MXGP 2 - Video Game
Motocross video games don't come out very often; we got MX vs ATV: Supercross last year, MXGP the year before that, but then there's a pretty big gap to the last motocross title. Luckily, Milestone is trying to make their MXGP series an annually-released title like their other major racing games. That's great for us fans, as we're always foaming at the mouth for a new video game, especially one that contains replica tracks. With that being said, the biggest problem with an annual release schedule is the lack of development time the developer has to improve the game from year-to-year. That means they have to place a level of priority on each feature, leading to some not receiving any improvements. This seems to be the biggest issue with the newest MXGP title. There's no doubt that there are some good things to say about MXGP 2, but there are many things wrong with it as well. Read on as we go in-depth with all of the game's features and game modes.
MXGP 2 Features:
- Career mode.
- Motocross of Nations mode.
- Stadium series mode (Supercross).
- Real events mode.
- Bike customization.
- Rider customization.
- 18 replica tracks.
- Every 2015 MXGP team.
- Every major OEM bike brand.
The career mode is by far the biggest draw for the MXGP series. Everyone wants to progress their rider from a small privateer team to a multi-time champion on a factory team, and you can do that in this game.
It starts out with you selecting a bike brand and a small sponsor that will help you get to a few wild card rounds as a privateer. You then attend two random rounds in the 2014 series as a privateer to impress some teams. Now, there are a few different ways you can tackle this portion of the career mode. You can jump right into the mode after buying the game, resulting in you racing your wildcard rounds on a completely stock bike. Or you can race the other modes before beginning your career, allowing you to customize your bike with parts using the funds you have accumulated. These two routes can result in drastically different results in your first two races as a pro. The biggest problem with this part of the career mode is that no matter how well you do in your wild card races, the same low-level teams will offer you contracts for the next year. They don't have terrible bikes, but if you go undefeated in your first two races as a professional you'd think some of the top tier teams would be interested. Nonetheless, you either sign with a low-level team or remain a privateer for the start of the next season.
Once you get past the wild card races, you enter your first full season as a pro rider. This is where the excitement begins and where the issues really start to become noticeable. The schedule of each round is nice. You can do a full weekend which includes practice, qualifying, and two motos. Or you can also just choose to do the motos if you have no interest in qualifying, but you will get 22nd gate pick every time. It really depends on whether or not you want your experience to be as realistic as possible.
I started out my career on the hardest setting for both AI difficulty and physics, and I got a podium on a completely stock Honda. That's not a realistic result. A rookie will never podium in MXGP aboard a completely stock CRF250...it just won't happen. This was my biggest problem with the first game as well, because the easy AI makes the game repetitive and boring not long into your career. It's hard to have the motivation to complete a six or seven year career when you can easily walk away from the competition in most races. And honestly, I shouldn't be beating Jeffrey Herlings as a rookie on a low-level Honda. The lack of difficulty can easily lead to a semi-skilled rider nearly going undefeated in their rookie season. At that point, you just feel like moving up to the MXGP class where the difficulty is the exact same. So you dominate there, and then you might defend your title once but after that it starts to lose its magic. Granted, the time it takes to complete a few seasons of this game is easily nine or so hours which is close to the same length as a narrative video game. But racing games are supposed to have a very high level of replay-ability, and this game's career mode doesn't have that.
The last gripe I have about the career mode is the team system. No matter how well you do in your first season as a pro, it takes the same amount of time for the top teams to offer you a contract. If I'm undefeated six rounds in, Red Bull KTM should be blowing up my phone with a big money offer... Not HSF Logistics KTM. The other problem with the team system is that once you sign with a factory team, after six rounds go by you can choose to sign with another team. I'm not an expert, but I don't think that's how contracts work. If you sign with Monster Energy KRT MX2 at the beginning of the season and win six overalls in a row, they aren't going to let you leave for Suzuki World MX2. They need to change the team system to actually include a realistic contract length. The more reputable the team, the longer the contract? Those are my biggest points, you can check out the quick pros and cons out below.
- Full 2015 schedule.
- You can sign with any of the 2015 teams.
- Full race day schedule exactly like real life.
- Red plate for points leader of each class.
- You can customize your rider's boots, helmet, and goggles even when on a team.
- Team contracts are unrealistic and too short in length.
- You can go undefeated for the first six races of your career, and you won't be offered a factory contract.
- AI is too easy.
- Becomes repetitive after a few seasons.
Check out our gameplay of the career mode here.
Motocross of Nations Mode
The addition of the MXoN mode is nice. You relive the 2015 event with whichever nation you would like to ride as. Then each moto you are given a choice between the two riders that are riding for your country at that time. For example, when the USA has MXGP and MX2 on the line, you can choose Justin Barcia or Jeremy Martin. Again, the biggest problem with this mode is how easy the AI is, but the mode itself plays out exactly how you would expect it to. You get to race all three motos, and it's scored just like real life. There is a huge glitch in the third moto, though. I've tried this multiple times, and it seems no matter which rider you choose to ride as in moto three... You will have the highest handlebars in the world. The bars will be five or so feet above your rider's head. It's extremely distracting and takes your attention away from how awesome this game's graphics look.
- You can represent any nation you want to.
- Every rider is decked out in the gear they wore at the 2015 MXoN.
- You get to ride all three motos.
- You can choose between two riders for each moto.
- AI is too easy.
- Handlebar-glitchruins moto three.
Check out our MXoN gameplay here.
