MX vs. ATV Unleashed Review (PC)

In real life, ATV's tend to overturn and crush their riders. In MX vs. ATV unleashed they do the same, but you'll survive the crash without a scratch. This is a great fun game which provides hours of entertainment as you learn the tracks and how to beat them and your opponents with your precision timing and flawless control.

Let the games begin! I love the smell of sun on metal in the morning

In further contrast to real life, MX vs. ATV Unleashed provides you with a myriad of racing alternatives. Feel like taking a helicopter ride? Go right on ahead. More of a traditional type? There's a biplane to release you from the shackles of the earth. In addition to those there are monster trucks, little dune buggies and several other machines to choose from. This is not just a bike racing game, this is a transport extravaganza.

Not only do you have plenty to choose from when it comes to racing vehicles, but there is a wide range of tracks in all sorts of terrains, from arenas to mountains to deserts. The tracks are exquisitely designed with massive jumps and camber that keeps you on your toes constantly. Not only that, but you can make your own tracks once you've mastered the pre-made ones. MX vs. ATV has created some truly entertaining environments to race and play in, with a variety of props and jumps and scenery to admire. The free run of the world also makes for a much more satisfying experience than purely track oriented races.

It's not just straight out racing either, as you're airborne you can do tricks for which you receive points. Points which can be used to buy all sorts of things, such as new machines, new tracks and riders and many other helpful acquisitions.

Aim high. Do tricks. This is what it's like when animal patterns collide

That then, is the basic layout of the game. Race lots of vehicles on lots of tracks and upgrade your station by winning races and landing tricks. That in itself would be plenty, but MX vs. ATV goes several steps further with a plethora of game modes. There is your single player mode which includes individual racing, free riding and one on one challenges. Then there are the online and multiplayer modes which have similar options. The online option allows up to seven people to race against one another, and adds some cool events as well. The individual mode includes checkpoint races, short races and hill climbs, as well as some tutorial style races. The online components of the game appeared to have been put together competently, with the server running well and good controller responses.

If you go through all of that and are still hungry for more then there is a track creation editor which allows you to make your own race tracks. This editor is no simple lego style ‘fit blocks together’ kind of editor, it is somewhat complex which gives you maximum control over what your track will look like. It also means that it will probably take a while to figure out, and once you have cracked it your IQ will have been boosted several points. You may also experience sensations of omnipotence as you mold the very earth.

Visually this is a fun game with a fun game engine that makes for a kind of cartoonish feel to the racing. The vehicles have a curious ‘floating’ kind of feel to them as they bounce or fly along, and the graphics support the overall ambiance by being quite serviceable indeed but nothing particularly extraordinary. It's also pretty hard to get left behind, with the game keeping you somewhat up with the pace even if you do crash repetitively.

Time to get creative Create nature, like God

Then there's the music, which is pretty much what you'd expect, nice pumping racing tunes with an edge to them. You'll recognize some big names, and while this isn't going to be a hit collection anytime soon the music does keep the atmosphere fun.

It is very hard to not like this game. That's as long as you remember that this is not Gran Turismo, and it's not Need for Speed, it's simply a really fun arcade racer with so many options that you may never play them all. The sheer variety and ease of gameplay will please fans of older generation games like MotoRacer, or anyone who is looking for a simple game that doesn't skimp on variety.

Top Game Moment: Taking off in the ol’ chopper. Yes it's fairly interesting to control, but I just love games that let you fly.

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