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Jeremy McGrath's Offroad PS3 Review

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Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Image © D3Publisher
Some of the best PS3 games of the last few years have been released exclusively as downloadable titles (a few recent hits include "The Walking Dead," "I Am Alive," and "Journey.") And the PlayStation Network is one of the best places you can go when you're looking to recreate that arcade experience at home. In fact, it's one of the greatest things about the PlayStation Store in that players can find relatively simple, inexpensive time-killers that couldn't support an entire on-disc release but satisfy an audience nonetheless. "Jeremy McGrath's Offroad" wouldn't work at full price. But for $10, it offers a nice variety of modes, a style of gameplay that can suit a variety of experience levels, and more than enough entertainment to warrant its low cost.

Game Details

  • 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.

Gameplay

Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Image © D3Publisher

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.

Graphics & Sound

Once again, assessment here comes down to expectations. Don't expect a title that looks like "Motorstorm: Apocalypse," "Split Second," or a "Need For Speed" edition but remember that this downloadable dirt ride costs ten bucks. Based on that threshold, it actually looks pretty great. Horizons are detailed enough (I like the little touches like the crop duster that buzzes the track) and the mix of dirt and grass is just detailed enough to be satisfactory without being remarkable. The sound is design is adequate but not overly memorable. Most people don't go to the PSN for games designed to show off their HD TVs with amazing video and audio but "Jeremy McGrath's Offroad" works on its own terms.

Overall

Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Image © D3Publisher
In my many years of gaming, I have played a shocking number of horribly designed offroad games. From unmanageable controls to weak graphics to poorly designed tracks -- it's not a genre for which I was excited to play a new entry, even one that promised to be as straightforward as "Jeremy McGrath's Offroad." And so I was surprised by the artistic success and overall entertainment value of this title in nearly every way. It's not a must-own but fans of the genre or those merely looking for something exciting in this dry spell at your local video game store should load up their virtual wallet.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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