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MX vs. ATV Untamed

Score: 76%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: THQ
Developer: Tantalus
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Racing

Graphics & Sound:

There are a few things in this world that you wonder to yourself "why in the hell do I like this?" For example, coffee; it is bitter, nasty and takes a ton of sugar and sweetener to really enjoy. I don't have to have it, but I do occasionally enjoy it. So let us apply this line of thinking to MX vs. ATV: Untamed. I have a few issues with the game, which we will get into later, but overall I found myself continually wanting to go back and get a race in. I think it may have, at its core, rekindled my nostalgia for Excite Bike. Yeah, there are a few years between the two games, and some innovations in graphics, but there is little different to me about playing the two.

The graphics are about as simple as they can be. That is, and still be able to distinguish the bike, or rider, from the ground. There are plenty of animations, but they all seem very repetitive. The motion of the rider looks fairly believable, but it just all comes together to be very robotic and plastic.

The music is just one pulsating, repetitive rock riff after another. There are nothing really to distinguish between any of the other tracks. You can hear the engines rev, but again, here the feeling of it being described as "just simple enough to get by" still comes to mind.


Gameplay:

MX vs. ATV: Untamed has very little mystique about what they are going for in this game and who they are targeting. If you have seen any of the advertising campaigns, then you know there is little left to the imagination of the sought-after audience. Start off by creating your profile, then it is very much off to the races.

At its core, this is a cookie-cutter race game. Choose your ride, the track and your rider. Then just go fast, stay in control and get beat by catch up A.I. Well, that is how the A.I. feels. The tracks appear very one dimensional on the surface, but after running a few, there are at least a few attributes to each that show some thought to the actual design. The jumps are well spaced to force you to have the correct momentum or suffer the consequences.

More than just racing around in circles, you have the ability to choose between, and race against, either MX and/or ATV vehicles. Just for those who don't know, MX stands for Motor Cross, and ATV is for All Terrain Vehicles and Quads (four wheels). You can race mixed classes of both, or single out one type or another. You can also race up to 4 of your friends in Multi-Player Mode.

Inside, you can take part in four different modes including the already mentioned Multi-Player Mode. In the X-Cross Tournament, you race to win in order to unlock new events and "other goodies." Next, you have the Stunt Challenge where you pull off tricks to gain the highest points. If you decide competing against your friends, time or the laws of gravity are not for you, then you can create your own Custom Event. Set everything the way you want it and go.


Difficulty:

MX vs. ATV: Untamed is all about course memorization and learning how to pop your clutch in order to get speed bursts while powering through turns or going off of jumps. There are two initial difficulty settings of Amateur and Pro. If you find yourself off track for any period of time, you will get an indicator pointing you in the right direction. If you don't get on track, it will count it as a crash and set you up ready to go again. You will be behind everyone, but hey, you should have stayed on course. When you do crash, you assume this interesting fetal position as you flop around. Stay on the track and you will not have this issue. You have an easy to use magical gyroscopic motorcycle that can be positioned mid-flight, so setting up your landings is very easy.

Game Mechanics:

b>MX vs. ATV: Untamed does not push the envelope in any one arena. The music is simple, but effective. The tracks are simplistic, but actually have well placed jumps and gullies. Is all of this a bad thing? I would say no. The fact is I was happy that I could get in and race a nice and addictive little racer. The Stunt set up, on the other hand, had no in-game tutorial or lesson, which forced you to go to the manual to figure out how to work it. I am not a big fan of having to learn a videogame's mechanics. Again, though, it didn't stop me from trying to get in and get a race going. You have the ability to pop your clutch in order to get a speed burst. I've personally never been on a dirt bike jumping a forty foot gap, so I wasn't absolutely sure how to apply this feature correctly. Positioning your landings so you have the best momentum made sense. You did this by leaning back at the bottom and pushing up at the launch.

Though it was missing the Baja style ATV's that its big brothers had, the vehicles here were interesting to drive. I can't say it enough that the simplicity makes it a decent game. It is a good time filler, because you can get into a race quick and be done in a minute or two. It won't win any awards for innovation. It may not hold the attention of a younger player for long, but I see it as a title that can be popped in and played at anytime.


-WUMPUSJAGGER, GameVortex Communications
AKA Bryon Lloyd

Sony PlayStation Portable Atari Classics Evolved Sony PlayStation 2 MX vs. ATV Untamed

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated