Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MX Unleashed

MX Unleashed
MX Unleashed
by THQ
Platform:   PlayStation2
3.8 out of 5 stars(18)

Buy new: $27.99
74 used & new from $0.39

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Motocross games are an evolutionary step behind the rest of the extreme sports genre. I don't say that because I think it's an inferior sport or because I think that you have to be inherently devoid of brains to do some of the stupid, sick tricks they perform. I say this only because Rainbow Studios and THQ have teamed up to finally give the rest of us a motocross game that tries to update the sport. When I say "us," I mean anybody who doesn't break limbs for a living on 250cc monsters tearing through the sky.

MX Unleashed combines a lengthy career mode with Freestyle worlds whose layouts play more like a Tony Hawk game. This isn't a reinvention of the wheel by any means, it's just that its execution meant that I actually gave a damn about a motocross game for more than ten minutes. Run around in the environments and you'll encounter challenges like racing against a monster truck and other vehicles (which you then earn if you win), stunt competitions, and both Hit and Run activities. Runs are a series of jumps you have to perform in a row, while Hits are a series of runs that have to be done before competing riders finish theirs. Hits and Runs were my favorite Freestyle activities because you really had to nail your timing well and having to do all the jumps in succession was a cool challenge. A close second was earning the vehicles like the plane and buzzing around the worlds in those. This sounds stupid as hell, but I couldn't help smiling. One of the other small joys of Freestyle was the ambient life. Whether it was the riders or the trucks (with jumps on their flatbeds!), there was always something going on.

Rainbow is mainly known as a developer with great physics, and here they don't disappoint. I can say that this is the first motocross game whose trick system didn't piss me off. I also like that you really have to think when you go out on the demanding courses. You can't just pre-load to the max all the time – you have to know the layout of the tracks and use your clutch and pre-load at varying strengths to keep your momentum out there. Finally, I should fault the game for having inconsistent collision, but it was just forgiving enough that it kept the fun rolling.

Motocross has had an inglorious history of false starts, lots of franchises without enough distinction between them, and just mediocrity. This newest partnership is a good one, with the only problem being that it wasn't seized upon sooner. More straight-up innovation is needed next time, but until then, we've got a good solid game on our hands.

The Edge

ive the edge without a doubt to the Xbox version. The graphics are simply crisper - something you instantly notice when flying 20 feet in the air with five other riders while your pulling off a Saran Wrap. Oh yeah, you'll also take note of it when the dirt particles fly as you eat it trying to land. The only disappointing note on this front is that the Xbox cannot get rid of the fogging problem in the Freestyle worlds. Other than that, I suggest you re-map the Thrill camera onto a trigger button. It sounds totally trivial - until you see yourself stylin' high in teh sky, and then you can't stop using it.

Open up the motocross world with Tony Hawk-inspired Freestyle courses

There are some nice textures and dirt particles on the tracks, but too much fogging in Freestyle

The whining of the bikes is drowned out only by the smattering of small-time bands

The clutch will take some practice, but the trick controls are responsive

The game's structure is nothing new, but it's a good first step in getting the sport into everyone's hands

Moderately High

Rated: 8 out of 10
Editor: Matthew Kato
Issue: March 2004

2nd Opinion:
I wouldn't be surprised if I was the first person in the history of video games to say that an MX title blew me away. As we all know, this genre has been running on two flat tires since its inception. With Rainbow Studios on the scene, this is all about to change. Offering a better understanding of vehicular physics than any other developer, Rainbow Studios has created the ultimate gameplay package. Squaring up turns, preloading jumps, stringing together trick combos, it's all here. While the silky smooth handling steals the show, this title also boasts great depth and ingenuity in its selection of modes. You'll even find yourself squaring off against a monster truck. You can't help but applaud the little things as well such as the ease of play from the first-person helmet cam. Even without online play, MX Unleashed soars high above the competition and is just as fun as Rainbow's previous works.

Rated: 8.5 out of 10
Editor: Andrew Reiner

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MX Unleashed - The game for fans of fast and wild racing is here. MX Unleashed brings to life the craziest and most intense elements of motocross & supercross racing. Realistic physics, incredible action and impossible tricks are waiting for you, in this hardcore racing action game!

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