Reviews PlayStation

MXGP Pro Review – Muddy Puddles of Joy

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Just like an episode of Peppa Pig entitled Muddy Puddles, there is some joy to be had in MXGP Pro. I’ve not really into motorcycle games in general and honestly, TT Isle of Man definitely put me off even more. Let’s face it, games like MXGP Pro are generally for those who love the sport and no one else, especially when it’s a simulation experience.

However, to my surprise, I found MXGP Pro to be a lot of fun to play. It is the best motocross game I have played so far and Milestone seems to have learned from Gravel in some ways as well as from Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Video Game. Yes, Milestone has now pushed out two motocross games this year so far.

MXGP Pro does have quite a few issues left still, but it was the challenge and detail the game provides that really got its hooks into me. The game has the standard career mode where you can create your own racer and compete in events, build up rivalries, get more sponsors and upgrade both your equipment and your motorcycle to your heart’s desire. Yes, I went with pink handlebars, don’t judge me.

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The career mode has MXGP and MX2 riders, official sponsors, motorcycle brands and most impressive, real-life tracks have been created in the game and they look great. These tracks are based on the 2017 layouts of bumps, corners and those awesome jumps. The virtual recreations of real-life riders even taunted me on the game’s social media system as I tried to progress, which was difficult, to say the least. Before I managed to get to the career mode and enjoy that, I had to go through a training session and learn about all the finer details which make up the gameplay.

You see, MXGP Pro is a difficult-to-master simulation experience that really doesn’t pull any punches. Thankfully, the tutorial is quite good this time around and helps you get to terms with everything, from weight distribution to balancing yourself in the air and hitting those all-important landings. It is so much to take in, in fact, that I had to go back to some training before continuing on in the career mode after only a few races.

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I learned about things like “scrubbing” in the air, by, for example, moving the bike to the left in the air while putting my weight on the righthand side. The mechanic behind this is that you “scrub” off some speed and moving your bike in the air so you can land faster and lose less time against your opponents because less time with your wheels on the ground means precious seconds lost.  

This all takes a lot of time to get used to, but at least the results of learning all these mechanics pay off in the end. The game also has a free roam area called the Compound and it is kind of like your home base, where you can ride around wherever you please and go off the tracks. You can also head to your trailer and customize your bike and your character. It is an impressive area that showcases what the game can look like in an open environment.

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The Compound is also a good practice ground for you to do whatever you please and just enjoy riding, which was where I took my training before jumping into the career mode again and unlocking some cool things. Speaking of unlocking things, I am happy to report that the game does not have loot boxes or microtransactions, as you early MX Points just from completing races. With these points, you can purchase a variety of 2-stroke and 4-stroke motorcycles, or gear for your character. No real money things here, you get rewarded with points by completing races.

The game’s physics are fantastic too and you can see there was a lot of work put into it to make it feel as realistic as possible, especially if you choose the separate, “Extreme Career” mode, which takes away the game’s rewind function and is, for the lack of a better term, extremely challenging. This mode made my palms sweaty around every corner, every jump and even every little bump in the road.

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Even when in the normal career mode, the game has some great physics as well, as tracks get more slippery and when a dozen motorcycles have gone around a track a few times, new obstacles in the form of deep grooves in the mud start to form which you also have to watch out for.

Graphically, the game does look great and the mud looks absolutely fantastic. However, this does come at a price, as I experienced quite a few frame-rate drops on my PS4 Pro, especially at the start of a race. The UI is also quite clunky as the menu was lagging a bit and there is a delay in response while selecting an option. Even worse, after a long loading time, I still experienced texture pop-ins during character creation or just while going into the loading screen of my character.

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Thanks to some decent HDR support, the game does look bright and beautiful at times as it seems Milestone has a good grip on the Unreal Engine 4 now and has pushed the game to its limits. There were times where I forgot to “scrub” in the air just because of the beauty of the sunlight shining through, which is always a good sign about a game’s graphics.

So, the game looks great and it is quite fun and challenging to play against AI, but what about multiplayer? That’s one thing I cannot tell you, unfortunately, as there was something truly weird going on. The multiplayer simply doesn’t seem to be working properly at all, as when I choose the Quick Match option, it at first looked like I found a match after some waiting.

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I was just thrown into a spectator mode and the only thing I could see where riders (probably AI by the looks of it) having a good old time in a race. There was just no way for me to actually get into a multiplayer race, which is a bit concerning. Maybe there just weren’t enough players searching for a match just yet.

The Verdict

MXGP Pro is a very realistic and challenging motocross experience that I never thought I would enjoy playing as much as I did. The challenge and the realistic physics really helped push the game beyond what I have seen from motocross titles in the past and Milestone has done a good job with it.

However, the game is not without its flaws, with slow loading times, multiplayer I just couldn’t get to work properly, a clunky UI and frame-rate drops. For those who want a challenging and realistic motocross experience, MXGP Pro might just be your best bet, but the game is definitely not for everyone, especially for those who prefer an arcade racing experience.

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This review was based on a review code sent to us by Milestone

Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 29 June 2018 | RRPR1069  

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