Review: Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad
Title: Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad
Platform: XBLA, PSN (Reviewed on PSN)
Developer: 2XL Games
Publisher: Reverb Publishing
Tagline: Arcade style offroad racer that is fun in short, controlled bursts
Family Friendly: Click here for more information.
Verdict: Wait for a Sale
When a famous name is attached to a racing title, you wonder if the game will meet the expectations of the racer in the title. I mean, walking into Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad, I felt the trailer showed off a good looking racing title, with the added benefit of destructible environments and dynamic obstructions that would give players a challenge. Instead, we have a decent racing title that starts off fun and challenging, until you learn the keys to success. It is a game that could have been something more, but never quite lives up to the hope over a few hours of gameplay.
The idea behind Jeremy McGrath Offroad is simple enough. Give gamers a fun little racing title for a low price. For your investment, you do get seven different tracks which you will race in five different vehicle types. The courses are designed well enough, and offer up enough variation between each of them, although, weather effects are limited in nature. You will get some arid deserts along with some country roads and some muddy jungle areas, but no snow or rain. Weather effects are non-existent at least in the campaign mode, and each class of vehicle has one type with several different liveries for each. Again, this sounds a bit limited in nature, but I felt it was a good enough variety for its entry price.
Of course, a racing title will live and die by its racing engine and Jeremy McGrath Offroad is a bit hit and miss. At first, races can be very challenging, as I found myself finishing second or third with a vehicle that had no upgrades. But, as you earn experience for on the track techniques, you level up your vehicles in one of four categories, and at that point, you start to learn that an upgraded vehicle will easily get you a first place win. To put this in perspective, I came in third place in my first two races, but after applying some upgrades to my top speed and acceleration, I easily hit first place. And not just finishing first, but I could finish first by a 12-15 second margin.
Even the developers, 2XL Games, had to understand this weird curve of difficulty, as you can get most of the achievements or trophies for Offroad in the first hour of play. As of this point in time, I have an hour and a half in the game and I am missing two trophies out of the twelve available.
When you get through the 23 track campaign, you can then take your upgraded vehicles online to play against other players, on any of the tracks in any configuration. Sadly, there is not a huge community for Jeremy McGrath Offroad at this time, as I only found three games online over the last few days. The gamers in those rooms were cordial enough and the racing was fairly lag-free and smooth for Internet play.
With all of this, I may come off negative, but there is enough fun to be had in Jeremy McGrath for its low price point. I had a good enough time, and if you play like I did, taking in a couple of races and then taking a break from the game, you will find yourself enjoying the game more. If you try to burn through it in one sitting however, you will find yourself at your fill of Offroad and you will probably never come back to it. It is a game that does enough with its concept, and offers up a challenging race engine, but it just does not have a long enough tail to keep it in your play rotation.
Taking the Checkered Flag:
- Fun in small doses
- Tracks are interesting enough
- Watching cars and trucks flip in disaster never gets old
- Becomes too easy to win races
- Online community is not exactly hopping right now
With no guns, killing, swearing or nudity, Jeremy McGrath Offroad should be suitable for fans of all ages. Its multiple tiered difficulty should help younger ones get the hang of the game.