MX vs. ATV Unleashed


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Complete Review & Description

Since the Xbox 360 has hit our shores there has been more than enough space taken up on the shelf by racing games, with the quality being set at quite a high standard. But one area where racing hasn’t ventured, barring two rally games released, is off-road, and particularly of the motocross variety. This is where Rainbow Studios and THQ’s MX vs. ATV Untamed comes in.

Untamed takes all the elements of off-road racing and brings it to the seventh generation in style, letting you race through eight different events taking place in all sorts of environments, from small indoor dirt tracks to huge outdoor swamps and deserts.

To ride around these environments you have a choice of standard MX bikes and ATV quad racers, to dune buggies, monster trucks, and even pocket bikes. The different vehicles have their handling differences; MX bikes, for example, are more nimble but less stable than ATVs, but all of the vehicles are governed by Untamed’s rather soft stance on physics.

This makes the gameplay too unevenly balanced as it encourages you to go faster and higher, yet you will wreck far more using this method than racing conservatively. The X-Cross mode really points this out, as in it you will drive every type of vehicle in the game and playing in practically every single mode available as you make your way through a tournament.

Unlike the race modes that make up the majority of the X-Cross Tournament, the freestyle events are solely trick-based. Here, racking up trick points is the goal, and here is where the physics kick in. You’ll try a killer combo and land seemingly awkwardly yet still get the points, but on your next jump you’ll attempt a basic manoeuvre only to eat the dirt, despite landing similarly and having more time to steady yourself.

If frustration sets in during the X-Cross Tournament, there’s no shortage of other things to do as Untamed is packed with various modes. In addition to the aforementioned X-Cross, the game has a number of event series nationals, supercross and supermoto to take part in, as well the ability to customise single events of your choosing. Then there are the multiplayer options, including split-screen, LAN play and online play for up to 12 players.

Visually Untamed is a bit rough round the edges, as you’ll probably experience frame rate drops when heading in to corners with heavy traffic, and out of place textures occur throughout, especially when there is traffic build-up. Audio is predictable for a racing game, with loud revs and engine sounds the order of the day, even if the engine sounds seem very similar between vehicle classes.

The formula has stayed the same and with good reason too – MX vs. ATV games are fun and packed with things to do. While a few annoying quirks threaten to get in the way, overall this is definitely more of the same.



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