When I was a much younger man, with hair that wasn’t so grey and a body that didn’t ache daily, I was madly keen on motorbikes. As a young teen, I had my first race bike, a 2 stroke, air cooled, 1987 Yamaha YZ80. Following in my older brother’s footsteps, I raced at our local club in the Goulburn Valley. I loved the feeling of racing, the smell of the 2 strokes, the churning of the mud, the competitiveness. It was exhilarating. Many games have been developed with quite faithful resemblance to the sport, however many have an arcade racer type feel. The MXGP series is for those who prefer a simulation than an arcade type racer.
Milestone have been making motor cycle games since the dawn of sliced bread and it definitely shows. The handling of the bikes here is spot on. The default settings sit between simulation and arcade giving new comers the perfect balance of high speed thrills, with the need for a reasonable amount of control required. Change to full simulation however and the control raises to an extremely high level.
Motocross requires the combination of brake and clutch control, with balancing your weight shift to achieve fast lap times. Corner handling and acceleration are a must to achieve success. Milestone provide buttons for each brake, clutch and accelerator and the ability to shift rider weight viz the right analogue stick. Beginners will most likely come to grasps with the utilising of each brake, and also acceleration. This can give competitive results. However, the longer you ride, and the more accustomed to weight shifting and clutch use that you become, the greater your results.
There are the usual modes on offer for racing fans. Single player consists of Career, Grand Prix, Championship, Time Attack, Compound and Monster Energy FIM MXoN. Most of these modes are self-explanatory by title, Compound however is an area made of conjoining tracks on which you can test out your bikes and tweak your setting to make your ride feel perfect for your style. Monster Energy FIM MXoN is a series in which you ride for your country in a team for an over-all points competition. Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi Oi Oi!!!
There is a huge amount of real life tracks, 18 in total, that all vary hugely with different terrain and require different approaches. Weather is also variable, racing in the rain or on wet tracks is extremely fun. The ai is excellent with opposition riders not afraid to leave racing lines to make a more unpredictable style of racing than we usually see in the genre.
MXGP 3 is overall a well-presented game. The bikes all look great as do the riders. The weather effects look excellent, with dust raising on clear sunny days and mud being slung from wet tracks. The terrain all looks good, the only place where things look a little below par are with the crowds. There are enough people there, the just look average, not that it really matters as your either flying past them, jostling for track position or focusing on your control through corners.
The sound is good, two stroke bikes sound high pitched and tinny and the four strokes have a nice growl to them. The crowd is quite active, especially on the last lap and yelling and cheering can be heard which is a great effect.
MXGP 3 features a multiplayer mode which I thought was impossible to play at first. There is an option for quick game which seemingly fails to find a lobby. Go to search however and there is usually a hand full of games awaiting participants.
Up to twelve players can contest here, and it runs really well. I have quite possibly the worst net service in Australia yet I am able to join matches and race without lag during peak hours, halleluiah! Winning one of these races gives great satisfaction as racing human opposition is extremely unpredictable.
MXGP 3 is a great addition to not only any bike fans collection but to any racing fans library of games. It offers a healthy challenge yet delivers hugely on fun factor. I’m not sure I will ever get tired of churning through the dirt on my bike. The only issue I would have is the crowd representation and I’d love to see something fresher in the game modes.
The version reviewed here was the PlayStation 4 version.