Posted by drew10 on Jul 7, 2012
Jeremy McGarth’s Offroad – Reverb Communications – XBLA

Jeremy McGarth’s Offroad – Reverb Communications – XBLA

What can be more fun and relaxing than a nice quiet drive through the countryside? The smell of the plants and the fresh open air and the feint sound of a roaring V8 as it screams over another jump! Arrggghh Get out of my head Clarkson!

Phew, right now that curly-headed twat has gone let me introduce Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad. Developed by 2XL Games for XBLA and PSN this is a white-knuckle offroad racer not for the feint of heart.

Featuring lots of real offroad vehicles, the type you would see on the Paris Dakar rally for example, you and you foes thunder through the wilderness of various countries. Along the way you are ably guided by the voice of  real-life offroad master Jeremy McGrath who will impart his knowledge upon you with tips and tactics.

The game features loads of offroad vehicles from rally cars to pro buggies and pro lite trucks. Each can be upgraded by using points gained from races, handling, speed, acceleration and braking can all be significantly improved.  The races themselves are either split into rally-style stages or full on races against a field of tough opponents.

The main thing you notice about JMO is the production values that shine throughout the title. The look of the stages is simply stunning, from dusty wastelands to snow-covered stages each is gorgeously drawn in full 1080p. The game is no slouch either zipping along at a full 60FPS, in fact I haven’t noticed a single graphical glitch or slowdown. As I said this game isn’t for the feint hearted. There are nice extra touches too, like a crop-dusting plane flying overhead and rocks that fall onto the road. Due to the sheer speed that these cars travel there will be times when you can’t see what lies ahead on the road. Luckily you have a trusty co-pilot to inform you of any crests, bends or obstacles upcoming.

Controlling these vehicles isn’t easy, especially on the surfaces that you will be racing on. You will need to chose your car carefully and upgrade it to suit your style of play. You can set the car up at the start of each race with various pre-set options. These will give you better grip, a balanced set-up between speed and handling or soft suspension with extra speed. From my experience having the fastest set-up is by far the best but learning to control the car properly is essential. Whilst this is an arcade racer it also borrows quite heavily from real life. You do not get massive turbo boosts, instead you will need to learn the clutch boost to accelerate you out of corners. And of course power-sliding is essential.

The game features the usual quick race; a full career mode in which you follow Jeremy’s quest to win the Lucas Oil Offroad Series and also up to 8-player online racing. There are three difficulty settings, each can be changed at the start of each race and they do make a great deal of difference to the AI of your opponents.

If there is a gripe with this game its that there is no replay feature, with graphics as good as these it would have been nice to have been able to see your race again from TV camera angles. It is a shame but in no way affects the games score.

Overall Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is an accomplished racer with production values that way exceed its 800 MS points (£9.99 PSN) price-tag. It is fast fun and gorgeous and with the online multi-player should have tons of replay value. If you are a racing fan then this is a must buy.




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