MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame (PlayStation 5) Review

By Josh Di Falco 22.09.2021

Review for MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 5

Another year, and Motocross is back for another season, with MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame riding onto the PlayStation 5. Despite a disrupted 2020 season for the obvious reason, Milestone has brought the goods on this year's digital iteration of Season 2020, with a few modes that are worth deep-diving into, and a bevy of options to play with. With Ride 4 and the MotoGP series, Milestone has solidified itself as the developer of quality two-wheeled experiences. With 17 tracks from the official season, and some new features that have been realised due to the PS5, time to jump into the review to see whether MXGP 2020 is worth the big upgrade, and where some of the improvements have gone into.

Kicking off the new year, MXGP 2020 throws riders straight into the mix with the first race of the Career mode. While this is supposed to serve as a tutorial, it does do a poor job at actually teaching newcomers how to ride a bike. Chances are, the majority who buy this title are already going to be quite familiar with motocross racing, and how these vehicles should handle, but it still doesn't do a whole lot to teach newbies the ways of motocross. For example, it does provide the basic controls on how to steer left or right, as well as how to position the rider's body… however there is no explanation given as to how or why the rider's body-positioning is important on the bike. In addition, there are some other cool bike tricks that the AI opponents are quite keen to pull off - yet, trying to figure out how to do that does create a vast and annoying learning curve.

In terms of the gameplay, MXGP 2020 feels every bit like the sport that it's trying to emulate. Thanks to the PlayStation 5's haptic feedback, the controller rumbles from the moment the event starts, right through to the end of the race. Beginning with the low rumbles from the stationary bike at the start of the race, to the heavier rumbles every time the bike hits a pothole, bumps into the other riders or lands heavily after a big jump. While the default settings are switched to the highest rumbles, adjustments can be made in the options to reduce the vibrations if hands begin to tire after the second or third race. Moving from the PS4, MXGP 2020 has made great use of the new haptic feedback to increase the immersion - it's one thing to pretend to be in the race, however the PS5 allows the ability to actually live the race.

Screenshot for MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 5

While the controls seem to be similar to last year's iteration, the movements of the bike feel a lot more fluid. There is more to motocross than merely keeping the bike on the road and going fast, such as slowing down into corners, or speeding up out of them, while also shifting the body weight of the rider while climbing up ramps, as well learning how to effectively land a jump for that quick spurt of speed. Like any game, learning these things come with practise, however MXGP 2020 needed to have a better tutorial in place to at least teach newcomers some of these intricacies. The first race, on 'Very Easy' mode proved not to be as easy as it seemed, with a 6th placed finish. However, after a couple of races and making some money to upgrade the bike, the first-place finishes started piling in, which basically meant it was time to up the difficulty. You can choose between doing the quick races, or going for a full real-life sim with the qualifying races and the Grand Prix events.

After the first race is done and dusted, then the rest of the modes can be accessed. Career Mode is the main one here, and similarly to last year's title, there isn't a lot here to keep things engaging. Each of the 17 tracks are raced in the order of events that the real-life season had planned - and then there's just races broken up by loading screens. Considering other sports titles have begun to dig into a deep and immersive career mode with various things like building an R&D department, or giving press conferences, or answering interview questions to build up rivalries, MXGP 2020 is just bare and empty. These riders are racing each other as lifeless shells, and there isn't much that holds the career mode together. Even the bike upgrades and cosmetical updates are kept to the bare minimum - with only a handful of stats, there isn't anything deep or meaningful in these stats unlike what it found in other recent racers.

Screenshot for MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 5

Like most other racers out there, the rewind feature is back - and it's a useful tool that can help to teach newcomers how to become a better rider. While most purists will probably shun the idea of rewinding an accident to have another crack at that next corner, rewinding up to 30 seconds back to fix an error is a lot less infuriating than forcing someone to restart the entire race. Of course, for those who would prefer not to use the rewind feature to raise the stakes, then this feature can just be ignored. As riders get better at learning the tracks, and how to effectively navigate the course, then completing races without using the rewind feature will grant bonus experience points at the end of each race.

However, Career mode won't be where the crux of this experience will lie. Playground mode and Track Editors will provide plenty of more meaningful experiences, thanks in part to their connection to the online servers. Returning from last year, Playground mode expands the "playground" where riders can experience an open-world-like area to ride around, while also completing objectives and missions. While it's not a full-blown experience like Forza Horizon, this is still a fun little side area, where other riders online can also create various waypoints and time-trials for others to try and beat, all in the name of online bragging points. The area itself is quite large to muck around in, however it would've been great if Milestone had added a few different types of activities as well, rather than the usual speed traps, or waypoint missions.

Screenshot for MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 5

Track Editor is the other main mode, which does exactly what it says. For those who intend on exercising their creative flair, then plenty of hours can be spent here creating tracks to upload online for other riders around the world to attempt. Of course, even if creating tracks doesn't sound like fun, downloading the various tracks by other creators is a lot of fun - and some of the tracks that have been created are actually quite good. This is a great way to extend the longevity of MXGP 2020, especially as the 17 main-season tracks can begin to run dry after completing a couple of seasons of Career mode. Having modes like Track Editor and Playground that allows for riders to get creative with designing new challenges is a great idea, and already, at the time of this review, there are a bunch of creators already who have managed to put these modes to good use with a bevy of options.

The visuals are quite nice, though it's not a huge leap from the previous generation of consoles. Seeing the dirt particles kick up during the day races, or the wet tracks and splashes during the rainy evenings - the visual treat on show here is delightful to look at, while the frame rate also looks quite slick. Even the spectators, which generally are relocated to 2D cardboard cut-outs, actually look quite alive in MXGP 2020, though there is still a way to go for these audiences to look a little bit more alive. However, where the true power of the PS5 is showcased is with the much quicker loading screens. Anyone who played MXGP 2019 may remember how long the loading screens were, whether it was in between races in Career mode, or when loading up various challenges in Playground. Last year's Playground Mode was such a bore due to the extremely long loading times, especially because the loading screens would split up the time to load the tracks that were already within the same mode.

Screenshot for MXGP 2020 - The Official Motocross Videogame on PlayStation 5

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

MXGP 2020 is an improvement over the previous title - however, don't expect a leaps-and-bounds, next-generational jump. While this is hardly a spectacular next-gen overhaul, the building blocks are all lined up for an even more impressive iteration in the years to come. Career Mode still seems quite lacking, as bike customisations and sponsor benefits are minimal, and the experience points earned to rank up don't amount to anything. On the other hand, Playground Mode and Track Editor open up avenues for much more excitement and enjoyment, especially as the online community continues to produce more advanced and elaborate tracks.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Sport

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

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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