This game features plenty of game modes, Single and Multiplayer, Championship, Quick Race as well as plenty of real life riders. There are plenty of variations though in these fairly standard modes, things like racing, freestyle, trick comps, free ride, hill climbs and checkpoint. So there is certainly no shortage of options to choose from. During these modes you have the option of tackling the tracks on either a Quad or a Bike, or a mixture of both.
The real meat to this game is the championship mode, which runs over 16 weeks. Each race consists of 3 rounds with your two highest score counting towards your final score. The field of racers is 6, and if you finish lower than 4th you will have to try the race again. To break the game up every few rounds you will be challenged to take part in another race, this time in various vehicles, such as an airplane, dune buggy, monster truck, golf buggy and some other cool machines, during the game you will encounter over 40 unique challenges.
This game also achieves quite a bit of replay value in two player. If you and a friend like your arcade racers you should have a ball with this one. The two players can take part in pretty much all the various modes. The big disappointment however has to be the fact that the online modes that the US are enjoying have not made it to Australia. This mode not being included is a real shame, as it is a game that would be extremely enjoyable to play online.
Unfortunately it is not all plain sailing for MX vs. ATV Unleashed as it does contain a number of gameplay flaws that put a dampener on things. The first of which is what is known as Mario Kart syndrome, in that no matter how well or poorly you race you are always in the contest. While this is OK as you first play the game, it soon becomes more than annoying. For instance in one 3 lap race I broke two lap records and was going pretty well on the final lap only to slightly miss time the last jump of the race to watch all 5 riders go past me, so I finished last. Next race I crashed five times on one lap, but managed to get the win.
Another slight flaw with the game is the camera, while it usually does a good job of keeping up with the action sometimes when entering a corner it does not give you a good view of what is coming next. I am afraid it continues with the faults, there is not much noticeable difference between riding either the bikes or the quads they both handle the same, which is a big letdown. Also the challenges which do break up the game are a real mixed bag, some are fun like the rally type sections, but the controls for the plane are nearly impossible to use.
One of the real highlights of this title is the soundtrack. It contains many good rock bands and it really suits the games style. It features tunes by the Black Eyed Peas, Nickleback, Papa Roach and a few other cool bands. The other sounds are a bit of a letdown though as both the bikes and the quads sound pretty lame.
MX Vs ATV Unleashed is a bit of a letdown for me. I thought by combining the two series they would have had a hit title on there hands. Unfortunately the game comes off a bit lazy, and a big opportunity to dominate the market has been missed. Neither series has been improved in any way which will be a real shame for fans of either series. Still if you are a racing game fan, then you should still at least give the game a rental, due to its huge lineup of modes and good multiplayer appeal. For those that are not big racing fans you will probably want to give this one a miss.
Review By: Graham Darko