Jeremy McGrath was a huge name in motocross/super-cross back in the 90s and that’s as much as I know, but the Internet tells me that after that he went on to do off road truck racing and made it big doing that. That’s where he’s been now for a while. So what’s the next step for a man who’s raced motorbikes and now races trucks, boogies and rally cars? Well, put it all in a game of course.
Jeremy McGraths’s Offroad is a new release for the Xbox Marketplace for 800 points which for what you get is not too bad really. So let’s get into what makes this game tick. When you first get to the menu you have a few options. The first one is career mode which covers 23 different races which will take you on events such a point to point time trial and then all out racing around tracks against other drivers. A word to wise however… when you start playing this whack the difficulty up to 125% – this will make the game much more entertaining and will make you feel like you are really in a race. The default setting of 75% is way too easy and within 2 hours I had come first on every track and completed the career mode, and while it was fun at first it got quite boring as most of the tracks are repeated, it’s just the laps that increase as you make your way through your races. However as you do race you will be picking up XP for things such as power sliding and big jumps which all helps you in between races as you can add points to you car to make it faster or have better handling and much more. There is also a overall setup for your car before you go into the XP part, which has more generic options such as really fast and soft suspension and a few other options. It may have helped to change that stuff but I felt the really fast option with added handling points made for a great setup, which left me wondering how much these options impacted on the game.
The tracks are well designed and look amazing. There are many different environments to play in such as snow covered race tracks which are very tricky to get the hang of as you slip and slide all over the place, and the middle of a jungle where you are driving on water logged tracks. There are a few more, however there should have been a bigger selection – 6 tracks does not really hold replay value. The details of the cars are great and it’s really good to see different types of off road vehicles. However there are just a few key things missing such as vehicle damage, and along the same lines as that your car doesn’t really get dirty. I realise they’re only small things but theses things are what makes games like this stand out. I’m not saying that it’s a nasty looking game – it’s far from it – it just needed to have that little extra. I also realise it’s an Xbox Arcade title but there are some great games out there that have really lifted the bar in the graphics quality for XBLA games.
To complement the graphics is the music and that works very well. Menu music is nice and the in-game music is just what you expect from a driving game, which is nicely paced music to give you that driving feeling as you’re overtaking and driving at speed.
The multiplayer side of the game again sounds great, so grab a few of your friends and go head to head with them to see who is the best. To me this is what this game is really about, having fun with your friends and trash talking while racing around trying to beat them.
Overall Jeremy McGraths’s Offroad is a fairly decent game, and it was fun to a pass a few hours playing along with the AI, but once the tracks started to repeat themselves and the laps started to increase it became very hard to take to stay interested. That said for those who follow Jeremy McGrath you will enjoy this game a lot as he gives some helpful hints as you play.
Reviewed on Xbox 360