Jeremy McGrath Offroad is as the name suggests, an arcade style offroad racing game that features the now semi-retired Motocross Hall of Fame driver Jeremy McGrath.
Developed by 2XL Games and published by D3 Publisher, the game features Pro Buggies, Rally Cars and Pro-Lite Trucks all rendered in a smooth 60fps with a simplistic approach to vehicle customisation.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is a back to basics arcade racer, in as much as the main focus is one of racing and not so much on setting up suspension travel, gear ratios, limited slip diff settings or tuning the engine with limitless add-ons, JMO does allow player cusomisations, or upgrades, to the limited number of vehicles available in each race, but these are just to increase top speed, handling, acceleration, and braking, but make sure you chose your vehicle / livery wisely as the upgrade points don’t transfer, This is where a fully-fledged XP system with collectables and unlockables would have been a major plus point.
In a downloadable arcade-style game you’re not going to get backdrops comparable to those found in such games as the Dirt series, but 2XL have done a good job in creating unique tracks with the limited amount of terrain types that you can actually race off road buggies and trucks on, such as jungle, desert and frozen landscapes, and once you get to grips with upgrading your vehicles speed and handling it is quite a fun to play off-road racer, especially when you change the camera view to the hood camera for an added sensation of speed and realism as you pass the competent AI who use the best racing lines and who will also fight you for places every chance they get. The only issue I found with the AI was that if you have upgraded your vehicle and during the race you’ve battled your way to the front of the pack the AI almost seemed at times to give up and by the tenth race my season points total had risen to around 190, while the mighty Mcgrath was in second place with only 137 points..
JM Offroad has a few modes to its digital gaming belt, with an arcade mode for single races including time trials and a career mode that takes you through seven tracks and five vehicle classes with races consisting of either eight cars or a staggered start that sees you catching up and passing your competitors fairly quickly, there’s also an online multiplayer mode that again has a max of eight players on six tracks, and strangely for an arcade racer there’s no split screen, which may be sorely missed by some.
One thing that caught me by surprise was the falling hazards that most racing tracks would avoid at all costs, such as big round straw bales, tress and huge lumps of snow, being an arcade game you can get away with these things, and once you’ve encountered them a few times you’ll soon learn their path and get around them.
Jeremy McGrath Offroad looks good in 1080p running at 60 frames per second,
not state of the art by any means, but still pleasing on the eye even though the track surfaces don’t seem to have any effect on your cars handling with the exception that going off track into the overgrown areas will slow you down, but hitting fences and sometimes cactus’s tress sees no damage to the car, I say sometimes, because there were a few times that hitting a cactus would cause the car to stop in its tracks, apart from this the game just lets you concentrate on winning the race whilst in the background helicopters and cop-dusters buzz the sky.
Jeremy McGrath does feature in the game himself as the voice of your co-driver warning you of upcoming turns, this can become annoying after a while but it is possible to turn his voice down in the options if you prefer to just have the sound of your engine backfiring as your backdrop.
In summary, Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is a fun arcade racer, but don’t go thinking its comparable to the likes of the DiRT series, keep this in mind and you’ll find JM Offroad to be a competent casual racer that captures the spirit of offroad arcade racing really well. A fully integrated XP system with unlockables and collectables would have been a major plus point, as would the addition of local split screen co-op and more vehicle optimisations.
7.5 / 10