One of the biggest issues I’ve had over the last couple of years is the lack of good motorbike racing and motocross video games. The games that did come out often seemed undercooked, or the developers focused too much on realism, forgetting that the games are in essence supposed to be fun
Milestone Srl has been making motorcycle games for some time now, showing there’s definitely passion amongst the people making it, but their video games always seemed to be lacking something. That is not the case with MXGP 2019: The Official Motocross Videogame, which finally seems to get everything right. Well, almost everything.
If it ain’t broke…
MXGP Pro was a pretty solid game, but it had some shortcomings such as texture issues, as well as frame rate drops which are a bit of a no-no when it comes to racing games. There were a few things Milestone needed to do to make it a really great motocross racing sim, and with MXGP 2019, they did exactly that.
For a start, the UI is much cleaner and easier to navigate. You know exactly where you are and what you’re going to, which is a definite quality of life improvement. When it comes to the actual racing though, the differences are pretty clear. The games runs incredibly smoothly, and things like texture pop-in or clipping is completely gone. The game has some impressive draw distances, and even the crowds and scenery around the tracks look a lot better. The visuals still look incredibly good, especially the wet weather with water pooling up on the track. The way the tracks chop up as you continue the laps are also quite remarkable, and the fact that the bike reacts to that surface should be commended.
MXGP 2019 isn’t the easiest game to play, but thankfully you can make it as easy, or challenging as you prefer. The game starts you out on easy, which made the game incredibly boring for me without realising it, but after tweaking things a bit, I found the perfect balance which made races a lot more exciting and entertaining.
The usual modes are available: a career mode, where you can create your own racer and set out for Motocross greatness by competing on the 18 official MXGP tracks in the MX2 and later MXGP championships. You level up your Prestige as you go along, with a higher prestige allowing you better and more lucrative sponsors, which in turn allows you to purchase new gear and upgrade your bike.
You also get to create your own Grand Prix or championships in Quick Mode, and you still have a Playground where you can go mess around an hone your skills. In the Playground you also have the ability to put down waypoints, with which you can challenge other online players by posting a time, and having them to try and beat it. It goes without saying that you can try out some of the weird and sometimes downright absurd routes that others have challenged you with.
Still not perfect, but we’re getting there
Playing Online is still a bit of a hit or miss. You find games easily enough, but I did have some issues with staying connected, which leads me to believe it could be the host leaving and kicking everyone out or just some gremlins in the net code. That said, when it did work, it worked pretty well, and racing against others has been quite enjoyable.
One new feature in MXGP 2019 is the inclusion of a track editor. Unfortunately, this is probably the weakest part of the game, as it is very basic and incredibly cumbersome to use. It essentially gives a flat surface, with the ability to plot out the course with the required turns, jumps and so on. It’s nothing near what should be expected from a modern level editor, which usually allow a certain level of freedom in forming the terrain, and are usually based in-game.
MXGP 2019 is arguably the best motocross game made in a very long time, and it is clear that Milestone Srl is taking notes and learning as they go along. At this point, making minor improvements and just making the overall experience better is what they should focus on, and it is paying off. These games are becoming serious contenders and that could be starting to get people’s attention.
It is fun to play and there’s a lot of content to be enjoyed for both fans and newcomers. There is still a lot of room for improvement, especially with the lacklustre track editor that felt a bit like a last-minute rush job. But if that can be ignored, we can finally say we have a worthy and great motocross video game on our hands.