Here we are with Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad available on PSN and XBLA. Simply put, this is a game that while it offers a “racing experience”, ends up being very average on its own, and is completely dwarfed in quality by similar titles like Dirt 3, and that series’ embarrassment of riches.
First off, a note to game developers, it is ok to hire whomever you want and slap their name on the title. But for God’s sake, could you at least do a voice over test to make sure they don’t sound like they are there to only collect a paycheck? McGrath, for all his extreme shenanigans in the past, comes across as one of the dullest dullards. Wooden performances aside, the overall presentation is nothing short of lifeless. This also goes for the environments. There are only 7 tracks, and other than a couple of exceptions, they all look very similar, both aesthetically and design. And by similar, I also mean bland and uninteresting. I will say that the trucks do look sharp and very clean (with McGrath’s Monster Energy branded truck conspicuously looking the best). Probably coincidence. “Dynamic Events” offers “hazards” that happen where you might have a few rocks or bales of hay come spilling onto the track to try to turn the tide of the race. All this would be fine, except you will be ahead of the pack by a country mile and will not have to worry about such things. Convenient right? This is all wrapped up in a package that is very bare bones. You have your arcade mode featuring your races and such, but you are only limited to the car types that you unlock through the career mode. Speaking of which, when you make a racing game that offers points for your positional finish, you might want to make it such that you actually need to have a certain amount in order to advance. The bar is set so low that a baby could knock this out in an afternoon.
The “Deep RPG Elements” that feature in this game amount to gathering XP for doing things such as overtaking an opponent, or taking out one of the many, many, many advertisement boards that litter the sides of the tracks. The idea of persistent leveling is ok in theory, but the reality of it is hindered by several damning elements. 1: You can upgrade each vehicle pre-race, in order to compensate for that class of vehicle’s weaknesses, but the upgrades are locked to the paint job that you choose, which may be more of a cosmetic nitpick, but I found it a bit strange. The second point is the big one, because of the aforementioned lack of motivation for actually coming in first in any of the races, it completely nullifies the need to have an upgrade system in the first place.When you promote “Deep RPG Elements” for your game, make sure that it actually is more than an afterthought. The racing itself barely makes the average grade, and while they handle well enough, it is not enough to hold your attention for long. And as for the sound? I have heard 1920 jalopy wrecks with an engine that constantly backfires, that sounds better than the vehicles here.
All in all, this game is simply not good enough. With a difficulty level that is non-existant, boring racing and flawed gameplay premises, JMO does all it can to come last in the fun department.