MXGP series has seen some ups and downs recently with the last game being a rather forgetful experience. This hasn’t stopped the developer Milestone from releasing a brand new entry again this year, even though they have already released a Motocross game earlier this year. One might expect them to rehash certain elements for their next game but thankfully this isn’t the case with MXGP Pro and it is actually a well-made dirt bike simulator with some gorgeous visuals.
MXGP Pro is more of a dirt bike racer simulator than it is a full arcade racing experience. The game design revolves around having a deeper understanding of each track and lets you customize and tweak a dirt bike so that it meets your specifications. If you are aiming to play it simply as a casual friendly game, this is not going to work out well for you. Regardless, I think this is easily the best MXGP game released so far, which was good to see after being disappointed by MotoGP 18.
As soon as you start the game, you will be given the choice to attempt a tutorial. This is actually a good way to learn most of the controls and mechanics of the game so it is highly recommended to attempt it first before starting the game. The tutorial will teach you almost every major gameplay feature so it is essential for those who have never played a Motocross game. Even if you know the essentials, this is still a good way to get to know the gameplay better.
MXGP games are hardly known for their visuals but with the latest release, Milestone appears to have improved them drastically now and the game is prettier to look at compared to its predecessor. The mud actually reacts to the dirt bike and the track gets deformed depending on your actions during the race. The draw distance, vegetation, and lighting solution all look great now and offer you a much clear view of the race track.
There are many subtle and some in-depth tweaks made to the game’s engine that has fleshed out the experience. Physics are vastly improved with the game offering you the choice of either picking a more standard physics option or going for the realistic approach, which is far more challenging. This is not to say that the default physics doesn’t provide any difficulty, but it offers more leeway for you if you miss critical turns.
Not only do you have to take in mind the difficult turns for each track, you also have to make sure that your rider remains stable on the bike. It will take some time to grasp the basics so don’t be disheartened if you fail a lot at the start. If all else fails and you end up making a dumb mistake that puts you behind the other racers, there is always the useful rewind button that is used to go back in time to the moment when you made the mistake. It can also feel like cheating but as long as the developers allow it, I don’t see anything wrong with abusing it.
While there are a lot of good improvements for this year, the one thing that remains disappointing is the lack of new content. You don’t really get much to experiment and this is a shame because the engine used here is quite promising. There is the traditional career mode where you make your way through the MX2 and MXGP bike categories. You can create a custom character here and upgrade bikes through sponsorships. There is also an extreme version of the Career mode that is for the experienced fans only. It imposes a lot more restrictions resulting in a challenging experience. There is no rewind function and the difficulty of the AI gets increased in this mode so this is best suited for the perfectionists.
Career mode aside, there is the time attack, GP, and Championship mode which offer the same content as any other Motocross game. It was disappointing to find out that the open area that is also used for the tutorial and features two dirt tracks, is hardly used for anything meaningful later. Basically, once you clear the introduction, there is no incentive to visit it unless you like messing around on a bike with nothing important to do.
I have already praised the visuals but speaking purely of the performance, it seemed to play decently on the PS4 Pro. The issue that I noticed sometimes was the slow texture streaming that could result in blurry textures when loading a new track. The bigger issue is the load time and each time you start a race, the load time is painful to sit through, but if you have played any of the past games by Milestone, this is another recurring problem that seems to plague their games.
MXGP Pro Review (PS4)
Game Reviewed on: PS4
Game description: Adjust your bike's configuration like a mechanic and win a race with the new Pro Physics. Practice in the Compound, a vast area where you can freely explore or compete against the AI. All the official tracks and riders from the 2017 season await you!
MXGP Pro is an enjoyable dirt bike racing game that is a good step forward. It can serve as a solid stepping stone for the developer if they can keep the gameplay quality intact but focus on improving and adding new content that complements it.