Last year’s MXGP Pro impressed me somewhat.
Like the Milestone-developed MXGP games that came before it, it lacked flair and it didn’t have a great amount of content, but it felt good to play. The controls were wonderfully responsive, giving you confidence to blast around the game’s real world tracks at full pelt, and it felt buttery smooth. Or at least it did when playing on Xbox One X.
With MXGP 2019 however, the gameplay seems to have regressed. MXGP 2019‘s handling feels more erratic, and the game itself just doesn’t feel as fluid. I’m also doubtful that it actually looks any better than last year’s effort – it looks different, sure, but not necessarily better. The only thing really going for it is that it packs in additional modes that will add hours of playtime for those who do get invested in it.
The main meat of MXGP 2019 is its career mode which, believe it or not, manages to feel more barebones than previous offerings, and they weren’t exactly fleshed-out. You start in MX2, choosing to race for sponsors or teams on a weekend-by-weekend basis. Race for a sponsor and you get to buy new parts for your bike to make it your own. Race for a team and you don’t. Presumably they handle your bike for you.
Do well enough in MX2 and you can then move onto MXGP. Here you’re likely to join a team and stick with it, and the competition really heats up. You can take part in full race weekends in MX2 and MXGP or just skip to the two races. What’s disappointing is that outside of the events there’s nothing else for you to do. After Monster Energy Supercross 2 managed to make its career a bit more interesting earlier this year, it’s strange to see that MXGP 2019 doesn’t even have a rivals system.
So, MXGP 2019‘s career isn’t going to set your world on fire. It’s as basic as it can be. Even the challenges you were given for each race weekend, such as perform X amount of scrubs, have been removed. But alongside other stalwart modes – Time Attack, Grand Prix and Championship – MXGP 2019 has a couple of additions that do add a bit of excitement and longevity.
Playground mode is one of them: an open world environment in which you’re free to drive around like a maniac without any repercussions. Playground isn’t just for larking around though; there are challenges to hunt down and complete, too. Some of them, like collecting coins under a time limit, aren’t as fun as they should be because of the game’s awkward handling. Compared to standard races, however, they’re pretty entertaining.
What’s best about the Playground is that you can also create your own challenges to share online. It opens up countless opportunities for a bit of healthy competition, with you tackling other players’ creations to try and beat them while uploading yours for others to try their hand at. It’s just a shame that the environment itself is a bit drab.
The track editor from the Monster Energy Supercross series has been stolen for this year’s MXGP 2019 release, too. It allows you to create your own tracks, as simple or as complicated as you like, across a range of locations. It’s easy to use and just like in the Monster Energy Supercross games, you can upload your tracks so others can play them. Thanks to the track editor, the racing possibilities are endless in MXGP 2019.
As with past entries, MXGP 2019 is pretty accessible to all. It has a range of assists to keep you on your bike and track if you need them, and a range of difficulties for its AI competition. The handy rewind feature also makes a return, though the rewards are greater if you don’t use it. When you’re adept at MXGP 2019, turn off all the assists, crack the AI difficulty up and switch the physics over to advanced and you’re in for a tough time.
MXGP 2019 isn’t a bad game by any stretch of the imagination. But it is a disappointing one. Booting it up, the beautifully revamped menus give you hope that Milestone went all-out to make this year’s entry in its MXGP series the best. As soon as you get into your first race, however, you realise that it’s not. It has more modes that do indeed add plenty of longevity, but the core experience has taken a step back. And the career mode is frustratingly basic. If you’re an ardent MXGP fan you’re sure to get some fun out of it, but MXGP Pro and Monster Energy Supercross 2 are both better games if you want to race around in mud on two wheels.
MXGP 2019 is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version.
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