Milestone Interactive has not been unemployed at the end of the last decade, synonymous with the end of the console generation. Between Ride, MotoGP, Monster Energy Supercross, and MXGP, the Milanese studio has produced more than a dozen titles in 3 years since 2018 (!). I was impatiently awaiting the first baby adapted to a next-gen console, I am talking about the brand new PS5 and its DualSense controller. 2021 offers us this first draft with motocross and MXGP 2020, already published on PC and old-gen mid-December.
In fact, this is the sixth episode dedicated to the MXGP championship, fifth in five years, the latter can face some obstacles despite a real feeling of technical progress over time. Developed each season with little time between each title, stagnation lurks and could stain the new beast from Sony. I was also expecting a smooth technical transition first and some surprises in the content, quite dull in the last installments.
A BRAND NEW ENGINE CALLED PS5
And from the start of the first race, regulars of the saga will feel the subtleties of the PS5. Visually already, exit the usual framerate drops during passages with a high density of pilots. The modeling of racers, motorcycles, and tracks remains in the nails of the last games, special mention to the raindrops and pieces of earth projected on the screen during intense games. The most striking remains the fluidity of the animations and the game. The next-gen aspect is felt, the title avoids frustrating collision bugs even if it nitpicks on certain tiny corner cuts. In addition, the design of the various circuits and their backgrounds have been redesigned, some of them being really magnificent in good weather, while in the event of bad weather it is especially the muddy visual that is in the spotlight. I also find the same dynamic as the MX games in the series, namely forming perilous furrows on the first pass before exploiting them on the following laps (especially when the track is very muddy). Something to salivate while thinking of the next Ride, ME Supercross, and MotoGP planned by Milestone.
The cabin remains balanced in the freedoms promised by MXGP 2020 since novices will be able to switch to standard physics in order to discover the demands of the sport smoothly, while hardcore gamers will pounce on advanced physics and customize the bike at will (suspensions, wheelbase, transmission ratio, etc.). There are some under the body, but also in the DualSense. Milestone has done a quality job on the latter, vibrations (landings of jumps, turns, and even engine running when stopped) through the resistance of the triggers in the race and the sound effects. A delight.
WHEN THE BODY SOUNDS HOLLOW
Unfortunately, Santa Claus is only half-past for fans of the series. The sensations are there, whether in advanced or standard physics, but are not accompanied by content worthy of the name. Spearheading most single-player racing games, MXGP 2020 Career rests on its timid achievements. Like MXGP 2019, I determine as a prelude a sponsor to have a bike with predefined or customizable settings, before chaining the championships in a more or less fast format. It's disappointing, even if the licensed riders, official circuits, and motorcycles from the MXGP championship are there. The small career innovations brought by the Supercross license are always a long way off. The victories or the results gleaned are soberly illustrated by the vision of his pilot with the end of the championship trophy, and there is no action to be carried out between the competitions to shake the anthill a little. Like many games of the genre, MXGP struggles to take this step to fully launch the immersion.
THE NAMED NORWAY ESCAPE
For the rest of the possibilities offered by the title, I find again the Playground, ex-Compound, understand the sandbox mode of MXGP. A map large enough to escape and perform the tricks of your choice in complete freedom. This year, the Norwegian scenery of Nordland is superb and offers a significant drop in the heart of the forest. Several challenges in the time trial and Waypoint (way to create your own routes by defining the start, finish, and checkpoints) dress the frame if you ever want to put your bike in condition, with the settings of the latter. at hand.
The Milestone stamped track editor is still there, with a very nice country background as well. Nothing moves at the level of its very fast handling. However, there is now only one set available, and the implemented elements are not yet customizable in the design to stand out and add some soul to the circuit. Let's finish with the online mode, which I would have liked to gauge on PS5, but the online servers are for the moment totally deserted. The price of the transition.
MXGP 2020 Review, the conclusion
Coming out of muddy tracks without much damage, I can say that MXGP has made a success of its next-gen transition in form. The sets and animations show a beautiful finesse, and the racing sensations, already of a good level on the previous installment are even more exhilarating on PS5. In addition, the Milestone teams have done a lot of work on the DualSense, enough to push the immersion even further and make the challenges even more exciting. I simply regret the lack of inspiration always shouting the series in its game modes, the career going no further than a simple series of races. This is the next perilous scrub for the Milan studio.
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