I am having the most frustrating time trying to spell out my opinion on Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad. I really should not be running into these walls with my review (of sorts) because this is a downloadable game that costs a little less than my hourly wage. But still, I am debating what is the importance of price over content. Should I judge a game for $9.99 harshly, or should I let some stuff slide? Then again, for only five dollars, you can buy the first episode of The Walking Dead, which breaks all notions of price vs. quality. I am going to try the best I can to give you my thoughts on this racing game, even if I just make you and I more confused.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is the latest game from 2XL Games; they were the same team behind Baja: Edge of Control, which was met with some acclaim. Offroad is a downloadable game that you can get from either PSN or XBLA for $9.99.
The concept of the game is offroad racing in which you drive rally cars, buggies, trophy trucks and other offroad vehicles against each other in either circuit races or point to point (get the fastest time). After you win races you are allowed to upgrade you vehicle with XP you earn from winning races and stunts in the race. There is a career mode, an arcade mode, and online mode. Each is very slim in what they have to offer, and there is only about 4 or 5 tracks that you can race on.
So, what are my gripes with the game? While the game moves at 60 frame per second and the environments are decent, everything else is a grab-bag. The car models are dull and they lack detail. They look like four wheels attached to some car-ish looking body and that’s it. Maybe I’m too use to Gran Turismo 5, but they look boring. There are bushes in the environment but as you drive through them, they pass through your car. To create a mental image for you, if you stop on a cactus, the cactus will come through your roof and it hardly slows you down. Other clipping issues apply when banging into racers or hitting signs. Very sloppy compared to how the environments look. On top of that, the menus and UI are blurry. They work well enough, but still...
What really puts me off is the FEEL of the game. Driving in Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is not satisfying at all. You feel as if you are on top of an ice rink, skating through turns. There is no feeling of driving involved, really. To make matters worse, there is no vibration either, so crashes are empty and detached. When I hit something, I want to KNOW I hit something. At certain points in the races, objects like rocks or snowballs (yes, snowballs) will fall on the course to inhibit the race. If you crash into these boulders, they go flying on screen. It looks very silly.
Aside from the environments and the 60 fps, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad feels half-ass and consequently, is a little below mediocre. I blew through the career in about two hours and spent that time racing through the same 4 or 5 tracks over and over again. I was bored silly by the end. So, I have to ask, is it WORTH the $9.99? No, it’s not. I say to you fellow gamers, just save up an extra twenty bucks and get Dirt 3, which is far more superior. Even if you played the hell out of Dirt 3, go back and play it again instead of getting this. There is nothing exciting here and it won’t provide you with the racing experience you need. Hell, even Gran Turismo 5’s rally racing is better than this, and I thought THAT was half-ass.