Another year, another MXGP game from Milestone. This time, they’ve dropped the numbers in favour of using ‘Pro’ as the title. But is this a professional update or a yearly cash-grab from the Italian developers?
Milestone’s usual format to the career continues, starting you off in the junior MX2 class with your own team, allowing you to either take it to the top or earn a drive at an official team (the game has the full MXGP and MX2 licenses) in your quest for the MXGP championship.
There have been some enhancements over last year, with some fake social media accounts, and better sponsorship opportunities, with a good set of in-game objectives to earn ‘fame’, which in turn will unlock better sponsors, including my old friend ‘parmigiano reggiano’. There’s a bit more emphasis on team management, and whilst the career mode is still a step behind the Codemasters F1 games, it feels like less of a gulf. It’s just a shame that some of the bike development options from the MotoGP series (shamelessly stolen from F1!) didn’t make it into this year’s game.
The main annoyance with the career is that it’s longer and more bloated than before. There’s no option to just do one race at a track anymore, and individual races are also generally a lap longer than before. For the purposes of getting out of MX2 quickly, I used to have about 3-4 minutes per race, meaning I could get my promotion in about 3 hours. Now it will take more than double that on the shortest available session length.
The big step forwards this year is in the tutorials, something I have moaned about the last few years. You now have access to ‘the compound’, which is basically a free practice set of tracks which you can use to your heart’s content. The compound is also the stage for the initial tutorial session, which teaches you the controls (although frustratingly doesn’t give you feedback on your performance or whether you even followed the instructions successfully), and the brand new training segments. There’s 5 increasingly difficult courses teaching you about areas like scrubs and wheelspin in the wet, and they are genuinely useful tools to help you master the game. Some of the levels are a genuine challenge, and it gave me a real sense of achievement to complete them all.
The controls and AI were mostly fine before, and I couldn’t discern any noticeable upgrades to them in this year’s game. Content has again been reduced from last year though, and whilst many of the MXGP tracks remain the same, it still feels like an all-too similar experience throughout the career. There’s just not much difference between MX2 and MXGP classes. The developer tracks from MXGP2 remain absent (apart from the addition of the compound), and the MXON content seems like to have completely disappeared.
You can create a custom championship, but it’s not much different from the main options. The other pain is the loading times, which are simply unacceptable. Starting the game takes at least 90 seconds whilst you sit through unskippable logo screens and several different loading screens. This might be ok if it reduced loading times within the game, but you have to endure another minute or so each time you go to a track. And most bizarrely, even when you go to the second race at the same track, you have to sit through the same loading screen (and the same amount of time).
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