Motorcross games go back a long way. From the fabled classics such as Sega’s Enduro Racer to Nintendo’s own Excitebike, it’s a genre that has always been with us, but its presence has not always been felt. And that purely goes down to the individual. You’re either a fan or you’re not.
Cue MXGP 3, based upon the official Motocross World Championships of which Italian developer Milestone deliver the third iteration in the series. Milestone themselves are no rookies when it comes to morotbike games as the harvest over two decades worth of experience with the sport. The question is, does MXGP 3 deliver a solid ride? Or is it best left in the mud?
Being based upon the official Motorcross, you’d expect a somewhat deep and investing experience with a wealth of options and game modes. And MXGP3 is no exception. You’re thrust straight into creating a rider with a host of customisable outfits. Not forgetting the bikes, of which you have a range of official wheels to choose from including great names such as Kawasaki and Yamaha. It’s a nice quick and easy introduction before getting your rider straight into the action in one of the various game modes. With MXGP being an 18 race around the world Grand Prix, we’re getting authentic tracks and the riders from the championships to get to grips with.
There isn’t a lot of difference between the game modes on offer from the previous iteration. You’ve got the standard career mode where you take your fresh young rider from rookie to champ whilst gaining sponsors, joined with a manager to advise you along the way. Whilst this is the meat of MXGP3, there’s also Grand Prix, Championships and Time Trial modes to keep your interest. What is disappointing is that there’s little variety in tracks from the previous title. So if you’ve played MXGP2, you’re going to be very disappointed with additions here. Because there simply isn’t many.
A staple feature of almost any racer these days is the rewind feature which is present here. And as fun as it is to turn back the clock to correct your mistakes, using it sucks all challenge away from the experience. Of course, it’s not compulsory, but when there’s cake in front of you you’re going to take it.
Controls are a high point for MXGP3. It hasn’t taken a full-on simulator route as you can easily get to grips with bike handling in much more of an arcade way. The same can’t be said for the physics. If you’re after a true authentic experience then you may be left slightly disappointed.
There is redemption in terms of customisation options, however. You can tune up your bikes suspension, springs, compression – it’s pretty much all there. As are the in-game options to fine tune handling and the difficulty level to name a couple.
There’s been an elephant in the room since the start of this review. And it’s the graphics. Using the Unreal Engine, tracks, scenery, bikes, riders. They look horrendous. It’s as if Milestone took the MXGP format before stepping in the DeLorean and going back to 2009. If you compare this with not only the second but also the first MXGP, it doesn’t actually even compare. Whether this was done to developer constraints, time issues or something else. It’s mind boggling to see full price physical release with such a licence be let loose with such an abundance of jaggy, rough edges at almost every pixel in that 1080p TV you’re playing it on. It’s a very bland experience for the eyes with what has no doubt been some of the worst rendering in recent years for a final release.
The weather system too is somewhat erratic, almost to the point where you feel it’s being controlled by someone simply turning a tap on and off in an instant. This takes away that little but more from delivering an authentic experience.
With the wealth of options and modes, it’s safe to say there’s plenty to keep you racing for many many hours. If you’re a hardcore MXGP fan or have an interest in motocross, you’ll likely find something here to keep you entertained. For others that prefer a solid arcade experience or haven’t capitulated to trying a motorcross game, you’ll struggle to see anything to change your mind.
And whilst this does deliver a decent, authentic MXGP experience, it leaves you feeling that maybe you should have stuck with the previous game rather than splashing out forty big ones for something that looks worse and fails to evolve the experience.
MXGP3 is available to buy now in the Xbox Store, priced £49.99 and on physical disc at all good retailers.
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