Review: MXGP 2
If you are a fans of mud and rough terrain, going at top speed on a motorcycle, you probably already know that choices of games are quite limited nowadays. With the death of the MX vs ATV license significantly reduced titles on the market, Milestone continues to enforce its agreements with FIM (International Motorcycling Federation) and keeps on honoring the license with new games. After a rather disappointing RIDE, the Italian studio heads to the rugged tracks of the Motocross World Championship, or MXGP for the fans. The now second installment of the official license is called MXGP 2 and offers fans to be in the shoes of riders like Romain Febvre and Tim Gajser as you play on various cross championship courses. So how is this MXGP 2?
A niche sport, quite cherished by fans of the discipline, motocross game are scarce today, and MXGP 2 is almost like the last of the Mohicans in that sense. At first start, within seconds, one is reassured with a loading screen full of copyrighted licenses. Clearly, the Italian developers have made sure they get all they can in terms of official content. Aficionados will also be delighted to learn that all the drivers, all the teams and all the circuits of the Motocross World Championship are included in the game, be it the MX2 with 250cc bikes, or even the premier class: the MXGP and powerful 450cc Bikes. With all of the 2015 licenses, MGXP2 is therefore carefully modeled and delivers bikes absolutely identical to those of last season, while the drivers wear a larger than life equipment. By cons, do not expect to really see facial modeling since no faces is present in the game, and the only way to recognize your favorite player are their outfit or helmets.
Graphically speaking, MXGP 2 is powered by Milestone’s EMotion FX, an engine a little bit outdated in comparison to the big ones like Unreal Engine, yet still fits into the eighth generation console with a rather honest render. Motorcycles and drivers are well modeled, while the ground textures are a little below the norms. The real disaster happens only when one glances at the crowd on the edge of the track, or the hideous lady at the starting line (race official known as a starter) .
In terms of game modes, nothing revolutionary, with your typical classical modes and a career mode cut in parts. MXoN game mode is a fun one, straight out of the fertile imagination of Milestone, where the famous Motocross of Nations opposes trios of drivers grouped by nationality. The “Career” mode as usual will ask you to climb the ladder of the discipline as a young rookie in the starting MX2 league. You create your rider, with name, race number and nickname which will appear on the jersey, then chooses the stable of your choice and rand a sponsor that you will have to answer to in the matter of objectives. Each event brings cash based on your ranking, and sponsor objectives need to be met, and thus go crazy with buying cosmetic enhancements like a new helmet, mask, jersey, glasses and a neck guard. The range of equipment go from a wide selection of brands including Arai, Shoei, Alpinestars, Thor, UFO, Fox Racing and many others (some I never even heard of). Winning races and money also allows you to afford newer bikes in the 250cc or 450cc range with brands like Honda, KTM, Kawasaki, Husqvarna, Yamaha, Suzuki and many others. Each bike can also be customized and enhanced with all of the official accessories like Renthal handlebars, Marchesini wheels, Brembo brakes, etc. Obviously these cosmetic improvements can also boost your ride’s stats such as suspension, brakes and tires.
In the game, each race starts with a test session which helps you adjusts your bike for your needs. But on this point, few options are possible in terms of simulation, since we cannot change the suspension settings and the gear ratios. Fans of bike simulation may be disappointed on this one, but also on the feel of the bikes in general. If beginners will try with arcade easy settings, fans will probably want to go for pro steering to feel the difference in quality: Front and rear brakes are separated, adding a clutch control, as well as a more precise balancing mechanics. Overall, the behavior of the motorcycle is transcribed well when stays on the ground.
Where things go wrong is in the air, as my bike for some reason does not seem to weigh one gram. By using the right stick, which manages the weight of the driver, you can instantly place the bike as you like and thus land in very illogical areas. This aerial-on maneuverability also removes any interest to do tricks and don’t help you earn any momentum speed and no way limit the altitude taken during jumps. It should be noted also that the grip and steering feel are identical, regardless of the distance or track texture covered (Sand, mud, etc.). Races are all very similar in terms of gameplay: start ahead and stay in the top position, which is very easy once you have your improved bike, because if you keep in the back of the pack, you’ll suffer the permanent assaults of a criminal and indestructible AI that knocks you down you rolls on you without mercy. A final word to mention is that multiplayer modes have no dedicated servers, which pushed 80% of the races I try playing to be finished due to connection loss.
MXGP 2 – The Official Motocross Videogame was reviewed using a PlayStation 4 promotional copy provided by Milestone. The game is also available on Xbox One and PC via Steam. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published
• Official content galore
• Multiple game modes
• A wide range of customization for motorcycles and drivers
• The Pro steering
• indestructible and unfair AI
• That multiplayer Netcode
• Same steering feel on all surface
• Uneven graphics
• Weird aerial physics