If the terms Lazy-Boy, Can-Can, Cordova, Nac-Nac, and Back flip elevate your pulse then this is the racing game for you. Big air and big stunts are common place in this fast paced arcade style racer.
MX vs. ATV Unleashed serves up every style of off-road racing imaginable. You will be racing motocross, ATV, Monster Trucks, Golf Carts, and much more. In addition biplanes and helicopters are available. The air racing leaves a lot to be desired. The controls for flying were cumbersome and made the air racing rather unenjoyable. Nothing cures a frustrating flight better than pulling out a superman double back flip or crushing cars like pancakes.
The land based vehicles are a homerun hit in this game. Plenty of air miles are logged with these vehicles so the need to fly should be satisfied with a few leaps into the ozone. The racing is fast and the jumps are huge. All the vehicles react to the environment, and the controls are simple enough for the beginners to enjoy the racing. The engine sounds are spot on for the different motor types found in these vehicles. The loud revving 2-strokes and the deep thump of the 4-strokes add great depth.
The tracks are laid out very well. Outdoor tracks are huge and offer up a variety of activities including Hill Climbs, freestyle, track racing and more. Each track has a variety of terrains that will challenge the drivers to find the best lines and know when to preload. Knowing the tracks well will provide you with a great advantage over other racers.
Getting to all of this fun can be time consuming. Load times for events and tracks are slow. Once in a track switching activities is done quickly but if you wish to switch tracks you will be in for another long wait. During career modes switching from track to track will consist of a series of 4 questions about saving the game followed by a wait time for loading the next track. While this is probably the weakest point of MX vs. ATV Unleashed it is easily forgotten once you are playing.
Graphics are as solid as any title on the PS2. Tracks left by machines and large rooster tails add a sense of realism. The detail of the machines is stunning and the vast landscapes are beautiful. MX vs. ATV Unleashed is pushing the graphical limits of the PS2. This makes a good excuse for the long wait times between tracks.
Aerial acrobatics will earn style points as they did in previous MX and ATV games. The points you earn can be used to unlock a large number of items, from riding gear and pro riders, to tracks and vehicles. The store feature is simple but the vast amount of things to buy makes a tough decision when spending your precious points.
Veterans of the series will find the same easy to use control configuration and newcomers will pick it up quickly. The same controls will maneuver every vehicle with the exception of the plane and helicopter. Preloading is once again a key part to the success in this game. Mastering this technique and when to use it will put you at an advantage over other racers, especial the AI racers.
The AI is done pretty well. AI racers stay on track and will occasionally wipe out. Get into a rubbing situation with the AI and you will most likely be the one kissing mother earth. The game is forgiving though. Even a few wipeouts will not put you completely out of the race.
Multiplayer is great. Online play is easy to use and the frame rate keeps up even with all 6 racers on screen. The controls have the same responsiveness as they do when playing offline. The competition can be much tougher and a few wrecks here could very well put you out of the race. Playing with 2 players on one screen invokes the split screen. While in split screen mode the graphics are diminished but tolerable.
The sound track is what you would expect from this series. Fast paced hard hitting hits keep on playing. The options interface allows you to select which songs will play which provides you with some control over what you have to listen to. Overall the soundtrack is fitting and adds a good feel to the game.
The sheer amount of things you can do in MX vs. ATV Unleashed will keep you playing for a while. The large outdoor tracks and the variety of ways to use them will keep the game fresh. The online features also add an element of competition that give this game even greater replay value.
Another class leading hit to continue the series reign. This game once again pushes the bar further out of the competition’s reach. MX vs. ATV Unleashed is extremely fun and aside from the air vehicles extremely pleasing. With a short learning curve and beautiful graphics, newcomers and veterans of the series will be able to enjoy this game right out of the box and continue to enjoy it for a long time after. As a fan of the series from day one I can say that this game does not disappoint.
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