Overview

THQ has really been known quite a bit for their MX series, which have been noted as some of the best in the whole motorcycle racing genre. I must say that the MX series was starting to lose some of its "steam" up until their last installment entitled MX Unleashed, which was the first game from the THQ and Rainbow Studios duo. Now we get to see a game that attempts to combine the MX realm with the ATV and see if the two can make a right. Is this a great successor to MX Unleashed? Read our full review to find out!

Gameplay

I remember a while back when I heard about this latest game, and to be honest I was a bit confused about what the game was going to be about. I really wasn’t sure if the game was going to be with both ATV’s and motorcycles and in fact other vehicles as well. One of the game’s finer points is the mere diversity in the lineup of vehicles you can take through this game. I must say that although having golf carts in a MX and ATV game may sound a little foreign, it in fact just helps the longevity of the game. Now you are not just limited to riding a motorcycle or an ATV but instead have much more choice in the matter.

But I think that the one thing that needs to be mentioned, over probably everything else, is the overwhelming amount of options and modes in this game. It actually made me wonder about how we ever dealt with so little in some of the early games. Alright with that aside, MX vs. ATV Unleashed has a ton to offer, like the career mode where the meat of the single player can be found. It is here that you get to pick the type of vehicle you want to race and are offered up a rather deep and interesting mode. I liked the career mode although I did think they could have done more with it.

One of the best parts I think MX vs. ATV Unleashed has is the diversity, not only in the vehicles but in the tracks. This game has over a hundred different tracks to race on, and they all are just greatly designed. The game really allows you to really see so many different looks that it just feels like you are playing a few games in one.

In addition to the single player mode, the game also offers multiplayer support as well, which is probably the most disappointing factor of the game. It is here that you can race up against friends on either split screen or online. What’s wrong with that? Well it’s that all of the different options and looks that the game gave you in the single player are not apparent in the multiplayer. So in essence, you are pretty limited in the amount of things that you can partake in online. It would have been great had the developers put more into the online mode, giving some more original options and just making it deeper. It just seems to me that the developers went light on this aspect and I think that really hurt the longevity of this game.

One thing I have not yet talked about is the controls, which is a big factor for any racing game. I must say for a series that has had great controls, this game just really amazed me. The controls were the tightest I have ever seen, and you can really just feel the difference as you take on the different vehicles. Whether driving a monster truck or an ATV, this game just controls beautifully, and really just makes the experience all that much better.

This is one of those times I wish I could give half points because this game is just really on the verge of reaching a nine. But nevertheless I really think that the lack of depth in the multiplayer just holds this game back from true greatness. But with that being said, I was extremely impressed with the sheer amount of things to do offline.

Graphics

One thing that I have always thought could use improvement in this series is the visuals, which in my view has never been all that impressive. So does MX vs. ATV Unleashed change my mind?

Well with all of the different vehicles, tracks, and modes you would kind of expect the visuals to take a back seat, but in this instance they did not. I was actually quite pleased with how great this game really does look, and that all starts with the tracks, which are great. You get such variety in this game and it just seems to me that it looks great. The vehicles are the one thing that could have used some more touch up but they to be very nicely done.

What I think was most impressive with the game was the frame-rate, which held up beautifully even during the most intense sequences. There were very few instances of slowdown, but the game just flowed nicely.

Fun Factor

Although the game may not be without fault, it is an extremely fun game to play. What is great about this game is that it can be forgiving, which makes it the prefect game to pay with your friends. But with that being said, it does take some time to get used to everything and to hone your skills to perfection. What also makes this game so enjoyable is all of the vehicles and modes to choose from. You have so many options that when you get tired with one you can easily move onto another.

Overall

Flat out MX vs. ATV Unleashed is a great game. Had the multiplayer been deeper, it would have easily been an editor’s choice. With that being said, if you don’t mind not having online play then this game will be a perfect addition to your gaming library, it has depth and its fun, what more can you ask for?

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.