Motocross is a severely underrated sport, not just in videogames but in real life as well, with MotoGP, Formula One, and football (I mean, really, c’mon?) eclipsing this intense action. While I still love the aforementioned sports, I really think MX needs to be given more spotlight, which is why I love Milestone for their constant development of MX titles. Don’t worry, this review has got pictures, not just words.
Her name is Slidey McQueen
First things first, if you don’t like failing, perhaps MXGP Pro might not be for you. Not that this is a hard title but setting the game for a realistic experience will leave you gritting your teeth to stop yourself from swearing. To be fair, the game is titled ‘MXGP Pro’ for a reason, and there is definitely an emphasis on the ‘Pro’ part.
If you are reading this thinking, ‘Do I really want to play this?’, I will answer that for you. Yes, yes you do. MXGP Pro is one of the most visually impressive MX racing titles, with impeccable mechanics, and the fact that all licensed riders, companies, and tracks are included, just makes the experience that much better. MXGP Pro puts you in the rider’s seat of an up-and-coming MX rider, looking to become the World MXGP champion. As part of the single-player campaign, there is the ‘Compound’ where you have your tutorials, as well as a practice arena to hone your skills.
If a bike revs in the forest, does it still make a noise?
MXGP Pro comes with a ton of customisation elements, albeit they are somewhat shallow. For example, you can change everything on your crotch-rocket from the brakes and sprockets, to the handlebars, grips, and bar pads. However, no matter which manufacturer you opt for, the performance specs do not change, unless they are a higher stage. The only time performance specs change is when you are selecting motorcycle manufacturers at the start.
Why, it's Greased Lightnin'
Rider customisation is limited as well, as you only have a select few pre-sets to choose from when it comes to your appearance. You can adjust your height, clothing, and name and number on your jersey, but not much else. This doesn’t make a huge difference as you are constantly wearing a helmet and goggles (which you can customise as well), so your face barely makes an appearance outside of podium cutscenes and the menu screens.
It's like an RPG, but not really
MXGP adopts a simulation style of racing rather than arcade, even with the physics engine set to normal. On the ‘Realistic’ setting, it takes extreme levels of concentration to keep yourself upright. If you get even a little bit airborne, you need to navigate the bike delicately to avoid from flipping over. However, while this may sound daunting, its far more rewarding knowing that you fought tooth and nail to get that coveted victory (or, in my case, number 10), and that the game didn’t take over most of the mechanics for you.
If you prefer the thrill of dirt and petrol without having to fight with your bike the whole time, there are various difficulty and physics settings you can try, but I found the lowered settings too monotonous, especially if you are racing in ‘Full weekend’ mode. This mode consists of practice runs, qualifying sessions, and then the full race as well. Interestingly enough, I felt it was easier to control the 450cc class than the 250cc class and lower. Perhaps it was down to the heavier bike impacting the physics engine but the 250cc class felt erratic. For those looking for an incredibly detailed MX experience, use the ‘Full Weekend’ and ‘Realistic’ settings.
Practice, Qualifying, Race. What a weekend
The attention to detail that Milestone have put into MXGP Pro is just unbelievable yet, not surprising if you have played any of their other titles. The visual effects are drastically enhanced compared to their most recent title, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame, with textures getting an overhaul, and awe-inspiring god rays through trees. The tracks have also been given a little extra attention to detail, with small ledges and mounds being more prominent, and environmental particles look a little sharper.
It's so warm in the sun
The only drawback when it came to the visuals was the rendering times on different outfits and kits on both the rider and bikes. Even the pre-set items took unnecessarily long to render, something I thought Milestone would have paid more attention to. The Italians have also included a smidge of game integration with the PS4, as the light bar on the controller changes colour according to the rev limiter in game. While not a performance boost, it’s just a small detail that increases the immersion between you and the rider. Couple this with the camera angle within the goggles, and you are practically there.
My loyal fans
As I said before, Milestone are known for their attention to detail. Each bike has a distinct sound, depending on the manufacturer of the bike and the various parts you have bolted to your two-wheeled maniac machine. The tracks have also been recreated extremely accurately to their real-life counterparts, a perk of getting licensed material.
The biggest frustration I had with MXGP Pro, aside from getting thrown around the track, was the loading times. I tested this copy on my PS4 Pro (so a little more processing power) and the loading times were just terrible. Everything from map loading to returning to a menu took ridiculously long, something I didn’t experience in my review of Monster Energy Supercross. Milestone should have optimised this, along with the rendering issues, before the release of the game.
I believe I can fly
Overall, MXGP Pro was a stunningly beautiful title to play, and I had loads of fun. The optimal experience for MXGP Pro is to set the physics engine to ‘Realistic’ and to race a ‘Full Weekend’, but that might cater only for the extreme MX enthusiast. However, if you are really looking for a challenge, then there is no other way to play this title. Aside from the impacted rendering and terrible loading times, Milestone has done an incredible job to accurately reflect the life of a MX racer, but honestly, who expected anything less of the Italians?
Loves games with deep character development and a rich storyline. Also, shooty-shooties. Loathes microtransactions. Likes to use sarcasm and metaphors.
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29 June 2018
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