Motocross racing games used to be one of my favorite genres. Motocross Madness and even more recently MX Unleashed and the MX vs. series from Rainbow Studios ate up many hours of my gaming time. Sadly, the genre has slowly gotten away from being arcade in nature, as well as getting away from just being fun. MXGP2 doesn’t buck that trend and instead really only focuses on satisfying the hardcore motocross enthusiasts with its laundry list of teams and riders, while ignoring the most important aspect of racing in the dirt, fun.
The one thing that MXGP2 delivers is content. There are a ton of single player modes to dig around in. The career mode is the highlight. This mode allows players to create a custom rider, pick a manager and a sponsor, and compete in a series of events. It is lengthy and packed full of recognizable brands and bikes.
Platforms: XB1, PS4
Price I’d Pay: $29.99
For those looking for options to just race, this game has it covered. The MXGP and Stadium Series play host to an array of modes across the game’s impressive 22 tracks. Time trials, championship series, and even grand prix events are available. There is also a special moments mode that allows players to relive famous races from the real sport. If there is one thing that the developers packed in, it was content.
There are also a plethora of online modes. Almost every race type is available with friends and strangers, and the lag is hardly noticeable most of the time. Sadly, the online community is a ghost town, even shortly after launch, meaning it is not likely to have any sort of lasting appeal. Finding races so close to the game’s release does not bode well for finding any in the near future. Unless the game gets a substantial price cut, I don’t see this changing.
One of the things that made the aforementioned games so much fun to me was their outlandish physics and arcade-style game play. MXGP2 has none of that. This is a realistic racer in the strongest sense. Players have to account for weight during turns using the right stick, and while there is an option for assistance in this mechanic, it really only serves to play as training wheels. This game is built around the realistic style of racing these bikes.
This can be great for those wanting a simulation experience but it also puts a massive learning curve on the game. My first few races were spent running into barriers, or simply flying head first into the dirt. I lost, and then lost some more. It stopped being fun really quickly.
Thus becomes the conundrum of a game like this. Only hardcore fans wanting to take the time to learn the subtle nuances of the sport will find enjoyment, and I am not sure how large that audience is. Opting to completely ignore the rest of the populace makes this a game that only appeals to a tiny audience, and while I respect that, it also makes it impossible to recommend.
Visually the game looks fine and even great at times, but the frame rate on console just doesn’t suit a racing game. Combine that with some truly lackluster textures on the tracks and a lack of noticeable terrain deformation, and the game doesn’t shine in any meaningful way. The animations on the riders are atrocious at times, and launching myself off my bike looks insanely ridiculous for a game that strives for realism.
MXGP2 takes itself way too seriously in a genre that doesn’t require it in games. The realism is commendable, but also limiting to the appeal of the game. The lackluster visuals and goofy animations also stand out, and the lack of anyone playing online completely nullifies the need for that mode. This is sad because the mechanics and sheer amount of content are really impressive, and for that small audience looking for a realistic motocross simulator, this feels exactly like what they would want.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.