MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame (Xbox One) Review

By Gabriel Jones 06.06.2017

Review for MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame on Xbox One

It's 1:00 pm on a Saturday. The torrential rain hasn't let up, and now the track has become an almost unnavigable pile of mud. These are the perfect conditions for a race. At the starting grid is Gregory "Ratbat" Stokes. Originally an unknown in the world of Motocross, he quickly established himself amongst the elite racers, thanks to his brilliant driving and remarkable boldness. The gates come down, and the roar of 22 engines in unison shakes the earth. The biggest race of the season is now underway.

The appeal of MXGP3 isn't limited to those who know about "holeshots" and "scrubbing" their jumps. It doesn't even matter if the only Motocross videogame you're familiar with is Excitebike. This title captures the right balance between in-depth simulator and thrilling arcade-style racing. With 18 tracks, a full career mode, and a slew of customizable motorbikes, there's no shortage of content either. The best of the best can also prove themselves via online races and leaderboards.

Becoming a professional Motocross racer isn't just a matter of knowing how to accelerate and steer. The dirt-filled tracks prey upon the impatient, devastate show-offs, and punish anyone who doesn't pay attention. When approached incorrectly, the slightest bank or the most innocuous-looking line in the ground can lead to a costly accident. While a crash in this game won't result in a totalled bike or an ambulance ride, losing a close race can still hurt pretty badly. Therefore, respecting the road is the first step towards success.

Screenshot for MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame on Xbox One

Secondly, there's no shame in taking advantage of the training wheels that MXGP3 provides. Before every race, the player is allowed to make the event as easy or difficult, and as simple or complex, as they like. Not only is the skill level of the AI opponents adjustable, but a host of other parameters can be changed. The physics setting adjusts how the rider reacts to the constant changes in elevation. Motocross tracks consist of many bumps and hills, and a lot of time will be spent in the air. Automating the physics causes the rider to always land perfectly, so that very little speed is lost. Joint brakes ensures that both the front and rear brakes are adequately applied when the need arises. There's also a rewind feature, for when terrible accidents need to be undone. When the player is ready to trade comfort for control, these settings can be turned off.

Third and perhaps most importantly, the road is always changing. Each race consists of multiple laps, and since the tracks are composed entirely of dirt or sand, they will deform. Racers have to make slight adjustments in every subsequent lap in order to maintain the lead. This is especially important when racing in adverse weather. Mud severely impacts stability, especially when cornering. Properly managing the brakes and knowing when to ease off the throttle are essential. Heading into a turn too quickly might not always result in an accident, but it can cause the player to overcompensate through excessive braking, thus giving their opponents a chance to pass them.

Screenshot for MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame on Xbox One

There are a couple of other techniques that might help players win. When at the starting grid, press the clutch, shift the racer's weight forward, and keep the accelerator just below the threshold. When the gates come down, release the clutch and turn the throttle as hard as possible. It takes proper timing, but it gives the player a quick boost and a chance to get out in front of the pack. Also, catching major air time might look cool, but it wastes precious seconds. Therefore, it's a good idea to scrub jumps. This is done by shifting the rider and the bike horizontally. A flatter profile lowers the rider's trajectory, so they spend less time in the air.

A sizable portion of the game is liable to be spent in the career mode. It's here where players can create their racing alter ego, sign with professional teams, or start their own. Depending on their success in the numerous Grand Prix events, they'll attract the attention of sponsors. Sponsors offer hefty pay-outs to top performers, and will drop anyone that fails to deliver results. One of the benefits of creating a team is that it allows for players to customize their own personal bike. In any case, the racer's abilities will increase as they progress, much like an RPG. In between events, the player can also opt to spend some time in the compound. This is basically a practice track, which is good for testing the motorbike's gear ratio and suspension settings, or getting an idea of how to handle basic turns and jumps.

The other notable feature is the championship mode. Players can design their own Gran Prix, using all of the available tracks. They can also decide on whether or not to use their alter ego, or one of the many official racers from the 2016 season. To add to this, the dirt bikes are organized into two different classes: the 450 cc 4-stroke and 250 cc 2-stroke. 2-strokes are lighter, more demanding rides while 4-strokes are heavier yet smoother. Basically, it all comes down to preference. Both classes have their own events, so don't expect to see any "450 vs 250" races or similar nonsense.

Screenshot for MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame on Xbox One

The handling of the bikes and how they feel on the track is great. The sensation of accurately making a difficult turn is really nice, and it's easy to appreciate the subtleties. Players can expect to notice the slightest differences from one lap to the next, and adjusting to consistently remain competitive is a very rich and fulfilling experience. Multiple styles of play are encouraged, and there aren't any penalties for playing aggressively. Yes, this does mean that accidents can be caused. While it's probably not fair, it is legal, so don't be afraid to play dirty.

This otherwise quite good game unfortunately suffers on the technical end. It takes close to a minute and a half to load a single race, which can add up after a while. The frame rate usually maintains a relatively steady 30 FPS, but some tracks cause severe dips. There are even times where everything seems to be moving in slow motion, and it's just awful to behold. For reasons unknown, the frame rate can also tank while viewing motorbikes in the garage. The music is pretty lousy, and the presentation could have used a little more work. Custom racers have a very bland and somewhat creepy portrait in the season mode's main menu. Jerseys are limited to six characters, so players might have to make up nonsensical nicknames, like… Ratbat.

Screenshot for MXGP3: The Official Motocross Videogame on Xbox One

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

MXGP3 is a very nice racing title. There's plenty of content, but the best part is easily the fantastic handling. The physics are superb and have a nice sense of weight to them. The deformation and weather effects add the right amount of depth to keep each race interesting. There's also a bevy of options that make the racing approachable for any skill level. However, the mediocre to poor frame rate and long load times really weigh everything down. There are some nit-picks, but anyone willing to look past those, as well as the other issues, will find an enjoyable Motocross game.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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