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May 23, 2005
MX Vs ATV Unleashed - Review
Release Date Distributor Developer Players Rating Difficulty
27/5/2005THQRainbow Studios1-2GMedium
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen
293KBDolby PLIIYesNoSmallNo

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Look, there's some ATV's!
Over the past few years two racing series have attracted quite a few fans, MX and ATV Offroad Fury. Both series selling points were fast paced arcade action, with last years MX Unleashed and ATV Offroad Fury, both being the highlights of the respective franchises. Sensing that maybe both series were running low on ideas and perhaps both series appealing to the same audiences they have decided to join forces. So is it two good games in one or one big letdown? Letís find out.

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.

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The game has some nice effects.
Winning races also unlocks the courses for use in other modes as well, but to unlock the extras like new clothes, rides, challenges etc. you will also have to race with some flair. This is achieved by pulling off tricks, gaining big air and pulling off the various tricks like the superman, no hands and others is not as good as Tony Hawks tricks but is pretty fun. Unlike Tony Hawk games however you will have to carefully pick your spots for tricks, as some jumps lead into other jumps therefore giving you no place to land safely. Gaining the maximum possible air is achieved by pre loading, by pulling up then down on the left analogue stick you will load up your suspension to launch off jumps, the harder you preload the higher the air and the more chance to pull off tricks.

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.

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Heading up the hill...
None of this is helped out the games AI, which borderlines on crazy most of the time, if there is any contact between you and another racer nine times out of ten it will be you that eats the dirt. This is really annoying as usually the other riders just ram into you, or land on top of you and it puts you back to last while they go on their merry way. Another time this rears its ugly head is when you try and perform a trick, only to get nudged from behind and crash or when they perform a trick and land on you causing you to spill.

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.

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Monster trucks.
The graphics in MX VS ATV Unleashed do a fairly good job throughout. The riders and all the vehicles are nicely detailed, while the various track locations ice, sand, indoor, beach etc. all look pretty good. Some of the dirt tracks do look quite dull, but there is only so much you can do with dirt. So it is not as pretty as other PS2 racers, but it is good enough.

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

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse (PAL version)
GRAPHICSNothing outstanding, but they do the job.
SOUNDVery good soundtrack, featuring many cool bands that suits the game.
GAMEPLAYA real mixed bag, while it does feature good arcade action, it is letdown by its poor AI and track design.
VALUEThere is plenty to see and do, and there are plenty of goodies to unlock. As well as multiplayer, if you get into the game there is quite a bit to keep you entertained.
OVERALLMX Vs ATV Unleashed is a game that had tones of potential does not really deliver anything new to fans of either series.

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