Price: 800 MSP ($10)
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Review
With all of the different downloadable racing games on the market right now, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad will likely slip under the radar, due to the lack of a big gameplay hook. While the game itself has a number of issues that hold it back from being a must-have for everyone, fans of Dirt or offroad racers in general will definitely get some fun out of it.
Being that the game is called Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad, I was really expecting to be Jeremy McGrath the whole way throughout. In reality, he is just the car who will always be in first place and he’ll constantly pop up in the corner of the screen during every single loading time. With the game having 10 – 20 second loading times between races, get used to hearing his muffled voice a little too often, explaining the same 5 things over and over again.
In keeping with the sound, having your co-driver speak out each turn every 5 seconds as a default was a terrible decision and after a very long minute, I searched the menus to promptly turn him off. While digging through those menus, I noticed that there were no options for music, and this is yet another mistake with the game. By not having any music, the engine will be the only sound effect you hear for the races. Lucky for me, I had a bunch of songs stored on my hard drive and I actually started to enjoy the game. If you don’t have any songs on your Xbox 360, be sure to load it up so you don’t go crazy.
When I finally got over the annoyances of the sound, I started to notice a really good-looking game. The area in which you race on is just a basic dirt path, but you’ll travel through some colour-rich areas, watch planes fly overhead, and to top it off, the draw distance for the tracks is really impressive. They aren’t ground breaking graphics by any means, just more of a pleasant surprise.
Racing around these tracks is very standard fare, though it is done well. Since you can choose which tires you want to put on your vehicle, you can play to your strengths. I’m all about speed so I chose ‘very fast, soft suspension’ tires, though less risky players can choose ‘average speed, sticky tires’. Couple this with the upgrade system, which allows you to power up a certain aspect of your car after earning XP in each race, and you can create the car that fits you best. Though the actual racing never takes any risks, they don’t do anything wrong, creating a good driving experience..
Unfortunately for Jeremy McGrath, what starts out as a racing game with fresh, single-lapped tracks just winds up recycling everything and then ending way too quickly. By having just one lap per track in the early going, it meant no repetition, something I really enjoyed. Once you progress about 7 or 8 events into the games 23, you’ll just end up re-racing through the same tracks, with more laps added. That freshness the game had at the beginning quickly disappeared and for a campaign that lasts about 2 hours, it was really disappointing.
Even with the addition of online play and an arcade mode where you can race around the tracks at your speed, the playtime of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad will top out at about 3 hours. Offroad fans will easily find something to like, especially if they have some friends who also buy the game, though for the rest of us, it is an above average racer that starts out well, but ultimately fizzles.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad was reviewed with a copy provided by the publisher.