Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is a solid arcade game with the right capabilities. The game has solid controls. It feels like the earlier arcade games, where the cars are easy to control and the player could simply stay on the gas the whole time. The graphics are also above average for an arcade game. Overall, the game is fun to play with a few minor flaws.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad is a true arcade racer. By this, I mean that the games’ controls are easy to pick up. Just like any standard racing game, you have a hand brake and a regular brake giving the player basic control over the car. Unlike most racing games that come out, there is no nitro boost function. Instead the game gives the player a clutch boost button. The clutch boost allows the player to boost out of turns. I however, was not able to figure out how to use it consistently and the game does not help with this either. Aside from the games one fault with the clutch boost, the controls are easy to use.
Like any good arcade racer, the cars are easy to control. This takes me back to arcades where you could sit in a racing chair, simply hammer down the acceleration pedal, and only let it up when the race is over. The only times that a player needs to really control the car is during a hairpin turn, and on the highest difficulty level. The hairpin turns are difficult only if a player keeps the acceleration down. They become no problem once the player has command of the hand brake and can simply drift around the turn. The game becomes slightly harder to control on the harder levels, but not by a large margin. When a player ups the difficulty, the cars become slower and are only a little harder to control. However, both of these concerns can be corrected if a player uses their upgrades.
Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad has five classes of vehicles and several skins for each class. Along with the multiple classes and skins, the game allows a player to upgrade the cars. The five classes are rally cars, trophy trucks, pro-buggies, and pro-lite trucks. The class of vehicle does not change the handling; it just makes the vehicle faster. This was a slight let down for me. In racing games, getting to the best set of vehicles was always the most fun because they had better handling and were way faster. In Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad, the class does not have as much significance as it does in other games.
The upgrades for the game make it completely unbalanced. Throughout the game as a player progresses through the career, which is not much of a career and I will get to that in a moment, the player gains experience and then gains upgrade points that can go into one of four categories. The categories are handling, top speed, acceleration, and braking. On the lower difficulty levels, a player can simply blow past the competition with only using one or two upgrade points. On the highest difficulty level, the points have to be used less sparingly. However, if a player maxes out their points in top speed, they can compete with the next class of vehicle. The upgrade for acceleration and handling provides an even wider margin of error for the player. While this is not a bad thing, it also means that the player doesn’t have to concentrate on the game.
The career mode is a glorified arcade mode. The game has no story line and the only dialogue in the game comes from McGrath who gives helpful hints in between races. The career mode is just an option the player has in not choosing the next track that is going to be raced. It’s also a way for the player to unlock the next class of vehicle as well as receive more upgrade points. I have no problem with the game having no story; it’s an arcade game that focuses on the racing more than anything else.
The graphical quality of Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad is well above average. All of the cars look crisp and each are slightly different. The tracks look great, but the flora leaves something to be desired. The cars all look like legitimate off-road vehicles. They all have sponsor logos and the necessary equipment to go off and race in a real off-road race. However, the one thing that must be commented on is despite that they’re all different, the differences are minuscule and only cosmetic. The racetracks are also very good for an arcade game. Just like the cars, each track is different; you can go from being in the desert, to the forest, and to being in the snow. The changes in landscape, just like with the cars are completely cosmetic and doesn’t affect the cars’ abilities. Just off to the side of the tracks, there are bushes and trees that will slow the player’s car down, however all of the bushes and trees are 2-D. The 2-D bushes are pleasant, if you can stay on the track. As soon as your car goes off the track, they no longer look good.
Jeremy Mcgrath’s Offroad also allows for an 8-player multiplayer, which is a bunch of fun, when you can get 8 people together. Currently because the game is so new, not a whole lot of people are playing online. Aside from the difficulty finding a game, the online play is fun and satisfying.
Overall, the game is promising. The lack of a story for the career mode does not make the game unplayable, nor does the 2-D bushes and trees. The clutch boost, while confusing, doesn’t disrupt the playing experience either. All of these factors do somewhat take away from the game, but it is still enjoyable. Jeremy McGarth’s Offroad is a racing game that you can simply sit back, relax and play. The game does not require a bunch of thought to play, which is what makes it so much fun.
Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad gets a 7 out of ten.