MXGP Pro is the latest motocross game from Milestone which is set to have players thrashing through dirt, soaring through jumps, and becoming the ultimate MXGP champion, however, the game falls flatter than a punctured tire.
Road Rash. One of if not THE greatest motorcycle racing games known to man. Picture it for a moment. Imagine your young self-sliding in the cartridge and awaiting with baited breath as it loads. It loads well. The splash screen appears. Play now. You do. And it’s great. Why this small thought exercise?
Today we live in a different world to the one which gave us Road Rash. We live in a world where games don’t have to load properly. Where graphics don’t have to render in a timely fashion. Games nowadays, frankly don’t even have to be finished at all to be raking in the dosh. Remember when games were actually finished before they were released? MXGP Pro from Milestone is yet another such unfinished, broken, janky, issue riddled title that honestly could have done with another year or so.
I was excited to see the Unreal engine at work as I smashed my dirt bike through the forest in a battle with the other riders. It’s been a long time since there was an exhilarating thrill ride of a motorbike bike game. It’s disheartening that MXGP Pro is not fit to task.
The time taken for this game to load is shocking. The game turns on. Loading screen. Followed by another loading screen. Followed by another. You wait a few seconds for the new character to load and then for the texture to load on top of that. It’s like PUBG. Getting through the menu to even have a race feels like an age. This truly skull crushing wait time is almost too much bear which makes me think the title is best suited to running on a PC.
Many of the performance issues I experienced could be down to hardware. I ran MXGP Pro on a standard PS4 Slim which, and I don’t want to let them off the hook here but I will, could be a considerable factor in many of the problems I have. However, I have been playing God of War perfectly on the Slim and that game looks glorious.
Initially, you’re offered the opportunity to make your own rider avatar and bike. Which would totally be awesome. Except it’s not because again, you’re waiting for textures to load. Nothing is smooth at all in this game and it doesn’t get better when you actually manage to race.
Physics is a real issue time and time again. One minute you’re up to fourth gear pelting it towards a jump, you take flight, you disappear bizarrely and respawn. Cracks in the game like this have been the reason I’d be in one moment 4th attacking 3rd, then 12th, dropping to 22nd. It’s infuriating and generally happens most on tracks that are harder to render, like landscapes with trees and complex shadow arrangements. I would also drop frames on a number of occasions which would result in the same slipping of position.
Bike adjustment is also pretty sparse and lazy, with very few initial modifications available. To give it some credit, it is simple and does explain well what the limited amount of options do. I’m sure that more options would open up later in the game, but in all honesty getting round a track with all it’s problems is hard enough let alone trying to navigate a full GP. Again, I must stress, the case may be different on PC.
Another real irritant is the sound design. The menu’s have a typical, unoriginal dance fuelled soundtrack, but when it comes to race, the music disappears and you’re left with the high pitched squealing of the bikes which is like tinnitus. There isn’t a consistent soundscape like you’d find in Gran Tourismo or Forza. The bikes all sound so similar they blend into one hideous ascending and descending hum. It’s like you’ve been trapped in the Go Kart qualifiers in Project Cars for days.
MXGP Pro feels like a wasted opportunity. Looks like we’re stuck with Trials Fusion for the foreseeable future.