Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad Review: A Disconnected Experience
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad
Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is an arcade racing title available on the Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. In this game you will be able to battle it out in a career mode with up to 3 difficulty levels, 7 tracks and 5 different types of upgradable vehicles. You have two types of buggies, trucks and a rally car to upgrade as you earn XP throughout each race. Upgrades consist of speed, acceleration, handling and braking. It won’t take you too long to get through the career mode, but it’s at a good enough length for an arcade title. Plus you have additional gameplay modes such as online play and time trials for online leaderboards.
The difficulty in the game is decent at times, but this is dependent upon how you’ve managed your upgrades. However, if you are not playing on the highest difficulty level you will more than likely speed by the competition. When it comes to the controls and the gameplay in this title, I feel that it handles very well and accordingly to your customizations. Whether or not you choose to upgrade your handling and select sticky tires or slick tires, it all matters and you can feel the outcome. With each jump and every bump that you go over it can be a lot of fun to control. However, there is something here that leaves you feeling disconnected to the vehicle and the overall gameplay.
Gameplay Capture Footage
Throughout my time of playing this game I just couldn’t fully get into it and I couldn’t figure out why. Then I started noticing how awful the sound effects are for this game. When I started focusing on that, I noticed that the tires made no sound at all and that the only noise coming from the vehicles was from the engine. When I was sliding across dirt and I didn’t hear a single thing outside of the sound from the engine, it was no wonder I felt disconnected from the game. When you don’t hear the tires scraping across the dirt then the entire experience feels disjointed. That is such a major disappointment when it comes to any racing game. The other noticeable aspect that could have helped with the feeling of the course would have been a rumble feature. Sure, as bouncy as every course is, it would have been nearly non-stop, but it still would have been appreciated in some form or another.
Each track has nice visuals from afar, though they are certainly not anything special and that is especially so when you take a close look. The animations are also rather poor and when you go off track it just doesn’t feel as if you actually went off course. There are spots where it will slow you down, but you can almost always drift on the outer parts of the track and see it have no effect on your vehicle. Especially with all the weeds and such that is on the side of the track – you can drive over it, but it has no impact on performance, sound or visual. You do want to look out for trees though. Each track can still be fun to drive on with good turns, jumps and lots of bumpy roads. There are even moments of obstacles that you will have to avoid, such as a falling boulder or a large snowball.
Even with feeling disconnected from the game and dealing with the horrible sound effects, I still had a decent time playing through it. It passes as a solid arcade racing title, but it still has a lot to improve on. One more thing – the loading screens will begin to annoy you with Jeremy McGrath and his repetitive helpful tips. This is something that you hear on the main menu all the time as well, but thankfully there is an option to turn him off.