Game review: Jeremy McGrath's Offroad

Summer is here and most of us are trying to keep either ourselves or the kids entertained on a budget. Jeremy McGrath brings the entertaining world of off-road racing to the 360 and PS3 for 10 bucks. You won’t have to drive to anywhere to get this downloadable title.

Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad provides seven tracks to hill jump, power slide, and clutch-boost through. There is an arcade mode, a career mode, and an eight player online mode.  Offroad features multi-class racing with five different classes of off-road monsters like buggies, trophy trucks, and rally cars. 
The career mode doesn’t burn up a whole lot of time. I finished the entire career in a few hours. Offroad provides four difficulty settings so there is always the option of replaying it on a different difficulty setting. Arcade mode allows the player to take their vehicle of choice to their track of choice for some multi-class off-road action. The multiplayer lobbies provide legs for the game and the bulk of the play time.
How does it look, Jones?
I’m so very glad you asked! Jeremy McGrath’s Offroad looks like a AAA title. The vehicles are rendered beautifully and the environments all feature their own look and personality. Subtle touches such as a valley shadowed by a mountain and rainclouds on the horizon give the game an “I want to go there and see it for myself” feel. Frame rate is clean at 60 frames per second and the game looks great in HD at 1080p. 
The Dolby 5.1 Digital Surround also sounds great. Engine noises are distinctive. Players can tell vehicle type and how close it is without looking. Power slides on dirt provide an especially satisfying crunchy sound.
How does it play, Jones?
Game play is the real selling point of this title. The tracks are lengthy requiring some time to memorize. Single player difficulty is adjustable making the opposition as competitive as you want. Players may either battle and bump all the way to the finish line or dust the AI and grab some easy glory. Winning races nets experience points. Points are used to upgrade vehicles with handling, top end, acceleration and braking. Races feature environmental interference, such as boulders rolling onto the track, to level the playing field a bit. 
What aren’t you telling us, Jones?
Damn, you ask a lot of questions! I did find some collision issues. Trying to cut the corners a bit on the rain forest track I hit a tree that wasn’t there. While jumping players may find that their vehicle seems to flip for no apparent reason when the landing feels spot-on. The game provides several different driving perspectives: cockpit, bumper and behind the car. My biggest gripe about the game involved the “behind the car view.” Playing behind the car presented a major issue. The camera refuses to re-center on the track causing the player to jack with the camera while trying to pass on a corner. Tuning and painting may also be an issue for Forza fans. Cars cannot be personalized and tuning is not an option, but vehicles are upgradeable…sort of.
The Verdict
Despite the short legs and my little “nit-pickies,” the game is worth every cent of the ten bucks needed to download it. It’s fun, looks great and the multi-player action stretches the playability out considerably. The game takes up less than a GB of hard drive space, so you won’t have to delete a lot of stuff trying to cram it on the drive. Convince a clan mate or two to get the game and you’ll enjoy this one all summer long.


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