Last year, I reviewed MXGP Pro and now, MXGP 2019 has been released, so I was curious to see if developer Milestone did enough to warrant a new iteration of the motocross game franchise. Last year, MXGP Pro suffered from quite a few technical issues, including texture pop-ins and very poor AI but thankfully, Milestone fixed this issues in MXGP 2019 and added some great new things for motocross fans to get excited about.
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First thing’s first, MXGP 2019 is the most complete motocross game to date, as players have access to all the riders, teams and bikes from the 2019 MXGP and MX2 championships featuring all of the 2019’s seasons races, from Neuquen all the way to Shanghai.
This should make fans extremely happy, but I was left a bit disappointed in the fact that there is still no story mode. Then again, my experience in the championship races left me with a story of my own to tell. I went with Kawasaki and a KX250F to kick things off after creating my character.
Starting off, the game throws you into your first race on Neuquen, which is also where you learn the ropes and trust me, I have never had to concentrate that hard in any racing game. MXGP 2019 is the most challenging racing game I have ever played, but it isn’t because of poor AI (the AI is pretty good in fact) or any unfair elements.
Instead, I just had to learn how the finer details of the game work, from taking off correctly at the start of the race, to how grooves form in the muddy tracks that can hinder your ride, to how the controller feedback tells you more than you might think and much more.
[perfectpullquote align=”left” bordertop=”false” cite=”” link=”” color=”#ff4633″ class=”” size=”18″]It is the physics that make the game feel so superb[/perfectpullquote]
Across 17 Grand Prix and more mud than I could ever imagine, I slowly learned the game’s intricate mechanics. It is the physics that make the game feel superb and you can even turn on advanced physics, which makes it feel extremely realistic. Even the start of the race feels challenging to pull off correctly (earning a Holeshot) as you have to perform a few actions perfectly.
First, you have to press the clutch and put your weight on the front side of the bike. Then, accelerate to the limiter threshold and when the gates go down, let go of the clutch and go full on the gas.
When you ride around the track, it might look easy for an onlooker, but I assure you it is extremely challenging. Weight distribution plays a very important role here as the game’s physics are so realistic that one mistake will cause you to get a face full of dirt. I also realised that my controller’s vibration feedback warned me about potential plunges into the mud, which adds a great feeling of realism to the game.
Speaking of realism, the AI has been improved a lot from the last MXGP game and although the AI is not perfect, I rarely had any issues where AI just ignore you. This time around, with MXGP 2019, you have that presence on a track as the other riders take your position into account. This creates a better overall experience than I’ve seen in previous titles.
Apart from the official races and quick play options, we also have the Playground, set in French region of Provence, where you can roam freely and experiment. You can also set your own checkpoints, complete various objectives to earn rewards, for example, challenges to test your air-control skills and much more.
You can also just chill and fall off a bridge if that’s your thing. With every race and every challenge, you can level up your profile and gain more credits to buy various items and cosmetics for your character and your bike. This will keep players going for quite some time as there are hundreds of options to unlock.
MXGP 2019 is also the best-looking game in the franchise to date if you ask me, from the muddy tracks and grooves made by your opponents to the crowd in the background. At one point, I crashed into a fence and it looked like some members of the crowd reacted and I could hear them going “ooohhh”. You don’t see this type of detail in many racing games, as crowds mostly feel static.
In MXGP 2019, it is very clear from faithful recreation of the MXGP tracks to the detail surrounding those tracks that Milestone has put a lot of effort into making the game look and feel as realistic as possible. Although it is probably the best motocross game I have played so far, MXGP 2019 isn’t perfect. Music lags while in a loading screen and when there is a tonne of bikes on the screen at the same time, a few FPS drops do occur.
Further, there’s a very narrow playing field and if you move outside the track even an inch, the game resets your bike on the track. This then means that most of your opponents will overtake you and since the game is very challenging, it was nearly impossible for me to make it to the front of the pack again.
There’s also a robust track editor where you can pick from three different environments and create your own tracks to ride on and share with others. More environments and additions will become available after launch. From my experience, it was very easy to create a complete track, only taking around 30 minutes, with a tonne of jumps and turns.
The game also features multiplayer and leaderboards for modes such as Time Attack. Unfortunately, I couldn’t test these out as there was no one I could find to compete against during the review period.
MXGP 2019 is a step in the right direction for the franchise giving players a lot of options to choose from with all the bikes, riders and teams at their disposal. The game’s track editor and playground mode will keep you busy for a very long time, especially when you start playing community creations. However, during official races, the track feels too narrow and if you deviate even slightly, the game resets your bike position and it is almost impossible to make a comeback.
There are some technical issues, from a few FPS drops to the music lagging out during a loading screen. With that being said, the game does look fantastic and plays really well despite a few technical issues. Milestone has done a great job and fans of MXGP will be very happy with the game. It is a challenging experience and to become good at the game, you will have to put a lot of hours into it. As our MXGP 2019 review mentions, the game isn’t for everyone, but I certainly did enjoy the challenge even without being a fan of motocross.
This Control game review was based on a code sent to us by Milestone.
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC | Reviewed On: PS4 Pro | Release Date: 27 August 2019 | Price: R1069