Published on July 11th, 2012 | by CoreySA1
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Review
Summary: - Slim differences in handling make the variety of cars feel the same + Solid arcade racing and environments
Lately, it seems as if there is a growth of arcade racers making their way to XBLA. Joy Ride Turbo, Mad Riders, Bang Bang Racing and Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad have all seen their releases in the last month or so. Since I have long been a fan of off-road racing, McGrath’s Offroad was clearly the one that appealed to me.
Coming in at $10 or 800 microsoft points, it’s hard to expect this title to compete with the likes of Codemasters’ wonderful DiRT series or even some of the other fully-priced off-road experiences that are available today. What we do get is a solid yet short game that becomes somewhat repetitive. As an arcade racer though, it seems to fit its asking price.
To be honest, there is a lot to like from 2XL Games’ Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad. The game comes fully-equiped with a career mode – which spans across various different locations, an arcade pick-up and play mode and multiplayer. The game is easy to learn as the controls are well done and feel very approachable.
As you race through various events, you earn experience points (XP). You rack up XP for almost everything you do in an event. Passing other racers, powersliding or having clean laps all amount to adding to your XP level. Your experience does not carry over from vehicle to vehicle, but each level up allows you to upgrade your current vehicle. I actually really enjoy this type of system because you earn in each race no matter your finish point, so there is no rush to restart each race if you make a mistake. XP is also multiplied depending on which of the three difficulties you choose to use.
Each of the game’s locations look very good for a $10 entry. Draw distance looks great and the environments seem to have pretty good detail. Overall however, the game is a mixed bag in the looks department. While the details of the humid forests or icy mountains may grab your attention and are beautifully rendered, the cars seem to be lacking the same amount of detail. There seems to be very little to no interactivity between the environment and your car either. For instance, your car will not damage or no dirt will show up on your car lap to lap. If your car careens off the course and into a tree, there will be no collision with that tree. I don’t think this really detracts from a $10 game and its experience, but it’s worth noting.
My biggest gripe with McGrath’s Offroad rests with the handling differences between each of the cars. 2XL Games has included buggies, trophy trucks and rally cars, but there seems to be very little difference in how the vehicles control during the events. Because of this, the game can start to feel repetitive after a long play session. The game’s career mode can also be finished in 3-4 hours, so if you want to finish it off in a few sessions, expect to feel relatively similar handling throughout. I think if 2XL Games had gone the extra distance in making the cars feel different, it would have gone a long way in adding to the longevity of its replayability factor.
Even with its shortcomings, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is still a very enjoyable and competent XBLA title. Obviously this game would never be able to step toe-to-toe with the likes of a DiRT title, but it knows exactly what it does – and it does it well. Playing it in shorter sessions is recommended, but there is fun to be had with its in-depth experience system and great-looking courses. If you’re a fan of off-road racing, you will find worth in your $10 purchase.
A copy of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad was provided by Reverb Publishing for the purpose of this review.