MXGP 2021 Review | TheXboxHub
Milestone Srl is part of an unusual breed of developers; a small Italian studio that has been developing (mostly) racing titles since the mid-90s, over the years they have managed to grab official World Rally Championship, MotoGP, MXGP licenses and have even been entered into create the official game of Ducati 90and birthday. It is therefore safe to say that they have a certain influence in the world of motorsport; so why aren’t they as well known as Codemasters or Playground Games? Diving into the latest version of their Motocross World Championship game series might provide some answers to that question – but it also raises a few new ones.
MXGP 2021 once again takes players on a journey through the international world of dirt bike racing; with all eighteen official tracks from the 2021 MXGP series plus four classic tracks, such as the fantastic Águeda in Portugal (which is set to return in the 2022 season.) Along with the expected track roster, we have all the usual bikes from the likes Yamaha and KTM, and over forty riders from the MXGP and MX2 classifications (including current champions Tim Gajser and Maxime Renaux.) The game has all the names and locations you’d expect from an officially licensed product, but these days A few famous names and a recognizable brand image are far from enough to satisfy the hordes of voracious gamers eagerly sipping on a can of Monster Energy in anticipation of a new motocross game.
We’re in the middle of a generation where hundreds of hours of content is the norm, games should be playable for years with no more than a patch and maybe some DLC, and thanks to the great work of Digital Foundry, the standards are higher than ever when it comes to graphics and frame rates. Milestone is clearly aware of this, that a lot of things are evident in their attempts to add content to their series, but over the years it seemed they just didn’t have the budget to meet the player’s needs. modern, as their games have generally been good, but bare-bones business, with lots of repurposed content. We can probably attribute some of that to the annual release window, but MXGP 2021 is a full-price game and should therefore meet full-price standards.
What you get with the game is generally excellent. There’s a career mode, which lets you create a rider and join a team or race the official 2021 MXGP calendar solo. Each race has a wealth of customization options; races can be as short as the two main races, reduced to around three minutes each, up to a full race weekend, including practice and qualifying, played at a realistic length and everything in between (I generally opted for shorter races but a full race weekend to allow me to learn the track and get a decent place on the starting grid.)
For motocross aficionados it’s great, and I honestly think some bigger name racing games could learn from Milestone here – they often provide the ability to do full sim racing in their games and that can be a great way to get away from it all on a Sunday afternoon.
Along with customizing the duration of the run, the player has the ability to tweak a variety of assists to make the game play as user-friendly or hardcore as possible. Switching the physics to advanced mode and disabling joint pauses certainly kicks the difficulty up a notch, but rewards the player with better overall control over their bike and rider, allowing for much faster lap times with a bit of practice. There’s even an option that requires you to manually remove the sticky layer from your visor when it gets too muddy, which adds a wonderfully immersive first-person camera feel.
As well as a lengthy career mode, there’s the return of Playground mode; anyone who played the brilliant MX vs ATV games for the original Xbox will recognize this; essentially an opportunity to have fun in a free roaming environment filled with bumps, bumps and landmarks, around which you are free to have fun. You can also participate in user-created challenges such as waypoint races and time attacks, or you can create your own and allow others to compete against your best time. It’s surprisingly engaging, but still feels like a little something is missing. The map is lifeless, even adding a few collectibles to unlock new gear or rider bikes, or maybe even a few open-world quests to complete would have gone a long way to making the mode more appealing in the long run.
With all of these options and a selection of AI difficulty settings, career mode can go from a relaxed way of wasting a few hours to a very long and sometimes stressful battle for championship glory that never wavers. MXGP 2021 never quite achieves that sim-racer vibe that some gamers will dream of, but it’s about as close as you’ll get to the genre and being able to essentially choose the length of a game is a convenient form accessibility when your audience could be anyone from kids to busy parents.
Where MXGP fails, then, is not in longevity or the overall experience of beating a bike over obscene high-speed jumps. It’s in those little quality-of-life features that separate a good game from a great one. A player who is brand new to the sport, for example, may be told how to perform a “scrub” at the start of the game, but they will have absolutely no idea what it is, or why their bike keeps falling. Everytime. they are trying to make one.
The graphics are good, but the quality isn’t really good enough to sell a game anymore. Likewise, the sound effects are good, but there’s no racing music and after a few hours the incessant noise of an engine 4-stroke buzzing can get a bit squeaky; the game really could have done without an infusion of nu-metal and punk to liven up the action, because when you really get into the flow of things, navigate a series of jumps perfectly and land perfectly on the other side , ready to take the next corner, as Drowning Pool blares from your speakers and your rivals eat your dirt, it’s a fantastic experience and well worth the effort.
However, when it comes to creating your own races, Playground mode falls far short of everything MXGP 2021 has to offer. The game features a full-fledged track editor, which allows players to create a suitable motocross track using an easy-to-use editor – it’s quickly reminiscent of playing Excitebike back in the days and creating the track as frustrating as possible just to sit back and happily watch your friends grow increasingly bored trying to beat it; I highly recommend doing the same in MXGP 2021.
If you don’t know anything about motocross but want to start getting into the sport, the start of the 2022 season has been delayed, so now might be the perfect time to try MXGP 2021. If you’re a veteran grizzled, crack open a can of Boomer Juice, put on some Powerman 5000 and rev that engine!
MXGP 2021 is available for download on the Xbox Store
Milestone Srl is part of an unusual breed of developers; a small Italian studio that has been developing (mostly) racing titles since the mid-90s, over the years they have managed to grab official World Rally Championship, MotoGP, MXGP licenses and have even been entered into create the official Ducati 90th Anniversary game. It is therefore safe to say that they have a certain influence in the world of motorsport; so why aren’t they as well known as Codemasters or Playground Games? Diving into the latest version of their motocross series…
MXGP 2021 Review
MXGP 2021 Review
- Highly customizable experience
- Satisfying controls, smooth running
- Decent graphics and very consistent framerate
- Still lacking in content
- The sound design is very simple
- Not always beginner-friendly and multiplayer is dead
- Many thanks for the free copy of the game, go to – Milestone
- Formats – Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC
- Reviewed version – Xbox Series X
- Release date – November 30, 2021
- Introductory price from – £49.99