Revving up on a 150cc engine and pulling off sick tricks describes a day in the life of Supercross legend Jeremy McGrath. Known as the “King of Supercross” the legendary feats of McGrath solidify him as the best racer in the world. In the video game industry however his name was attached to a mediocre last generation title created by the now defunct Acclaim. Developer 2XL Games has plenty of past experiences with racing titles and are set to deliver the definitive motocross title…wait; he is driving four-wheeled race trucks now?
Based on the seven-time Supercross champion Jeremy McGrath’s new passion and adrenaline high of offroad racing, Offroad sees McGrath compete for the championship within the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Take to the tracks online with up to 8 players with fully licensed rally cars, buggies and trophy trucks at your disposal or go head to head against the champion himself in a career mode spanning over 20 races. Career mode can be completed in two hours on the normal difficulty, but will give you more trouble on the higher difficulties.
The arcade style racing game will be easily accessible for anyone to pick up and play, but has enough depth to keep players hooked. The miniscule amount of tracks only weighs in at 6, but the varying scenery and curvature of the tracks keep things feeling fresh from race to race.
Even if you aren’t placing in the top spots, you still feel like you are making progress due to the XP that can be earned throughout the race, making each and every turn a fight for not only 1st place, but for the most XP. Whipping into a fishtail at an unheard of angle and boosting your way out of it is the best way to get triple digit amounts in a single turn. Boost over a hill and overtake two other racers in the process – expect to get huge bonus points. Spin your car through some fences while trying to push another racer over a cliff and you will be rewarded; not for the attempted murder but for destroying the environment. This alleviates the problem in many racing games when you blow a race at the very last turn and get nothing for finishing 2nd or 3rd.
Any XP earned during races can be used to upgrade the stats of each of the vehicles, which helps in some of the later races and harder difficulties. However, someone needs to explain why the upgrades do not carry over if you simply change the “skin” on the same vehicle. While giving you more things to upgrade and more of a reason to keep racing, I found myself sticking to one version of each type simply because that’s where I spent my points. The upgrades transition over to the online multiplayer, allowing you take your supped up race trucks and pit them up against anyone in the world.
Trade paint with another vehicles and sparks will fly, but don’t expect MotorStormamounts of damage where you can expect pieces of metal to be thrown from vehicles or doors falling off on a hairpin turns. There is no representation of dirt or mud buildup no matter how had you spin you tries on a turn. It would have added a nice visual flair, but as it stands, the game does run at a smooth 60 fps as well as at 1080p. Not something I would expect to find in a budget downloadable title.
Dynamic obstacles pose a problem for racers, but the disappointing implementation makes it more of an annoyance than a “cool” factor. It may have been a late addition in the development cycle, but seeing over-sized, hard as stone snowballs and bales of hay bounce across the track leaves much to be desired. If developers want to add dynamic elements to a racing game they to take pages both Split Second for environmental track hazards and Ridge Racer for destructible environments.
While not as deep as most full priced titles, the addicting racing in Offroad is well worth the $10 download. 8-player multiplayer, arcade and career modes and not to mention the five vehicle classes each with a hand full of different skins fill out the return of Jeremy McGrath to the gaming world with an impressive package.
Note: The Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad review was written based on the PS3 version of the game.