MXGP PS4 – Review

Title   MXGP
Developer  Milestone
Publisher  Namco Bandai
Platform  PlayStation 4 (also on PlayStation 3, PS Vita, Windows PC, Xbox 360)
Genre  Motocross
Release Date  October 17, 2014
Official Site

Games about motorbikes aren’t the most easy things to write about. Even when you are just putting together reviews, you still need a little bit of a muse to guide your words and motorsports are roughly as inspiring as the average Britain First Facebook message. That said, some of these games are a little more creative than others, so how does MXGP perform (insert some bullshit question about it stalling or racing to victory like some sort of cretin).

MXGP takes a no-nonsense approach to the art of riding motorbikes over dirt. When you’re on the track, the realism settings can go from very casual racing with low difficulty to the hyper-realistic ‘Pro’ settings where you have to shift your bodyweight with the right analog stick in order to make tiny but crucial adjustments to your body position.

What is important in games like this is whether or not you ‘feel’ the track. Some motorbike games feel as though you are a disconnected from the track and rather sliding over it. That’s not the case here, as you feel each and every bump and are constantly adjusting in order to keep your racing lines clean and your speed constant.

This connection to the track gives MXGP a nice, solid feel and is the fundamental element that makes MXGP a good game. And it is a good game. When you’re on the track with twenty-one other racers and you’re weaving through the crowds, getting your wheels to bite on the track and power out of a curve, it’s pretty damn satisfying. It’s also pretty immediate stuff with only a few tuturials required before you can start racing.

Where MXGP could improve, vastly, is in the variety of the modes. Whether you’re picking a quick race, a grand prix, a championship, or the career mode, you’re ultimately still just racing the same tracks against the same AI. There are a lot of tracks on offer and some of them do have a bit more character than others, but MXGP really is just a series of races.

Complaining about such a thing may seem a tad ridiculous if you’re new to the genre, but other games have shown that you can do more with this type of game. It certainly wouldn’t have taken much to add a Freestyle Motocross mode (you know, where daft Americans fling their bikes over sixty foot ramps and pull backflips while holding on with their little fingers) or Step Up (essentially the high jump but with bikes). Indeed there are no stunts even in the racing mode. This is pure motocross racing, and that’s fine, but after a little while with this game, you’ll have experienced everything it has to offer.

It’s a shame really because the core racing is very good and the game certainly looks the part with lovely bold, realistic graphics that look about as good as you can expect this sort of thing to look. The soundtrack is a mandatory list of generic metal guitars in the menu screens and nothing but the throaty roar of motorbikes and the random exuberance of the crowds during the races.

There are online options, which unfortunately seemed dead across the weekend I spent beavering away at the game. That’s a shame. People did flit in and out of lobbies, but at no point was it enough to start a race. Don’t expect the situation to improve much.

Look. It’s a game about motorbikes. It does the motorbike thing quite well. It doesn’t do anything else. Do you really like motorbikes? If so, you might want to get this. Do you really hate motorbikes? If so, you’re not even reading this review. I literally hate motorbikes but enjoyed MXGP. I also kill to silence the voices in my head. If you’ve made it this far, don’t tell anyone.

  • nice, solid physics.
  • satisfying racing action.
  • good controls.
  • looks rather nice. If you like your mud in high definition.
  • very limited gameplay choices.
  • pretty much dead online.

If you love motorbikes, this is well worth a look. Not sure I'd want to pay anything like full price for it but it's a really solid game with the best on the track feel I've had from this sort of thing in years. If motorbikes bore the hell out of you, I'd say don't bother. But if MXGP turns up on PS+ at some point in the future, it's worth a few days of your time thanks to enjoyable racing it offers.

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