You don't see many Off-road titles racing to Xbox Live Arcade very often. We've only had a few in the past, with Jeremy McGrath's Offroad being the third. The game is developed by 2XL Games, the same guys who developed Baja; Edge of Control and ATV Off-road. The question is, is their latest title worth getting dirty for?
Jeremy McGrath's Offroad features a variety of four-wheeled 800 horsepower vehicles. From buggies, rally cars and racing trucks. The career is where most of your time will be spent. You begin with buggies in one lap races. As you progress, you will move on to longer laps and bigger vehicles, like Rally cars and trucks. There's only six tracks throughout the career, but they have a decent amount of bumpy terrain and windy roads to keep you engaged. Although, It only takes around two hours to complete the career, and the AI doesn't seem very challenging, even on the medium setting. The vehicles themselves handle realistically, but they don't seem to change with each vehicle class.
The game features an upgrade system. As you overtake opponents, power slide, or perform high jumps, for example, you will earn experience points These can then be used to upgrade the available vehicles, from the handling, speed and so on. It adds a bit more depth to the career, but it doesn't help make the game more interesting than it already is. It's not a broken game, nor is it terrible, I just found it very basic. If you are expecting great thrills, those found in Dirt, JMO might disappoint. The game does what it says on the cover, and nothing more. After the career mode, you can play an arcade mode, along with a multiplayer feature. But it's nothing that will keep you hanging around for very long.
The game does have a few irritations. Firstly, the loading screen can be a annoying. You will hear Jeremy give you some tips, and it's all well to begin with. Then you realise he is repeating them over and over again. This is the only resemblance to Jeremy in the game. Apart from him popping up in the menu and loading screen, there's nothing else to represent his name.
I also found a few camera issues along the way. At times, the camera will move into the direct you are turning. Most of the time it will correct itself, but sometimes it will focus away from the track and stay there. This left me fighting with the analog stick, so I could see where I was going.
When it comes to the visuals, it doesn't look half bad for a digital download. Each of the tracks have a nice amount of detail. There's also moving scenery. For example, a plane flying above the sky, or a rock tumbling down a mountain. It makes the tracks feel more lively. Although, it still looks like something for the last generation.
Jeremy McGrath's Offroad isn't a terrible game, but it's not a great one. It's a very basic Offroad arcade racer. It does have enough to justify the 800MP, but just don't expect it to last very long.
Review by Gareth Smith