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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

SCEA

 

Developer

Rainbow Studios

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2002

 

 

- Great sense of speed

- Lots of extras to unlock

- Online play is fast and reliable

 

 

- Feels a bit too much like last year’s model

- A.I. a bit cheesy on highest difficulty level

 

 

Reviews: Rally Fusion (Playstation 2)

 

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ATV Off-Road Fury 2

Score: 8.8 / 10

 

The original ATV Off-Road Fury was among the first really good games released on the PS2 back when it was still a pre-pubescent platform.  It stood out for a number of reasons but mostly because it seemed more polished, less rushed-out-the-door than the other early games.  Given that the folks at Rainbow Studios have had over a year to further smooth, polish, and improve on the original formula, ATV Off-Road Fury 2 had the potential to be something truly special.  Unfortunately, while it delivers on some of that promise, ATV Off-Road Fury 2 seems more like a polished director’s cut than a true sequel.  Still, it is one of the best “extreme” racing titles on the system, and online play gives the game tremendous replay value.

 

atv-offroad-fury-2-1.jpg (27538 bytes)          atv-offroad-fury-2-2.jpg (45781 bytes)

 

ATV Off-Road Fury 2’s graphics are a smidgen better than those of its predecessor.  Certainly the frame rate is steadier and maybe a tad quicker overall.  There seems to be a slight upgrade in texture quality and the view distance seems a bit deeper.  The level details have been given a considerable boost.  The original game’s levels were fairly sparse, but Off-Road Fury 2’s levels have lots of extra detail.  Unfortunately, little of that detail is interactive beyond the fact that it is possible to run into many objects and wreck.  It would be nice to see the next game feature some interactive objects along the racetracks in order to give the game a better degree of verisimilitude.

 

Just like in the first game, the controls of ATV Off-Road Fury 2 are its bread and butter.  The vehicles control simply and perfectly.  It is still the focus of the game to predict (or eventually learn) the correct pacing for the tracks’ rhythm sections.  I usually made my way around the first lap of each track without pre-loading the suspension, so I could see just which sections needed big air to maintain pacing and which could be driven straight.  Finding that perfect flow is exhilarating.  No other racer in the past few years (with the possible exception of the race mode on SSX) has raised my heart-rate quite as much as this game.  Getting big air off of a jump only to land perfectly on angle with the track on the other side of the jump is simply a blast.

 

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- Playstation 2 Game Reviews

- Racing Game Reviews

- Reviews of Games Developed by Rainbow Studios

- Reviews of Games Published by SCEA

The main fault I found with the gameplay of ATV Off-Road Fury 2 is the same fault I had with the original.  The rubber-banding A.I. feels a bit too artificial.  I was never able to convince myself I was racing against real drivers with personalities.  It sometimes seemed like it didn’t much matter how I drove, the A.I. racers were bound to close the gap regardless.  This gives the game a challenge boost on one hand, but on the other it lessons the chances of having the occasional, realistic blowout.

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Though the modes have remained basically the same (though there is a new batch of fun mini-games that can be purchased), the addition of online play is certainly significant.  When the game is first turned on, a player can connect and compete in race and freestyle modes.  Later, as he or she builds up points, the player can purchase other modes to use in online games.  These games are fun though I played about twenty races one night and didn’t have a close match.  I either blew my opponent off the race course or was blown off the course myself.  This fact can likely be traced to the need to move cleanly through the rhythm sections.  Mistakes there are punished severely.  If you miss one jump early in a section, it is very hard to re-find the rhythm at any point later in the section.  When a big mistake happens early, it makes finishing the five laps a bit tedious.  I would like to see a concession option, but since the record of players doesn’t seemed to be tracked by the game, I guess it really doesn’t matter in the end.

 

atv-offroad-fury-2-3.jpg (56072 bytes)          atv-offroad-fury-2-4.jpg (51909 bytes)

 

Overall, ATV Off-Road Fury 2 is a fine game.  Anyone who skipped out on the original needs to buy this now.  Any fan of the original would also get their money’s worth out of the title.

 

- Tolen Dante

(December 18, 2002)

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