Hands-on with MXGP - The Official Motocross Videogame

Tough mudder

Hands-on with MXGP - The Official Motocross Videogame

Back in 2012, I reviewed the deeply disappointing MUD - FIM Motocross World Championship from Milestone.

Why did I consider it 'disappointing'?

Well, it wasn't just because its individual components were lacklustre. It was also because there didn't seem to be a single vision for the game - it fell awkwardly between simulation and arcade racer.

With MXGP, the focus is clear: this is a hardcore simulation for fans of motocross... and it's brimming with authenticity.

From what I've played of MXGP so far, it's all the better for it.

This is a serious motocross game for serious motorsport enthusiasts. Its aim from the offset is to recreate last year's season of the sport with the utmost attention to detail.

Multiple modes are on offer - including time trials, quick races, and multiplayer - but the one you'll spend most of your time in will undoubtedly be Career.

This mode will be familiar to anyone who has played a recent Milestone game, such as WRC 4 FIA World Rally Championship or MotoGP 13.

You take a wild card racer from zero to hero, then, vying for the attention of other motocross teams while competing in whole seasons of the sport.

Checking and tuning your ride's setup; responding to job offers; seeing what others are saying about you - it's all in a day's work for a motocross rider, apparently.

Dishing the dirt

Thankfully, Milestone has improved this mode in one very crucial way: load times are now much, much faster.

What you might not be prepared for, though, is the brutal nature of the game. Especially if you aren't familiar with the sport.

You need to take every element of racing into account here, so you can't just blast around a track at full speed. Hit a jump at the wrong velocity or angle, for instance, and you'll either lose precious speed or go flying off the track completely.

You use a two-stick system for control in MXGP (the left stick for turning the bike, and the right for leaning the rider). While this means you can get a great deal of steering accuracy, you can never relax for a moment.

Yes, you'll be wrestling with the bike at all times: keeping it stable on dangerously slippery surfaces, while trying to cane it as hard as you can on the straights and jostling with other riders for position.

This is a multiformat release, though the Milestone representative showing me the game was keen to stress that the Vita version of MXGP is not a port. Instead, it's a version Milestone has built concurrently with the home console and PC editions.

Because of this, this Vita version doesn't feel like a compressed edition of the console affair. Saying that, Milestone has made some concessions for the less powerful Vita hardware.

The first is obvious: it doesn't look as good as it does on the more powerful machines. It doesn't look bad by any means, sure, but it will be a somewhat noticeable step down if you plan on playing the other versions.

The second is the racer count. Up to 16 bikers are on the track in home editions. In the Vita version, though, Milestone has cut that number down to ten. Again, however, it's not a deal breaker.

The third concession will be the most troubling, and has a definite impact on the gameplay. While the courses in the home versions of MXGP are carved through and shaped by the wheels of your bike as you race, the Vita version does not support terrain deformation.

Vroom for improvement

This makes the handheld version markedly (and mercifully) easier than the home console versions, as you can't fall foul of an unexpected pockmark.

This does, however, make the MXGP experience on Vita slightly less realistic than it is on its home console counterparts.

But these seem to be minor issues, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with MXGP. Look out for our full review of the game on the site, which we'll have ready by the time the game goes live on Vita (as well as PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, and PC) on March 28th.

In the meantime, take a look at the trailer for MXGP below.

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Peter Willington
Peter Willington
Die hard Suda 51 fan and professed Cherry Coke addict, freelancer Peter Willington was initially set for a career in showbiz, training for half a decade to walk the boards. Realising that there's no money in acting, he decided instead to make his fortune in writing about video games. Peter never learns from his mistakes.