games / Reviews

Jeremy McGrath Offroad (XBLA) Review

July 12, 2012 | Posted by Dan Watson

Jeremy McGrath seems to have been around forever. For a while he was like Madden and whenever a cool off-road game was coming out or dirt bike game, it had his name attached. Now, it has been a little while since we had the last Jeremy McGrath game and we are presented with an Arcade title instead of a retail title. Originally, I figured the game would be similar to what Madden has become and we would barely see McGrath. Well, that is not the case; in fact you get so much of him that you start to get annoyed by him it seems. He appears in every menu, he is your GPS, and gives advice on every screen. He is everywhere and even appears in little pop-ups throughout the menu screens. Overall though, the game is pretty good for an arcade title. Let’s take a look at each area of the game and then I will give a final review at the bottom.

Visuals

This is the most impressive part of this title. There are plenty of times where you are distracted looking at the mountains or trees or other landscapes and just amazed by them. The game really flourishes in this area and you can tell they did amazing work. Also, like a few other racing games, there are some cool surprises as you race through the landscape. One little surprise was as I was driving through a location, an airplane buzzed me. Then the crop duster flew over and around and put on quite an air show before buzzing me one last time as I hit a jump. This was an awesome experience and really adds to the game. Very few times do the visuals of a game impress me so much that I feel it makes the game that much better.

Sound

With as great as the visual is, this game struggles with sound. The menu music is disappointing. The racing sound is average though and there isn’t much noise from the wildlife in the game as you drive through mountain ranges or forests. Hearing Jeremy McGrath is pretty cool but he talks too much in the game to really feel that it is special or amazing to have a legend giving you turn by turn directions. It loses its luster quickly and helps make sound the weak point of this title.

Game Play

The game play is fairly simple which is a good thing here. Overall, the goal is simple, win. The controls are as simple as any other racing title. Right trigger goes, left trigger is break, A button is hand brake. There are a few different difficulty options and each option changes how much XP you receive towards upgrades. The easiest difficulty is extremely easy but only gives you 75% of the total XP. The normal is fairly easy still but gives you 100%. Then the hardest difficulty is a challenge and makes the game a fun but challenging experience. You get 125% XP for that one. To max out your upgrades playing on normal difficulty, you are going to need about two to three hours. Sadly, that is about as long as it takes to get bored of this game. There aren’t actual parts to customize just individual stats. The XP you earn gives you the ability to upgrade the stats.

Replay Factor

After you max out the stats, there really isn’t a reason to keep playing unless you are playing with friends. The single player experience is very repetitive and doesn’t give you much to come back for. The overall experience is pleasant on the eyes but for the price of this game, it is hard to justify. I figured I could maybe find a short cut or two and cut through the land, not the case. You drive through some objects without even feeling a change and other objects stop you dead in your tracks. In the end, if you enjoy simple racing titles that you and your friends can play, the game may be worth it to you to come back to for a few weeks.

The 411

Visually this game surpasses many retail racers that are out there. The game play is simple for anyone to pick up no matter what your gaming experience has been. The easy difficulty is perfect for new gamers or younger gamers to play. If you are looking for a family friendly racing experience this game is perfect for you. If you are looking for a simple simulation racing game, this game even works. But if you are looking for anything more than simple and easy racing game, this game isn’t for you. This isn’t a game where there is a ton of customization or upgrading parts like Forza, instead you are getting a simple ready to go game where you upgrade stats. I didn’t notice much of a difference in feel from the basic cart to the top of the line cart. The upgrades do make you feel faster or a bit more in control, depending on which difficulty you play on.

Pros

-Easy to play
-Amazing Visuals
– Fun to mess around with

Cons

-Having Jeremy McGrath’s voice be in every aspect takes away from having a legend involved in the game
-No reason to come back to keep playing
-Short life span

Final Verdict
If you have some extra points and think you may enjoy a simple racer every now and then pick this title up. Visually you won’t be disappointed and you won’t feel that the game is impossible to play. The game itself is fun and could have easily passed as a lower priced retail title. Instead it is an arcade title and plays great for being so.

Graphics9.0Amazing Scenary in this Game 
Gameplay8.0Simple controls, not much to keep coming back to after career mode is done 
Sound6.0McGrath gets annoying pretty quickly 
Lasting Appeal6.0After career mode, you wonder what is left to do 
Fun Factor 7.5Its a fun racing game with simple concepts.  
Overall7.5   [ Good ]  legend

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Dan Watson

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