MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame (PlayStation 4) Review

By Josh Di Falco 30.10.2019

Review for MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 4

Italian developer Milestone srl is no stranger to the racing industry. For many years it has created quality video game products that cover two different types of riding licenses. This year's MotoGP 19 caters to the audience who loves the on-track racing, whereas the latest MXGP 2019 takes the riders off-road into the grimy dirt tracks of the world. Create a rider and a take on licensed motocross riders over the 18-track season, get a sponsor or join a team to build up finances to make upgrades to the bike, train in the 'playground' to become comfortable with the chosen bike, and take the race online against other professional riders across the globe to be the king of the dirt.

The biggest mechanical difference between MXGP 2019 and the MotoGP series is that the bikes in this dirt-track racer are much more easier to learn and get accustomed to. While MotoGP has long been about the realism and digital simulation of controlling the real bikes, this motocross iteration instead handles the control of the bikes better for newcomers. The bike movements are still rough due to the dirt tracks - however it feels closer to controlling the cars in DiRT 4 than Milestone srl's other main bike series.

There are options in the settings to make the bike controls much more fluid and harder to control for those who seek a more realistic approach to riding dirt bikes. With many sliders and adjusters in the options customisations, there is plenty to work with for those who are inclined to play around with the bike settings until they feel most comfortable with the controls and movement. While there isn't a good tutorial to explain on what everything does, the best way to figure it out is to simply adjust sliders, play the game and continue adjusting to see what is being tweaked. Of course, this only applies to those who aren't as experienced with the technical jargons behind a dirt bike. For those who know dirt bikes like the back of their hand, these features are probably akin to being in a candy store with options aplenty.

Screenshot for MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 4

The details in the locations and the environments surrounding the tracks, along with the crowd sounds that play out, actually help make MXGP 2019 believable. Too often in such titles, races feel like they are playing out in an empty stadium - but here, the crowd cheers as the bikers rush past their stands, thus making the world feel alive, and the stands don't feel like they are empty. Combined with the fiery flames that erupt when riders drive through the finish gates, and the slow-motion camera, Milestone srl has put together bombastic finishes that perfectly encapsulate the thrill of the race that precludes it. Despite these details, the graphics can sometimes play up such as grass strands disappearing mid-race, or visuals breaking when rewinding the play.

When it comes to bike-racing in video games, the crash animations are brutal - riders get tossed from bikes, or face-plant into signboards. The impact is felt with each crash thanks to these animations - whereas other bike-riding games tend to just 'skip' the crash and reset the bike in the middle of the racetrack. MXGP 2019 still has that 'soft reset' - and sometimes it can be too quick to pull the trigger. Generally, when a bike goes off-course, there is a five-second timer to get the back on track without cutting the track. However, sometimes this will forego the five-second timer and simply 'reset' the bike in the middle of the track, despite not clipping into anything off-track or going that deep off it.

...But this is a mild complaint, as there is a handy 'rewind' feature that allows riders to rewind the play up to 30 seconds, to straighten up for the next attempt at making that turn without skyrocketing off the track. Even better is that the rewind feature has no limit; riders can use it as often as possible, without incurring any penalties. If used properly, the rewind feature can be used to get better educated with using the bike controls and learning how to approach corners and turns better, as well as being a handy tool to right the wrongs mid-race and win the race. For those who despise these sorts of tools that help beginners or newcomers, there is the option to turn it off for offline play for a proper real-life simulation - as well as for online play where mistakes do matter and can have crucial and devastating consequences.

Screenshot for MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 4

The main mode of MXGP 2019 is the season mode - however it appears to be a lacklustre attempt to put riders through the 18-track season. After creating a rider, there are two main choices to make: sign up with a sponsor, or join a team. However, the benefits of getting a sponsor, far outweighs the point of there even being a team option. With a sponsor, riders are sacrificing a bit of kit real-estate in exchange for having the freedom to customise their motorbikes in any and every way possible. Customisation options can be purely cosmetic for looks or it can be upgrades to improve on-field performance. Either way, these customisations are completely locked out if a rider joins a team - as they are stuck with the team-fitted bikes. While this may be realistic to the sport, for a game mechanic it does render the 'team' option a bit redundant as there is no benefit for joining a team over getting a sponsor. Even the different level-tiered options between the two choices reward the rider with the same money on each tier - so it's a head scratcher why anyone wouldn't choose a sponsor.

The customisation options are many - there are heaps of options for those who are inclined to getting into the gritty underbelly of bike upgrades. For those who may not know what all of these parts do, this does a simple job of showcasing the attributes that will increase upon buying certain parts, so it is pretty clear cut and doesn't require all too much technical knowledge to make improvements. Unfortunately, the customisation options are way too expensive - as it can be a real grind to earn enough in-game currency to purchase one part. Either they are priced too high or the season mode gives little money. The season mode lacks a bit of KPI's or mission objectives for the season that may have provided opportunities for riders to earn extra money.

Screenshot for MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 4

Outside of season mode, there is a 'playground' to race around in. This mode is basically a mini-open world riding game, with special tasks and race events that can commence from certain waypoints scattered across the map. Riders can also create their own waypoints to upload online for other riders to try and attempt. Waypoints are effectively 'gates' that riders must pass through in sequence in the fastest time. This is similar to the 'rings' found in the speedway levels of the Spyro the Dragon series. It's easy to create waypoint sequences, and it's easy to jump into uploaded waypoint sequences as well, with the entire process being as seamless and non-confusing as possible.

There is an online mode to race other riders from around the world. However, trying to start a new race when players are constantly joining and leaving the game group before the race begins, is a frustrating affair, as the race won't start until everyone has picked out their racers. During the review, one session took 20 minutes to start from the loading screen because online players would 'hang' or 'stall' before opting out of the session. The online component does need a better way to sort this out so that those who are serious about racing can get into it without having these hurdles in the way.

It is worth noting that there are lengthy loading screens in MXGP 2019. While a one-off loading screen here or there wouldn't be something worth noting, here there is loading screens for everything. Switching between races has loading screens which is fair enough, but especially in the 'playground,' loading up new waypoints in the exact same map requires reloading the entire world again. Then, quitting out of the waypoint mode to return to the 'playground' hub requires yet another loading screen - then driving to a special 'trial' to partake in requires another load screen yet again. All of this while being in the same map. Online loading screens can be longer as well, so be prepared to be patient.

Screenshot for MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

MXGP 2019 delivers on the thrills and joys of riding off-road bikes on the dirt tracks. Making this entry even more recommendable is that it does a great job of easing newcomers into it - while making the controls and bike movements not too similar to the cars found in other rally-type games. However, the season mode leaves a lot to be desired as it is just a series of quick-matches tied together without any sense of developing a "team" off-field, or having any reason for there being a team mode apart from having a team-based skin for the bike. The online portions suffer from a lot of stalling from online players and there doesn't seem to be a way for the system to move forward without affecting all the players who are waiting, and this is made more infuriating with the lengthy load screens that can sometimes be experienced in sequence when online games go bad and throw riders back to the lobby. Overall, MXGP 2019 is a fun experience during the thrill of the race. However, unless riders are long-time fans who are dedicated to continue playing this until the 2020 version comes out, anybody else may not find the patience to stick with this for the long-term.

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 Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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