MXGP2 is the sequel to 2014’s MXGP, titled the Official Motocross Video Game, and is developed by Milestone Games, the same people behind Sebastien Loeb Rally EVO, which we reviewed earlier this year. Instead of a rally car, you’re put in the reigns of a motocross bike and tasked with getting around a dirt course in the shortest possible time. Get on your bikes and ride!
Quick, when you think of motocross, what immediately comes to mind? Dirt bikes? Crowds? Crazy jumps? Pulse-pounding action as your face hits the ground? That last one is one you should get used to, because it’s a core part of the experience of motocross. MXGP2 plays with the riding in an interesting fashion: you’re not just required to manage to put a two-wheeled, noisy death machine around some dirt and clay, you also have to manage the distribution of the rider’s weight on the bike. This is accomplished with the two analog sticks, making this game akin to a twin-stick shooter with less pow pow boom and more va-va-vroom. And like the Rally EVO game, MXGP2 is best experienced in first-person mode.
This is obviously no arcade motocross racer, because Milestone don’t make arcade games. This is a technical racer with licensed bikes and a slew of options that theoretically make it easier for beginners to get into the game. These options are still skewed toward the semi-skilled racer and not the absolute beginner, since you’ll spend a good amount of time falling before you learn to manage the rider’s weight distribution properly and get around bends without leaving the track. Once you get going, it becomes a heck of a lot of fun to pulse around the racetrack, kicking up copious amounts of dirt into opponents’ faces.
The game’s engine still looks and feels like the one with MXGP, with the occasional tweak and oddment here and there. The graphics and textures have been polished up slightly, but not enough to win any prizes. I really must commend the first person camera, though, because the game captures almost perfectly the feel of being inside the helmet of a motocross rider. The sound suffers the same problem I had with Rally EVO: there’s not enough variety in the samples of the engine noises and it gets a bit grating after a few hours of play.
For those people who loved MXGP and just wanted more tracks, more bikes, and more faceplanting, you’ll be more than happy and at home in MXGP2. A surprising amount of the game is actually open from the start, meaning you won’t have to grind the same tracks over and over just to unlock the next bit. This means that MXGP veterans can jump straight into a lot of the new stuff without feeling hamstrung too much by a cumbersome unlock system.
Fans of the original will probably have their hands on MXGP2 already, but for those of you who are still sitting on a motorized fence, you’ll find that this is a pretty decent motocross game. It’s got a decently diverse range of tracks to race on, and if you’ve conquered the career mode, there’s still plenty left to keep you occupied for months. Exemplary? Nah. Solid? Definitely.