12 Apr, 2006

MX vs ATV Unleashed On The Edge Review

PSP Review | Taking it to the edge, no less.
MX vs ATV Unleashed: On the Edge is an upgraded port from MX vs ATV Unleashed which was released around this time last year for the PlayStation 2 and the Xbox. The title implies that the game only features MX bikes and four wheel ATVs but there is actually a lot more vehicle types in the game. It’s taken a little while but the series has made it’s way over to the PSP with a few new additions and a few omissions. So is the series still enjoyable or not as good to take off the road as you would expect from an off road racing game?

Even though it’s a basic port there are a few new things in the PSP version. The game includes eight new tracks which brings the total to over fifty tracks. Surprisingly all of the tracks have great designs and most of them are fun to race on although it isn’t always clear which direction you’re supposed to be driving in. The PSP version has suffered a few cutbacks though. There are now only four riders on the track at once which is down from the six that were found in the console games. The championship mode from the console versions has also been omitted which is a huge disappointment.

Big Air.

Big Air.
The game still contains a few modes except none of them are as seamless as the championship mode was. Game modes in On the Edge include racing, freestyle and free ride. The racing option has a few race types such as supercross, national and hill climbs. So whilst there is no championship mode there is still plenty of content in the game. The game also supports ad hoc multiplayer for up to four players. One of the major disappointments with this title is the fact that it doesn’t include infrastructure support. ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails actually featured a very in-depth infrastructure mode and this is sorely missed from On the Edge.

The game controls very similar to its console counterparts. Accelerating is done with the X button and braking is done with the square button. The triangle and circle buttons are reserved for pulling off stunts. If you just drive around the tracks without tackling any of the jumps then you won’t progress very far. It’s actually possible to preload your suspension before heading into any of the jumps. Before you hit the jump if you pull back on the analog stick and push forward as you exit the jump it gives you much more air than normal jumps. It’s not actually possible to do this with every jump so it’s important to choose which jumps to jump high on. The riders appear to control a little more sensitively but it doesn’t take long to adjust to this. The AI has been improved for the PSP version and the AI is now a lot more aggressive than before. Unfortunately though the game features rubberband AI which means it is possible to hang back for majority of the race and then sprint forward towards the end.

Only four riders on the course...

Only four riders on the course...
There are a few problems with the game that really should have been fixed before the game was even released. The loading is extremely long and the first time I was loading a race I thought the game had frozen. This game features some of the worst loading in any PSP game yet and it takes about one minute to ninety seconds for a race to load. This wouldn’t be such a problem if the game had a seamless championship mode but you have to keep quitting back to the main menu and selecting a new race. For some bizarre reason the game doesn’t actually support auto save. Every time you want to save the game you need to manually go into the save options and then save your profile. If there are changes to your profile the game won’t prompt you to save which is very annoying. These days auto save is taken for granted and having to manually save you game every single time is very noticeable.

Visually the game looks okay and looks very similar to the PlayStation 2 version. The bikes and riders all look good and the tracks are large but there isn’t as much detail in the tracks as we’d hoped for. The game’s soundtrack actually features songs from artists we’ve heard of like the Black Eyed Peas and Papa Roach which is definitely a bonus. The sound effects aren’t as good as they could be though and the bikes sound weak which is a little disappointing.

Omitting the championship mode has meant that the game won’t last as long as it could have but there is still plenty of content in the game. Aside from unlockable ATV’s and MX vehicles it is also possible to unlock more tracks, gear for your riders and novelty vehicles like monster trucks and golf buggies. There are a few other bonuses like the ability to unlock pro difficulty, MX pro physics and ATV pro physics although these take a little longer to unlock. The multiplayer could have extended the lifespan as well but the game doesn’t support game share which means that everyone needs a copy of the game to play.

It's a bit like soccer..with a bike.

It's a bit like soccer..with a bike.
MX vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge isn’t the definitive title that it could have been. Aside from a few new tracks the game hasn’t been upgraded that much in 12 months which is disappointing. In fact, if anything the game has actually been downgraded in the transition to the PSP because of the extensive (sleep inducing) loading and the omission of the championship mode. If you can get past the flaws that the game has then there is a lot of content in the title but we’re still waiting for the ultimate MX vs. ATV title for the PSP and unfortunately this isn’t it. This game is a little better than ATV Offroad Fury but the lack of infrastructure could mean that Blazin’ Trails provides a little better value.
The Score
MX vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge is hindered by some technical issues like the long loading and the lack of an auto save. Aside from this though there is a in the game to keep you amused.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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