- Publisher: D3Publisher
- Developer: 2XL Game
- ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
- Genre: Racing
- Pros: Streamlined Gameplay, Excellent Learning Curve
- Cons: Some Repetitive Track Design, Unnecessary Obstacles
"Jeremy McGrath's Offroad" is a straightforward racing game built around those four-wheeled vehicles that kick up a lot of dust like Pro Lite Trucks, Pro Buggies, and Rally Cars. Like much-bigger racing games, you can progress through a career and customize your favorite vehicles with a series of upgrades to improve handling, braking, etc. A variety of race tracks are presented in surprising detail, running at 60 frames per second in 1080p. The game also offers multiplayer modes along with a deep career mode and pick-up-and-play arcade offering.
The genre of racing games has become one that's often weighed down with bells and whistles since 2000's "Jeremy McGrath Supercross World." And so it's nearly refreshing to see a downloadable title like this one that's streamlined down to the essentials: A driver, four wheels, and a track. The first thing you'll notice about "Offroad" is its simplicity of play (and I mean that as a compliment). You don't have to worry about overly complicated customization. Choose a mode and get on the road.
Of course, like the best racing games, "Jeremy McGrath's Offroad" falls into that timeless cliche -- "Easy to learn, hard to master." As you progress through the career, not only does the difficulty increase along with track complexity and opponent A.I. but the depth of gameplay increases. Whereas putting your foot down on the gas works fine for the first two tracks, how you pitch off a hill or power slide around a curve will matter more and more as new tracks unlock. How a racing game progresses in difficulty is essential to its success or failure in that if the learning curve is too small than the title feels repetitive but the opposite degree of difficulty will make for a title that feels too frustrating.
Another essential ingredient to a good racing game that "Jeremy McGrath's Offroad" gets right is in track design. For the most part, they're not too long and not too short and, especially for a downloadable title, there's a nice variety. The developer's biggest mistake was to occasionally try and "spice things up" by dropping obstacles in the road. These deflate what the title does best by going against the overall realism of the title.