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Old 12-06-2011, 09:20 PM
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Default MX vs. ATV : Alive

MS vs ATV Alive bannner

Fifth in the popular offroading franchise, MX vs. ATV Live promised a low price entry into the market banking on DLC sales, but is there enough excitement and pull to see it through and will that title ever roll off the tongue with ease?

This series has been pretty popular in terms of performance; with unit sales across the range in excess of millions you cannot doubt that the games have some magic, for somebody.

As a first timer exposed to the franchise I have to be honest, I cannot see the attraction, yes the tracks and environments are nicely modelled and the bikes seem accurate to somebody with no idea. However as that first timer, I find the concept unattractive if I want to race then I expect to race a machine that answers my control in an environment that makes sense to me. MX is a good example of Motocross in that respect, the bike does not handle in any forgiving way for me and the undulating landscape only serves to keep me off the track and in the air. There may be nuances and subtleties in the control scheme that eventually makes a real dirt racer out of you, but I really do not have the patience or motivation to sit through the experience. There is some lauded trickery involved with deformation of the track on consecutive laps, but I was too distracted to notice.

The bike feels too light and ‘wobbly’ to me, the rider animations while sometimes fluid can also look awkward and clumsy. There is the added component of jostling to take into account, where you are encouraged to push and shove your way to the front of the pack, but if that action means you end up momentarily off the course by more than a few feet, you are snapped back to a standing start. What happened to slowing me down or a time penalty? Why can I cut a corner a little too much when I am in the lead, only to find myself teleported back on track watching the race pack zip past? That is annoying at best, especially today, in 2011.

The ATV vehicles, well they are what they are, four wheeled bikes ready to burn up the track, pulling a few tricks as you go, leaving me with safe in the knowledge that I can race Mongooses in Halo and have more fun while doing it, even if I can’t throw my legs out while in a jump.

Dirty Bikes

Aside from a reasonable (pre-DLC) selection of races, with the pack bunched more than an under 11 soccer team there are some freeride arenas that give you the opportunity to pull out some gnarly jumps, hang some time and crash a lot. Also crashing at speed in a free roam arena notably shows just how bad the rag doll physics are as your rider bounces into scenery at some obtuse angle.

It’s not that I massively dislike the game; it just doesn’t sell itself well enough, it doesn’t make me want to play it. I loved NFS: Hot Pursuit that was an arcade style racer that had addictive qualities beyond the Autolog, MX vs. ATV does not. There is nothing here compelling enough to encourage me to play through the races in full, there is no tangible reward to practicing and winning races. Yes there are unlocks and outfits, but unless you are a devout follower of the sport they don’t offer anything substantial. It might also be something to do with the fact that the title was intended to generate revenue on DLC transactions that the front end feels bare and lacking substance.

Closing Comments

If Motocross is your thing, then you will get it, if you are looking for a new and exciting racing game to whittle away the long Winter evenings then this is not for you. On the whole it looks and sounds like a dirt bike game should, but anything more than a couple of races are stretch of my attention span. In the current market with the sheer quality and breadth of titles available for this generation this game screams ‘annual cash-in’ much louder than Fifa ever could. But then according to the official website – can 7,000 facebook fans be wrong?

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