It’s always frustrating when the core of a game is solid, but everything else about it is so flawed, sloppy, or extraneous that it ruins the whole thing. Such is the case with MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame (PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC), which is fun when you hit the track, but draining when you’re trying to get there.
The sequel to 2014’s MXGP The Official Motocross Videogame, MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame is dirt bike racing game that features many of the real riders, events, tracks, and even corporate partners associated with professional motocross racing. Which is why this has a plethora of race events, all of which are set on twisty, bumpy tracks that will really test your skills with a thumbstick.
Not surprisingly, MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame has almost as many options when it comes to playing as it does where you race. Besides a wide variety of bikes that can customized both aesthetically and functionally, you can also slightly adjust the distance for both the first- or third-person camera settings.
MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame also keeps its authentic feel by eschewing one of the major tenets of more arcade-ish dirt bike games: doing tricks. While doing flips in other motocross games will reward you with money or a boost of speed, there’s none of that here. Try to do a flip in this game and you’ll land face first in the mud. And then get run over by the guy you passed on the previous turn.
But while MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame is geared for authenticity, it recognizes that not everyone has the skills or experience, or even the inclination, to play a realistic motocross racing game. Especially since dirt bikes, unlike cars and other motor vehicles you find in racing games, have two sets of brakes — one for the front wheel, another for the back — which adds a layer of complexity and coordination.
Thankfully, MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame takes a cue from Forza Motorsport 6 and Forza Horizon 2 by not only giving you the option to have one button activate both brakes, but also by letting you decide how realistic on a scale of 1-to-3 you’d like the physics to be, and if you’d like your opponents to be amateurs, regular pros, or real champions. And while this never gets as sim-like as a Gran Turismo sequel, nor as arcadey as 2014’s Mario Kart 8, there’s still a big difference between the two ends of the spectrum.
Sadly, while MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame is a solid racing game once you get on the track, everything else about it is fraught with problems. The worst of which is that the game does a terrible job explaining itself, especially to those of us who don’t following real motocross. Unless you’re a fan, or maybe even a pro, you won’t know how the “Stadium Series” events in single-player differ from the “Real Events,” or what the heck “Monster Energy Fim MXON” means.
This really becomes a problem when you first enter the single-player section, where your only option, at least initially, is to do a “Time Trial.” That’s because MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame never tells you how to complete this event so you can move on to the next one. Are you supposed to do three laps? Five laps? Ten laps without crashing or going out-of-bounds? The game never says, nor does it tell you when you’ve done whatever it is you’re supposed to do; there’s no, “Congratulations, you’ve completed the Time Trial. Now let’s move on to the next event.” In fact, I thought the game was broken until I quit, came back the next day, and realized that I must’ve completed the “Time Trial” at some point because the other “Single-Player” modes had unlocked. And this, unfortunately, was not the event where I wasn’t told how to finish, or how much progress I was making.
MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame also has a ton of technical glitches, one of which was so catastrophic that it didn’t just crash the game, it caused my system to shut down. The game also has painfully slow load times, menu text that’s too tiny to read if you sit at a reasonable distance from your TV, and can be wildly inconsistent when you go out of bounds, sometimes resetting you the minute you cross the line, and other times not doing anything when you cut a corner.
Oh, and the music in game: horrible. Just horrible.
The result of all these shortcomings and technical issues is that I found myself growing slowly bored until I realized I was only still playing out of some sense of obligation. Which is too bad because if it didn’t have these problems, was way more streamline, and was really just about the racing, MXGP2 The Official Motocross Videogame would’ve been a fun motocross game.