the roster or your own. Both modes like career allow you the degree of participation – “Single Race” and “Double Race” allow you to get straight into the main event. “Qualifying and Races” allows you take part in qualifications to place times for set duration in order to get better choices for a desired starting lane on top of a double heat. Or “Full Weekend” adding the initial practice event, where you clock times with other riders on the course (as you would in the qualification round) and gain a feel for the track. Grand Prix is a single event and Championship is a season, both to be tailored to suit your current session. “Time Attack” is a hotlap mode that allows you to choose your competition, rider and course to clock times at your leisure – your fastest times for each course are posted on the leaderboard which in turn serves as an asynchronous multiplayer feature. Online events can be played with either a single or double heat with qualification toggled on/off. Unfortunately I cannot comment much on the online modes as I have not been able to race against anyone. But near as what I can tell, they mirror Grand Prix and Championship modes.
In total there fourteen courses along with an extensive selection of teams (motorcycle and racing colours for your custom rider) and riders to choose from – Overall, I honestly believe MXGP offers a generous amount of content and excitement to satisfy the average racing computer game enthusiast. MXGP at retail price varies depending on the platform – However, only the Steam version is available in America due licencing issues.
For those with access to all versions of the game, here is a bit of insight to help you in selecting the right one for you.
The two console versions are th most expensive, with PlayStation 3 costing $89.95AUD and XBOX 360 at $79.95AUD. The Vita version will set you back $54.95AUD and Steam being both the top performer (especially with the visual capability) and the most affordable at $39.95USD. whilst the Steam and console versions will offer you the capacity for more flexible control setup, the Vita version makes up for that by offering some rather satisfying on-the-go motocross action.
Now, is MXGP worth the price of admission?
If you consider yourself to be an “MX Nut”, then this is one more piece of merchandise you will be wanting.
If you’re a simulation enthusiast, then this definitely worth the experience.
If you love racing games in general… Excitement is garrenteed.
Otherwise if Motocross isn’t your thing… We understand. Right guys?