I’m back and I have a brand spanking new review for you all! This time, we’ve got an Xbox 360 Marketplace title, “Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad”.
Straight up this is your typical rally racing game. You have a Career mode, an Arcade Mode and Multiplayer gaming through the use of Xbox Live. I’ll be leaving out the multiplayer aspect of this review, as after waiting about half an hour for a match up, nobody seemed to come on and play it. A pity, but we can still discuss the rest of the game!
Here you’ve got the usual Career mode, but with a bit of a twist. You start off with the Sportsman Buggy to use as your vehicle type, these cars are slow and don’t handle too well. After completing a few events at the top of the tournament table, however, you advance to the next stage of vehicle type, and so on. It goes in order:
Sportsman Buggy: These cars are the lightest, slowest and generally worst cars in the game. They’re there to set you up and ease you into the game.
Prolite Truck: Heavier, not much of a higher top speed but much higher Horsepower.
Pro Buggy: MUCH heavier, much faster and horsepower.
Rally Car: Lighter than a Pro Buggy, but a bit faster too. Suspension is a lot less on these.
Trophy Truck: Best suspension of the game, heaviest cars but also the fastest.
Once unlocked, you can use the different vehicle types in the Xbox Live multiplayer and in the arcade mode too.
The career mode felt quite… lacking. It didn’t seem like there was any point to it, apart from to progress and unlock the car types. There was no real goal, just to complete the races. Apart from this, the tracks seemed to change in difficulty and some got much harder over time.
In the Arcade mode there are 6 tracks for you to choose from. Once you choose your track, you can decide on the car type you use, change the setup of the car, upgrade the car and then choose the specifics for the race. You can practice, do a single race or a time trial match. Road hazards (Things such as bales of hay, rocks in a landslide, etc. that fall onto the track obstructing you and the other racers) can be turned on and off. You can also change the difficulty, opponents and laps to fit your will.
All in all the Arcase mode is exactly what you’d expect and works very well.
The graphics, for an XBLA rally game were pretty good. The cars jolted around and moved in the way they would do in a real rally race, the scenery was lush and the background seemed to be quite photo-esque. You can’t expect more than was there for an XBLA title, and even then it was a very good graphic set.
For every car’s type there are a few different designs that allow you to essentially choose the skin of your car. Apart from that, there’s no design wise customisation which is a shame, but then again not much of a big deal. The designs you’re given are great as they are, the Monster Energy Drink skin is my favourite!
Before each race, you’re able to change the tyres on your car, each with a different speed and traction allowing you to customise it to your liking. After this, you can upgrade your car with any upgrade points you have. You’re able to upgrade Top Speed, Handling, Acceleration and Braking. The system works well, but you can’t really feel the changes apart from the Acceleration in my play through.
Remember from the old Sonic games where you’d have Omachao tell you all the things you didn’t know, and in some cases really didn’t need to know? This game does that with Mr McGrath telling you many little facts and hints about how to do better in the game… all the time. During loading he will get through 2-3 facts which eventually get on your nerves. In some cases he helps out, like when telling you not to put the peddle down while you’re mid-air. However when that’s closely followed by two more packets of ‘help’ while you’re just waiting to race, it gets annoying.
The one, big thing that let down this game was the camera work. It will occasionally reposition itself to look at the side of the car, or in other directions and you have to manually fix it. When you’re trying to breeze around a corner, steer, accelerate and change the camera at the same time, something will go wrong. This was a major let down, in some races it would be perfectly fine. However in others I would be changing the camera angle every few seconds just to make it center.
The difficulty settings were extremely unbalanced. Amateur (Which gave you 75% of the normal EXP which added to your upgrade points) was so very, very easy. Semi-Pro (Giving you 100% EXP) was a little harder, but still not an awfully big challenge. Professional level though was near impossible. I won every match on the Amateur and Semi-Pro levels that I attempted, as soon as I switched to Professional though I was stuck in last place. This and the camera work were the two things that let the game down a lot.
All in all, this game hasn’t got much of a career mode, and the camera work is dodgy at best, but still playable. If you want a simple rally game to play, this is the one you should buy. It’s not a game changer or anything, but it’s certainly a fun enough title to play to waste a bit of time.
Jeremy McGrath’s OffRoad is available now in the XBLA for 800 Microsoft Points!