Having reviewed MXGP back on PS3 when it originally released, I’ve been tasked with playing the fresh PS4 version to see if the updates are worth buying the game again. It boasts oodles new content, but is it worth revisiting?
The main game is the same as it was on PS3, but with added content including 4 new tracks, 22 riders on a track at any given time, general improvements and the light bar on the DualShock 4 changes colour depending on your speed. There’s little story to it but it revolves around you, a wild card racer, trying to make a career for yourself as you race against the pros, sign up with teams and try to be victorious. I love that you can check a social network to see what others are saying about you, so you’ll want to ensure you perform well.
Of course though if you’re looking too buy MXGP, chances are you’re a fan of the sport and dirt bike racing. Sadly, I didn’t feel the improvement from the PS3 version in its gameplay, although it’s still solid and tough as nails; the difficulty curve is hard to nail down, but it’s immensely satisfying once you get to grips with it. It’s all in the timing, especially if you remove the rider supports and control the characters weight and bike completely without help, as then you have much more to worry about. Other than Career mode, there’s the Grand Prix and Championship tournaments to participate in, instant races, time attacks and multiplayer.
Although challenging, MXGP is very rewarding. You won’t be able to win solely by speeding through the tracks, rather it’s quite the opposite; you need to take your time and have patience to out-maneuver your opponents and to nail those tricky turns. If you turn a corner too rashly, you’ll come flying off of your bike and it’ll reset you onto the track but of course, your opponents may have already passed by you in that small time-frame.
Multiplayer is basic with you racing against other players, but now you’re able to racer against more players than you would’ve on the PS3 version due to the PS4’s capabilities. I’m not the best at MXGP although I did get to grips with it finally, albeit with many player assisting options (I tried without them and I wish to never experience such failure again), and it’s nice to see people online that range from being quite fresh to the game like me, or are absolute pro’s and show that there is a trick to MXGP’s brutal difficulty and it’s weighty controls.
In a game that plays realistically, it helps when the visuals also do their part. Whilst MXGP isn’t quite up to par with many other PS4 releases, it manages to look nicer than it’s PS3 counterpart which is what it promises to do. The rider moves nicely on the bike and you can both see and feel the weight behind them, with their clothes fluttering about in the wind as they get tarnished by the dirt that the wheels constantly flick up and out. The ragdoll physics when you fall off are pretty stiff though.
Although the animations are nicely done, the environments could do with a bit more polish. There’s noticeable pop-in texture as you’re racing, and things aren’t quite as detailed as they could be, especially when you’re in the cockpit customising your racer and bike; things look much better in motion. MXGP did feel as if the camera was clunky, as it would re-arrange itself to focus on you but would it rather sharply, creating a jittery motion; I don’t recall this issue being present in the PS3 version.
The way the e-mails, calendar, social network and other interactive social systems are smoothly implemented and tend to use real-life photos rather than CGI, further immersing you in the realism that MXGP portrays. Customisation offers a decent level of variety, including being able to change your bikes and racer, although these are mostly limited to some colours, fonts, helmets and technical parts of your bike.
There’s a lack of soundtrack in the game, so you’ll be racing in silence other than the atmosphere in-game. I like racing to music personally as it tends to get my adrenaline pumping, and some of the races are extremely long in MXGP and can last 30 minutes; fortunately, you can end these early or skip the non-important races entirely.
The bikes themselves sound nice and so does the surrounding noise, but sadly the bikes tend to drown out anything else and the audio can get boring very quickly; although some may prefer it this way. I’ve never attending a dirt bike event myself, so I can’t comment on how accurate the atmosphere is and the lack of music.
There’s plenty of content to keep you occupied but sadly it doesn’t vary much regardless of what you choose to play. It doesn’t matter what choices you make in the career as nothing tends to change, but you might find yourself wanting to become number one despite this. MXGP: The Official Motocross Videogame is aimed solely at fans of the real life sport, and so unless you have a fancy of a realistic dirt bike simulator, you may find yourself becoming frustrated with the difficulty and repetition of the game; however, fans will be likely to fall in love with it. However, if you already own the game on PS3 then there’s no reason to pick it up on PS4 unless you play it online frequently.