Dirt Bike Games that Bring the Track to You
The first dirt bike game, called Excitebike, made its debut in Japan in 1984 and received it’s American release a year later on the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES). While some dinosaurs like me might still think that seems like it was yesterday, in reality, that was 35 years ago! While Excitebike is still one of my favorites, the video game industry has made leaps and bounds from the 8-bit, side-scrolling days of old.
So, children of the ’80s and video game lovers of all ages, let’s shake off our collective cobwebs! Take a look at some of today’s best and most realistic dirt bike racing games.
MTX Mototrax (PS2, Xbox, PC: 2004)
IGN.com Rating – 7.2/10
Technology in video games advances so quickly, so it’s funny that MTX Mototrax looks almost primitive by today’s gaming standards. However, if you ask anyone who regularly played dirt bike video games in the early 2000s, they would tell you that MTX Mototrax is one of their favorites.
The game begins touring around dirt biking legend Travis Pastrana’s compound and features racing and stunt modes to challenge players in every way. It is also one of the earliest dirt bike games to have more realistic features. For instance, one feature lets you prep your shocks for stunt jumping by manipulating the controller toggles. It also has a first-person POV mode available to put you closer to the action. If you’ve never had the pleasure of giving this one a spin, take a look at some real gameplay.
While Mototrax is very impressive for its time, let’s talk about some more up-to-date dirt bike games.
MX Vs. ATV Reflex (PS3, Xbox 360: 2010)
IGN.com Rating – 7.8/10
Something you’ll probably notice by looking at our list is that 3 of our 5 games are from the MX video game franchise. This is for the simple fact that no matter what game console you’re using, the geniuses at Rainbow studios make some of the best dirt bike games.
One of the landmark additions to this iteration was true-to-life track degradation. As you spin your tires through the mud, you can actually tear it up just like in real life, which forces the player to carefully consider how they’re racing.
This title also added the Reflex control system. Rather than controlling your rider and bike as one unit, in this release, players controlled the vehicle with the left analog stick and the rider with the right analog stick. This means more realistic leaning during turns, which allow you to get a virtual reality feel in your gaming experience.
Check out this gameplay footage and see for yourself!
MUD FIM Motocross World Championship (PS3, Xbox 360, PC: 2012)
Metacritic Rating – 5.6/10
MUD has mixed reviews for one simple reason: there are only 12 tracks in the game. This dirt bike game might not have the most variety, but it makes up for that in how many people it allows you to play with. MUD is able to get up to 12 players in a single race.
So now you’re not racing against faceless AI with no real stakes. In this dirt bike game, you’re racing against your 11 other friends who are in the room with you (or on their own PCs at home). Everyone is going for the glory of those bragging rights for being able to outrace 11 other real people. The game also has a similar track degradation feature to the dirt bike game listed above, and it can prove to be a challenging play for even the most hardened joystick warriors.
It also has really great graphics! Watch that gameplay video to see how effectively the game developers use light and shadow to make the track more difficult to see, which gives the player a bigger challenge!
MXGP3 (PS4, Xbox One, PC: 2017)
Metacritic Rating – 7.8/10
MXGP3 is regarded by a lot of players as one of the best dirt biking game titles ever released for any video game system. The graphics are gorgeous and the gameplay feels real and authentic. Real riders who know the difference say this feels like the real thing.
Track degradation effects the way you ride. Even more, you can bump other riders, and you feel like you have actual weight when your jumping. No more of the hanging in zero-g crap, this is the real deal Holyfield.
Take a look at the GOPRO setting this rider is using and tell me that doesn’t feel like the real thing. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
MXGP Pro (PS4, Xbox One, PC: 2018)
Metacritic Rating – 7.5/10
Milestone birt bike games continue to outdo themselves with the MX series. Replacing what would have been MXGP 4, we have the Pro title, featuring the newly enhanced Pro physics. It has won awards as one of the best Xbox games of 2018 as well as for being one of the most talked about video games of 2018 by Metacritic.
Players love it as well! They praise the game for its progress in the feeling of physics as well as how clean the audio sounds. While Excitebike might have sounded like a toy dirt bike in a tin can, with this game you can almost smell the gasoline.
Take a look at some gameplay in all of it’s 1080p 60fps glory. Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?
Get Ready to Play these Dirt Bike Games
So there’s the list of our favorite dirt bike video games of the new millennium. A few of these are available for purchase on Steam, so check them out, we highly recommend them!
And if you feel like getting on a real dirt bike to get some unmistakable authenticity, take a look at our list of the best dirt bike tracks around the U.S.A.!