Jeremy McGrath is best known for his motocross riding, so it comes as a surprise that his latest off-road racing game features no bikes at all. Instead, Jeremy McGrath's Offroad features a collection of rally cars, buggies and trucks to fling over jumps and tear up the desert. With the market having its fair share of off-roaders, will there be space for Jeremy, or will he be left in the dust of the competition?
Upon starting the game you are greeted by Mr McGrath telling you about off-road racing, then when waiting in the loading screens, he will pop up to tell you about different techniques that will help you to get to the top. This sounds like a good idea at the start when you have only heard his voice for the first couple of times, but when you are being told the same thing nearly every other loading screen it does start to get a bit annoying.
The racing takes place on only six tracks, which is quite disappointing, but you would hope that maybe this should lead to improved graphical quality. Unfortunately this is not the case, as even though the tracks are on a host of different surfaces, any form of difference in handling between ice, dirt and sand seems to have been lost, as all tracks feel the same to drive on.
Without vehicles, the tracks would be pointless, so Jeremy McGrath's Offroad has a handful of cars, (well all of five) to choose from, ranging from the slowest sport buggies to the faster trophy trucks. All vehicles have a upgrade system that lets you make your vehicle faster, or brake and handle better, by spending the XP that you earn. A word of warning though, if you are upgrading you better like the livery that you have chosen, because if you start upgrading a liveried vehicle then want to change it, you will need to spend all your hard earned points to get it up to the same point again.
As with most games now, there are a handful of game modes for you to try you skills at; from quick race to online multiplayer. Quick race allows you to choose a vehicle, a track, and go racing straight away; you will need to make progress in the career mode to unlock all the vehicles. Career mode puts you up against the best offroad racers, including Mr McGrath himself who you will always find up at the front of the field. However, due to the lack of courses you will find yourself re-running tracks rather quickly, even though you will unlock a new vehicle every six to seven races. The online mode seems to be a complete failure and if you can actually find a game I will be impressed; I have lost count of the amount of time I have spent in the lobby waiting for someone to join with no success.
Graphically, Jeremy McGrath's Offroad isn't the best, and the environments are no better than a late PS2 game, with shrubs and trees all looking the same, as well as the racing track showing no signs of wear when on multiple lap races and no spray appearing from the rather questionably smooth off-road tyres. On the odd occasion a couple of tracks will have "environmental effects". For example snowballs will come tumbling down the side of a mountain, but if the huge balls hit you, instead of ending your race, they bounce away so you can continue racing.
Overall, Jeremy McGrath's Offroad is a bit of a disappointment, from the lack of vehicles and tracks, to the uninspiring visuals. I knew it would never live up to the DiRT or MTX vs ATV series but I was still expecting slightly more. If you are looking for a cheap Off-road racer, sadly this one shouldn't be your first choice.
Jeremy McGrath's Offroad (Reviewed on PlayStation 3)
The game is average, with an even mix of positives and negatives.
Jeremy McGrath is best known for his motocross riding, so it comes as a surprise that his latest off-road racing game features no bikes at all. Instead, Jeremy McGrath's Offroad features a collection of rally cars, buggies and trucks to fling over jumps and tear up the desert.