There are online multiplayer options, but even upon release I couldn’t find a single game. Last year’s offering was sparsely populated, but I did find the odd game. This year, nothing. Not a sniff. Take that as you will, but don’t expect to get much if any online enjoyment from MXGP3.
The biggest amount of development effort that appears to have gone into MXGP3 is the ‘upgrade’ to Unreal engine 4. That pays off in some regards, but in other regards, doesn’t solve any of the issues that MXGP2 suffered from. Like last year’s game, MXGP on Xbox One doesn’t appear to run at a full 1080p, as there’s lots of jaggies and blurry textures which you can thankfully only really notice when you’re stationary at the start of a race. Unreal engine has also brought in some of the texture pop-in that used to plague games ten years ago. The visual quality has certainly been improved though, and there’s a nice film grain effect.
The race-day experience is also much improved, with huge crowds in full view. The downside is that no-one thought about the atmosphere, because there’s no crowd sound effects. They just stand there, bored. This year also brings in weather and day/night changes to the circuits, which certainly adds to the visual variety. However, whilst there’s no tearing this year, the frame rate is worse than ever, with regular drops down into the teens, leading to jerky controls and a less than ideal experience. It’s also increasingly unsatisfying that there remains no first-person view, as the go-pro helmet cams are a popular way to watch MXGP on TV.
The sound remains unfortunately little better; clearly the result of the limited budgetary restrictions Milestone have to work with. There’s still no commentary at all, and once you’ve gone through the tutorials you’ll never hear from your over-enthusiastic team manager. There is some music to accompany the races, but I turned it off eventually as the mix of generic, unlicensed metal and electronic music is gets pretty annoying, especially as there’s very few tracks.
“MXGP3” looks better than last year, but with less content, and marginal enhancements through weather effects and track deformation, it doesn’t feel like a sufficient enough upgrade. I didn’t stick with last year’s game long after my review but everything still felt overly familiar. It’s also unacceptable that too many issues that I had with MXGP2 return a year later, especially when they could have been patched in the meantime. MXGP3 isn’t a terrible game, but Milestone have made better, and normally iterate faster than this.
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