Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Review
Cashing in on a name.
I think it says something when you name your game after a star whose main sport is not the sport your game is about. Once one of the biggest names in the Supercross circuit, Jeremy McGrath has spent the last few years in off-road truck racing. That’s OK with 2XL games as they needed somebody to be the face of their game, otherwise it would be completely unremarkable. Even so, licensed or not, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad gets almost nothing right.
The bulk of Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad will take place in the Career, and by bulk I mean just under two hours. There are twenty three races, spanning four vehicle classes, for you to compete in to prove you’re the best. Aside from a rudimentary vehicle upgrade system, consisting of four stats instead of vehicle parts, all there is to do is go from race to race. Periodically you’ll be told you’ve completed a class and be given a new type of vehicle.
Your progression makes the upgrade system largely moot as you’ll move on to the next vehicle class long before you’ve applied more than a couple of upgrades to your current ride. Not to worry, the game is unreasonably easy. On the standard difficulty I placed first in all but one race, while finding myself so far ahead of the competition by the last lap that I could drive off the track to smash advertisement signs. This, inexplicably, earns you experience, so I guess it all worked out in my favor.
The actual driving in Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad suffers from a number of issue, most notable of which is the lack of a manual transmission option. Yes, I’m the guy who switches every racing game to manual and you would want to as well for this game. Nearly every time I hit a tough section of the track I was yelling at the automatic transmission to shift but it was content to let the RPM’s fall halfway to zero and just recover later.
The other glaring issue was that the different car classes didn’t feel different at all, except in terms of speed. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure a rally car handles very differently from an Offroad truck. Just a guess. Each class was faster than the last but that’s about all the variety you’re going to get. Not to mention the fact that you’ll be racing the same tiny handful of tracks for the duration, and this isn’t just the same environments, the tracks are the same each time.
You can compete in eight-player online races but you won’t find that many people to play with, in fact you might have a hard time even finding one person to join your lobby. Other than being online, these races are the same as the single player career so if you’re not bored with that yet, you can play with up to eight other people.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad isn’t fun, isn’t long and doesn’t present you with a realistic racing experience in any way, shape or form. This is what happens when a studio doesn’t care about the thing it is making the game about. It’s clear that nobody at 2XL cares about racing, offroad or otherwise.