Stadium Series Mode
Supercross in an MXGP game? I was confused when it got announced too, but I also thought it could be very cool. The result is a mixed bag; the scaling isn't that bad, although some of the tracks have some very weird rhythm sections that do not make much sense. Another big issue is how this game just does not work with on-offs. It's almost impossible to get the lift and even if you do sometimes you'll case it for no reason. The whoops are also pretty unrealistic, as you can wheelie through them every lap and never get out of shape. The AI isn't as easy in this mode, but that's primarily because it's freaking hard to pass them. Forget trying to pass these moving brick walls in a corner, even the slightest contact with them can send you off course or even to the ground. That's not good when the tracks are so tight. Eventually you figure out that your only option is to pass them in the rhythm sections or whoops, but there's still a chance they will cut you off. This mode was executed better than I expected, but the mediocre AI, illogical rhythm sections, and tight tracks make it very frustrating.
- 22-rider gate.
- Scaling is not bad.
- You can play a full championship.
- Tight track plus brick wall AI does not mix.
- Some of the rhythm sections are not realistic.
- Whoops are way too easy. You just lean back and wheelie through.
Check out our Stadium Series gameplay here.
You can also check out an onboard view here.
If you played the first MXGP, the in-air physics in MXGP 2 are essentially the same. It's still very stiff, and you can move only from left to right. That's the extent of your freedom in the air. Your only other option in the air is to throw a whip or a scrub...and that's not much better. In my opinion, the whips in the first game werehorrendous, and most would agree with that statement. So I guess the whips in MXGP 2 are slightly better, but not by much. The whip mechanic is controlled by using the two joysticks on your controller, and I'm not a fan of it. We aren't talking about a two-stick system similar to MX vs ATV: Reflex. Oh no, we are talking about a two stick system that essentially throws an animated whip for you. The whip isn't very pretty, either. Granted, it's more realistic looking that the whips in the first game, but it's still so unsatisfying that I hardly ever attempt to throw one. My final issue with the the in-air physics is collisions. You can cross jump someone, fly into the middle of their bike, and just bounce off like a bumper car. Mid-air collisions should result in crashes, not bumper dirt bikes.
- You can complete rhythms.
- Whips are unrealistic.
- Whip controls are weird.
- Rider/bike is too stiff in the air.
- In-air collisions result in bouncing off of one another.
The ground physics are where I was disappointed the most. I thought the rider movement and how the bike cornered was great in the first MXGP game. The rider sat down and stood up in a realistic fashion, and you could either corner in a more arcade/drifting way or a more realistic way in which you brake hard and pivot. They changed it in MXGP 2, and I didn't feel like they needed to. This is one of worst changes they made to the game. You can still slightly power slide through corners, but it's not nearly as fun as it was in the first MXGP. Furthermore, it's very hard to pivot or quickly turn the bike now. Overall, I feel like it's a step down from the first iteration, but it's not a deal breaker.
- You can rail a berm.
- You can hug the inside.
- Rider is semi-stiff.
- Cornering technique has changed from the first game, and not in a good way.
Now we move into what I consider the best part of the game. The rider customization is great, such as customizing everything including your helmet, goggles, jersey/pants, boots, and neck brace. This is a huge step forward from the first game where all you could choose from was an assortment of Airoh helmets and SIDI boots. There are plenty of different combos for each brand and they will keep your rider looking fresh for a very long time. The only thing I wish they will do in regards to this portion of the game is add more gear brands in the future.
- Plenty of different brands.
- Several colorways for each brand.
- Wish there was an even larger selection of gear brands.
You can check out our video on rider customization here.
The bike customization is another great part of the game. The amount of different parts you can put on your bike is insane, and the variety of brands available is great as well. The only thing that could make this feature better is if they had a larger selection of bike graphics.
- Huge catalog of upgrade parts.
- Various options for each brand.
- Parts look great in-game.
- A larger selection of graphics would be nice.
You can check out our video on bike customization here.
The tracks are another thing MXGP 2 has going for it. They look phenomenal, are scaled pretty accurately, and have working ruts. There is even a little bit of track deformation that takes place which is a nice touch. Overall the tracks are solid, and Glen Helen looks fantastic. The only thing I would suggest working on is the lack of varied traction across the tracks. It's barely a noticeable change, if at all.
- Tracks look incredible.
- The ruts work.
- Sections are scaled pretty realistically.
- Track deformation is present.
- The team did a great job of replicating the layouts of these tracks.
- Traction doesn't appear to change from track-to-track.
Check out our Glen Helen gameplay here.
Online is not one of Milestone's strengths, and it never has been, as they've had a history of games not performing well online. MXGP 2 online isn't terrible, as most of the time you can connect to a server and race with your friends or random riders. Don't be surprised if you randomly get disconnected though, it happens from time-to-time.
- You can play online with friends.
- You may not be able to connect to your friend's lobby.
- Your lobby may close out in the middle of a race or championship.
As you can see, MXGP 2 has a fair amount of issues. Even I was surprised at how many problems I found with the game. But after looking at how much they really factor into the core gameplay, MXGP 2 is not a bad game, and it should satisfy the casual motocross fan. Sure, it's got plenty of small problems that MX game enthusiasts will probably find frustrating, but even they should have fun with the game for several hours. The biggest deciding factor for most people, though, will be the price. I personally think the $50 price tag for this game is way too steep for a motocross game. But if you have an extra fifty smackers to throw around, I'd suggest picking up MXGP 2. Otherwise, you can probably stand to wait a few months for it to go on sale.