Mud, glorious mud! There’s enough spectacularly speckled mud in MXGP 2020 to satisfy even the most ravenous appetites. Hearty banquets of speed and power are yours to feast on, in a game for fans of two-wheeled-mud-spraying-heart-starting racing.
You could easily be forgiven for confusing MXGP 2020 with MXGP 2019. The similar menu systems and the general play of this game are almost identical to last year’s model. The biggest improvements have been made via some fantastic graphics, reduced load times and a race experience that puts you firmly in the saddle of these high-powered fun machines.
MXGP 2020 looks fantastic on the new-gen PS5. Cranking out lap after lap in 4K at 60FPS is exactly the way that this game should be enjoyed. One of the annoyances from MXGP 2019 was the oppressive load times, which thankfully are next to non-existent on the PS5 – you’ll spend more time in the mud, dust and rain than ever before.
The updated rain and mud effects are almost enough to make you feel dirty enough to want to wash your face after the race. In fact, these races are at their best when the conditions are at their worst, and the noise also hits pretty hard. MXGP bikes are anything but subtle, and MXGP 2020 revels in that fact, supercharging the throaty bursts of energy to capture the magic that is dirt bike racing.
Once you’re off and racing, which happens surprisingly quickly, it’s actually hard to separate the fun and the intense focus required to compete at the top level. Where the Supercross series of games give you the jumps, tricks and flips, MXGP 2020 delivers a sim racing experience that’s as accessible as it is fun. Sure, you can pull out some big whips, but more often than not you’ll find better speed with your wheels firmly digging into the ground.
Bumping bars with the big boys in the career mode is incredibly fun. The competitiveness of the AI ranges from let’s-be-best-friends to murder-you-in-your-sleep. Even on the easiest setting, your opponents will be all over your mistakes like mud on a gumboot. If you stray off the track or take a spill, you’ll instantly reset at a standstill in the middle of the track, watching almost the entire field pass you by in an instant. Luckily, the rewind feature allows you to correct your mistakes like some sort of two-wheeled Marty McFly.
The PS5 haptic feedback on the new DualSense controller hits the next level, with realistic response to engine revs and control over the bumps and dips. Over the longer distance races, it becomes a full-on physical experience, which immerses you even more in the racing.
Spending time in the world of MXGP 2020 is a treat. Bumping up the race lengths to realistic settings, including a full championship weekend, is fantastic because it puts you in the saddle for more of your playtime. You can absolutely get lost in some of the tuning features, but they can be very much set and forget once you find the right combination.
The track editor is likewise fun. You get to create something as devilishly difficult as you dare, and share it online to challenge the multiplayer masses. You can add in hills or mountain sections for additional challenge. Meanwhile, there’s already access to the full 19 tracks from the 2020 MXGP season, which are faithfully recreated and challenging enough.
The Playground is back again, and it’s probably the most fun game mode to crank things up. When another 19 fierce opponents aren’t trying their best to land their bikes on your head, MXGP 2020 becomes a much more relaxing experience. You can carve up some beautiful green grass, whip out the backend off some sizable waterfalls, or dodge trees around an environment inspired by the Norwegian fjords. It’s a perfectly peaceful way to tear up your own little piece of nature. Good news as well is that you’ll be able to enjoy this in co-op mode once the future developments land.
Overall, the lack of progression makes this feel like it’s merely a high-definition update of MXGP 2019, which is perfectly fine. MXGP 2020 is dragging the game into the next gen by the skin of its teeth. It would’ve been nice to see some more substantial inclusions over the previous edition, however there’s still plenty of mud and bumps to share around. There are tiny improvements over last year’s edition, making MXGP 2020 a gradual, gorgeous step towards the new-gen gaming that we’ve all been waiting for.
MXGP 2020: The Official Motocross Videogame is available now on PS5.