01st May2014

‘MXGP’ Review (PS3)

by Paul Metcalf


When it comes to motor bike racing I tend to think of Superbikes and Motor GP, I’ve even played some of the games, though not for many years.  When loading up MXGP and making my way through the menu system to get to an actual race I knew that the races would be muddy and full of jumping in the air, and in a way that is the perfect way to start the game.  The problem with this though is the complexities of racing on tracks that appear to want you to crash spectacularly, in bone crushing ways!

That’s not to say that MXGP is a hard game to control, you just have to get used to how the bike handles, how your rider applies his weight to the bike and all of your opponents who are flying through the air at the same time.  Playing on the Playstation 3 the controls are fairly simple, you have a button to break, one to accelerate, and the left stick controls the direction you want the bike to go and the right controls the weight of the rider himself.  When starting to learn how to ride using these controls you tend to forget about the right stick, it’s best to just concentrate on the corners and how you are going to land.  After you get used to these controls then you put them all together and work out just what to do to stop yourself falling off the bike.

The most important thing about MXGP is concentration because in truth common sense dictates that the bike you are controlling is going to lose the fight with the fast approaching ground when you land incorrectly, and this is why MXGP can be very unforgiving.  The most annoying aspect for me many times is misjudging a jump only to find myself flying off the track and landing on a sign, the trick is to look at the map and realise that there is a turn coming.  Trying to look at the map when concentrating on finding the correct racing line though means the map is really the last thing you think to look at.  This is something that you can’t see as a weakness in the game because MXGP is aiming for realism so it’s not going to give you a nudge back onto the track.  You will find though that if you stray too far you will be reset back into the race.

With plenty of modes such as Quick Start, Grand Prix, Career and Multiplayer there are plenty of options to choose from.  I found myself concentrating on Career more, taking a user created racer on the journey to success on the MXGP circuit.  Starting as a Wild Card racer you have to get the attention of the teams through winning races and showing you are worthy to be a part of their team.  This is a fairly superficial layer to the actual racing sections but it adds more of a flow to gameplay and gives more of a reason to keep on playing.  Adding to this, there is also an experience system that builds up through any racing you do in all modes.  The more experience you game the more extras you unlock such as clothing and racing teams.

MXGP can be an annoying game, especially in the initial stages of learning the controls.  The tracks are unforgiving, no matter what driving aids you apply and even when you get the hang of racing you are still likely to take the wrong step and crash without any warning.  This is not the fault of the game controls though or the game engine, it’s more that the tracks themselves are going to be unforgiving in reality, so this is what you are going to get in the game.  With no in-race music and graphics that aren’t exactly spectacular there is also often a characterless feel to the races, when you are concentrating on just getting the landings right though this is something you can look past.

For fans of the sport, MXGP has a lot to offer especially when it comes to the racing physics and a push towards realism. What lets it down in the end is a feel that the presentation of the game, but as always is something that can be looked past.

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