|System: X360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PSP, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Incinerator / Rainbow||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Dec. 16, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-6||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
MX vs. ATV Untamed for the PS2 is definitely a disappointment for fans of the Unleashed series. This Untamed version could definitely use some grooming. It's unfinished, unruly, and under-whelming. I can't even think of one good reason for it to exist, considering that just about any Unleashed version is superior in virtually every way.
The only reason that it does exist is because this game was also released for the PS3 and the X360, as well as "all the rest." So the job of dumbing down the game was thrown to Incinerator Games. The result is some kind of hand-me-down from the next-next gen consoles. It's an entirely different game than offered on the superior consoles, yet it's obvious that the PS2 version wasn't a priority for Rainbow. That's why I recommend the Unleased series, which was developed specifically for the PS2 in its heyday. You can literally see and feel the difference.
MX vs. ATV Untamed lets you ride a variety of specialized vehicles such as bikes and quads in a series of offroad racing tournaments that include Supercross, Nationals, Supermoto, and Rally. In addition to the bikes and quads, you'll also be able to drive monster trucks, sand rails, and offroad buggies. The tracks are long and filled with twists, turns, bumps, grinds, ramps, and dangerous obstacles such as walls and trees. Compared to the other games in the series, nothing new has been added to the mix; in fact, you could say that it has devolved somewhat in terms of graphics, control, and overall level of enjoyment. It felt like I was just going through the motions.
Undoubtedly one of the most important aspects of any racing game is the controls. If they feel right, the game will find its audience. The controls can be forgiving, like an arcade-style game, or they can be demanding as in a simulation. The controls in MX vs. ATV Untamed lean closer to an arcade-style but with an unnatural physics that makes the vehicles feel like balloons when catching air, and there are some extremely sensitive commands that jar your vehicle as though you cranked the wheel, even at the lightest touch. It's all very inconsistent, which makes it difficult to adjust your playing style.
It also doesn't help that some of the turns on the tracks can be hard to discern visually. There are no arrow indicators. Although you can see a turn or barricade in the distance, it's not always clear what direction you'll have to go in. This requires that you memorize sections of the track, which isn't so much a problem since you have to race each track for five laps and then repeat the entire race to qualify. You can customize the heats to reduce the number of laps in another mode. But unless you get lucky the first time around, or have a photographic memory, prepare to spend more time with these tracks than you normally would, just to get familiar with the layout.
The meat of the game is the Championship and X-Cross modes. Here you will compete in a series of heats until you eventually become the winner. Both modes are very similar, but the Championship mode tries to drag things out for a number of weeks. And drag is what it does. It's the same old song and dance week after week.