Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad

Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is an off road racing simulator by 2XL Games, released on the 13th March for the PS3.

Jeremy McGrath Offroad

There are six tracks to choose from, and five classes of vehicle to unlock and use.  There’s an Arcade Mode, where you pick a track and class of vehicle for a single race, or Career Mode, which pits you against the AI across 23 races and starts with Sport Buggies and moves up through the larger vehicle classes as you progress.

The controls were very easy to pick up, though the clutch boost took some getting used to.  One of the hints suggested laying off the throttle, but aside from heading into a corner, I found far more success in just flooring it.  I also found the hints to be rather repetitive, as they appeared on every loading screen.

The tracks were decent, with a mix of easy and tight turns and a few jumps, and they had great looking, varied backgrounds such as desert, jungle and snowy scenes.. I particularly liked Chippewa Hill with the little biplane passing overhead.  Some of the plantation textures off the side of the track weren’t great, though, and rolling obstacles such as rocks and haybales also looked odd, though they added something different to the race.

Jeremy McGrath Offroad - Racing

I started Career Mode on the easy difficulty, but quickly changed it back to normal as it didn’t present enough of a challenge – on easy I was able to overtake all the other cars and stay ahead of the pack, at which point you don’t really feel like you’re racing anything.  On normal, I was more involved with the pack, though then I kept finding the other cars swinging in and blocking my way.. an annoyance with car AI that I think extends to every single racing game!  I didn’t see any penalties for side-swiping and nudging other cars out of the way, so when they cut me up, I didn’t bother to try and avoid the collisions!

Throughout the race, you earn XP for overtaking other cars, as well as for swiping some of the fences if you lose control and end up off the track.. earning XP allows you to upgrade your vehicles’ top speed, acceleration, braking and handling.  However, upgrades only count on the car you first apply them to, rather than across all the cars in that class, so you need to choose one car and stick to it.

After a while, I found the racing to be a little repetitive, and while you can play online for 8 player races, there’s no splitscreen mode to play with friends locally.  I think this game would be best suited to real fans of racing games, rather than casuals like myself.

3/5

 

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