MXGP3 is a motocross simulator that challenges players to race with precision and speed to become master of the track. As the third game in the series, this is the culmination of previous titles in the series, and an attempted love letter to super fans, but not one that woos all that much.
Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Platform: Xbox One, PS4, PC
MonsterVine was provided with a copy for reviewing purposes
Some of my favorite games as a young child growing up with a Playstation 2 were motocross games. MX vs. ATV Unleashed was king of my childhood motor-sport fantasies, allowing me to race, enter trick competitions, and even drive ATVs, planes, buggies, and mini bikes. I could enter a free play mode and trick/race as I saw fit, double-backflipping to one helluva soundtrack. The idea of MXGP3’s setting/premise excites me: a modern motocross game with gorgeous graphics and a more updated controls or physics. If the motocross games of 2005 held my attention as long as they had, surely this modern game would as well, right? Wrong. MXGP3 proves to be considerably less exciting than games that predate it by nearly 12 years. MXGP3 may be a “simulator” instead of an arcadey romp around ramp-laden landscapes, but it still has to be fun. In no way is it the worst game ever, and while it may not be as exciting as another form of motocross game, it is objectively not horrible.
MXGP3 takes the same racing sim structure as games like Ride 2 and what arguably popularized said structure; the Forza series. The player is given generic choices of an avatar, and a beginning sponsor, and then is thrust into a menu full of events and races that can be selected to attempt to gain XP and money for new gear. Aside from from the career mode, there’s little to do. You can set up a championship against AI, or race against other players online, but the only sort of free play mode present allows you to solo race around a compound. I was excited to see the free play compound at first because it seems like you have freedom and can leave the bounds of the race track, but I was saddened to see that leaving the track resulted in collision with an invisible wall and death, despite hills and environment beyond the track itself.
Racing in the career gets old quick due to the number of tracks, which there are roughly 20 of. They only vary in length and size, but are more or less the same; dirt tracks with the occasional small jump to give the player some air. The locations change, with tracks in different countries, but that really only changes the backgrounds and set dressing. If you can stomach the career mode and its repetitive tracks, you’ll work your way up to faster bikes and better looking gear. What separates other racing sims like Forza from MXGP3 is the sheer amount of tracks and vehicles. Forza is less likely to bore a player because it packs so much content into a single experience, and varies it in a way that is refreshing.
Customization-wise, MXGP3 delivers. There are around 75 real-life sponsors for clothing and parts, so there’s a lot to unlock. You can customize your biker pretty heavily, with just about any color and brand you can think of. The same goes for the bikes, which also allow you to tweak components like the suspension and tires for better performance. Despite the satisfying amount of customization, the career barely held my attention long enough to access all that there was to unlock, and without other game modes to keep the fun going, I saw no reason to finish unlocking/gathering sponsors. Had MXGP3 implemented some sort of trick mechanics to open up more forms of competition and events, I could see myself playing until I reached the top tier of gear. With performance customization, I barely noticed a difference in how the bikes changed, most likely due to the fact that the races all feel more or less the same, with barely any variation in track type or how you race your opponents.
Graphically, MXGP3 is neither bad, nor revolutionary. The dirt on the tracks is probably the most impressive thing to look at, as it shows rather nicely where your wheels have dug into the earth. Your rider’s jersey also flaps in the wind, which is a miniscule but enjoyable detail. Otherwise the graphics when moving look grainy and strange, and experienced some drops in frames or lag. Sonically, the bikes sound as a bike should, which is expected. Unfortunately there’s barely any music to accompany the racing, or even the menus for that matter. What little music is present is more generic and electronic repetition than anything else. Most racing/sports games nowadays have a full fledged soundtrack of songs from various artists, and it would have been a great addition if MXGP3 had even remotely attempted to implement one. A good soundtrack could’ve taken away from the repetitiveness of racing.
Despite these shortcomings, MXGP3’s controls and physics are smooth enough to enjoy long term. Handling turns and driving in general is simple enough, especially for a simulator, which usually is a little more difficult than a casual racing game. The AI is challenging enough on the medium difficulty, but can be easily beaten if the player stays on top of upgrading along with the difficulty curve of the career mode over time. Some things feel inconsistent, like bumping into something whether it be a barrier or another rider either sent you flying off your bike or had no effect at all, it seemed ultimately random.
The Final Word
MXGP3 is a game with solid mechanics and customization to hold it up at its core. It is very lacking in terms of longevity and modes of play, which takes away from its better elements. If it had implemented an actual soundtrack, and potentially more features such as tricking or free roam, then it would be a lot more fun. MXGP3 is ultimately missable due to the fact that it isn’t as exciting or content-filled as its peers. Unless you’re a die hard motocross fan, looking to simulate the trials of a real life rider monotonously, this title most likely isn’t worth your time.
– MonsterVine Review Score: 2 out of 5 – Poor