It's incredible that it has taken so long for an MX Vs ATV title to make its way to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and Wii. Generally speaking the MX Vs ATV titles are a lot of fun, but a major success amongst male adolescents. The series makes its now "current generation" debut with MX Vs ATV Untamed, which is coming to the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Wii and Nintendo DS in just a few short months. We've been racing through a finished version of the game on the PlayStation 3, so how is the game shaping up?
Upon loading up MX Vs ATV Untamed things do look similar to the previous MX titles but there are several options for the single player. There is a quick event option, a custom event option as well as the X-Cross Tournament and the Event Series. Quick event is self explanatory and custom lets the player choose from nine different events but players will spend most of the in the event series or X-Cross tournament. The X-Cross tournament features several different events and several different tracks. The event series is also a series of events, with a few more customisable options.
The actual gameplay in MX Vs ATV Untamed should be familiar to anyone who has played the previous MX titles. The emphasis is once again on speed and style, tricks are easy to pull off with the face buttons and analog sticks and combos can be chained together for higher scores. In terms of gameplay enhancements, it doesn't seem like Rainbow Studios have actually changed too much about the gameplay, but it still feels rather polished. A major disappointment with Untamed are the graphics. While there are some large open circuits (which look fantastic) the actual graphics aren't quite as good as we'd hoped. The introduction movie looks absolutely brilliant, so going from that incredible movie to the in game look is rather disappointing.
MX Vs ATV Untamed also looks set to feature incredible online gameplay and some fantastic online options. Before entering the online component of the game players can choose from a player event or a ranked event. Ranked events are more serious whereas player events are more for casual gamers who just want to have fun. After making this selection there are three options; quick event, custom event and mini games. Quick events launch players into a quick event, custom event allows players to choose from one of nine events but it is the mini games that look set to keep players entertained. There are four mini games in total, graffiti, section race, snake and tag. Graffiti requires players to "mark" areas by performing the best combos. Section race is self explanatory and snake requires players to "capture" their opponent with their snake, but the online mode that has us most excited is tag. In tag, players have to collect the ball and keep it for more than one minute, with opponents able to "secure" the ball off a player by driving close to them, so while there are plenty of online options, we think most people will probably spent their time with the mini games, which are frankly, excellent.
One of the coolest additions in MX Vs ATV Untamed is a rather small inclusion that is something that should be mandatory in every racing game, especially in those which encourage tricks. After you've selected a race, rather than wait for the race to begin through a static loading screen the game takes you to a practice area, with jumps and ramps to practice your tricks. The practice area is a little bare, but it definitely beats waiting for the game to load. As soon as the race is ready all the player has to do is press start and the game jumps straight into the race. Anyone who has found the previous MX titles too difficult or too easy will also be pleased to know there are nine difficulty levels, which should mean players never find events too easy, or too challenging.
MX Vs ATV Untamed isn't going to revolutionise the genre, but with the series already pretty solid in the gameplay department Rainbow Studios has obviously spent their time honing the options and there are plenty. In single player there are bundles of events to be played with all manner of vehicles and the online multiplayer is sure to be a favourite. Anyone who hasn't enjoyed the previous titles won't change their mind about the series with this entry, but come March anyone who is a MX Vs ATV fan should definitely pick up Untamed, the game looks like it is going to be the best title in the series yet.