MXGP3 delivers the world of Motocross GP in the official videogame of the sport. Motocross is filled with speed, jumps, thrills and style so I was looking forward to getting to grips with what looked on the trailers to be an exciting addition to my games library.
MXGP3 looks excellent, the tracks are vibrant and textured and the bikes all look appropriately distinctive; it is possible to tell which manufacturer you have just overtaken (or in my case been overtaken by) based on your own knowledge. Each bike is fully customisable, not only in terms of look but also in its performance. This means that for each track and each new race you can alter your bike to your personal requirements to gain a competitive advantage; this comes in particularly useful when playing through Grand Prix mode.
Watch the MXGP3 launch trailer below:
I don’t really know what I expected in terms of sound. Being accustomed to other sports simulators I suppose I expected some form of commentary but then again this was not present in the last Formula 1 simulator I played. Though this wasn’t an issue in F1 in motocross I found myself playing with the volume turned right down due to the irritating and consistent high pitched whine of the engines. Whereas in other games you can determine when is the right time to change gear by the sound, in MXGP3 this is not necessary or possible due to the rapid need to change up through the gears; each time I had barely depressed the accelerator before it was time to change up another gear. The gear changes felt too slow when I played on semi-automatic mode and once I changed to manual I found it to be little more than an annoyance, albeit one that brought slightly more control.
The control is a fundamental issue with this game. The steering is atrocious and fundamentally ruins what was shaping up to be an enjoyable game. When you turn at speed the bike’s path barely changes but turn at too low a speed and it comes to a halt completely and turns around on the spot meaning you are either facing off the track or in the complete opposite direction. This was not just a personal issue, I also invited two friends experienced in similar games to come and try (to check I wasn’t just incompetent!) and they experienced the same issue. Whilst I expect to be challenged during gameplay I don’t want to be constantly trying to second guess the control system as it has the effect of making the player painfully aware that this is just a game. I certainly felt less invested as a result.
A further issue with the game comes down to basic physics. The crash mechanism is fundamentally flawed, I spent time leaping from slope to slope and on many occasions found myself landing on the front edge of the front wheel, despite this the bike carried on. However, during other races, a slight touch of another rider or the side of the track would send me spinning off into the side-lines. Some trees I rode past in the training area let me go literally straight through the trunk whilst others took me off the bike without warning or seemingly any contact. What we need as players is consistency. It doesn’t matter whether every knock of another player will take us off the bike as long as it is just that, every knock. MXGP3 fails on this front and becomes infuriating as you try to progress through the career mode. At times, it really did feel as though the developers had added in this inconsistency to prevent riding success at key moments and thus require the player to continue for longer than their ability necessitated.
One of the more innovative features of MXGP3 is the use of the light on the back of the PS4 controller. As you accelerate the light on the back of the controller changes colour. As it changes from aqua to red you know it’s time to change gear and serves as an indication of how hard you’re working the engine. I liked this feature but as previously mentioned the gear system is essentially pointless.
View some screenshots of MXGP3 in our gallery:
There are some good points to the game as previously discussed but ultimately it falls down as an experience because of its many flaws. Simple things like having the option of a semi-transparent mini-map of the course on display at the bottom of the screen during races is missing, even games like the original Mario Kart on SNES had that feature some 25 years ago and yet here, where timing and speed management are critical, it is absent. This makes it near impossible to work out when you should be accelerating and when you should be preparing for a hairpin.
I went into MXGP3 with a lot of hope but once the effect of the visuals and the novelty of performing jumps had worn off I was left feeling disappointment and frustration. Unless you’re a diehard motocross fan I would give this one a miss.
MXGP3 was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the publisher.
Publisher: Milestone s.r.l. Developer: Milestone s.r.l.Release Date: May 30, 2017 Reviewed On: PS4 Also On: Xbox One, PC/Steam