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Score: 6.5 / 10
Iíve always been a fan of off road racing
titles back to the days of ATV Off Road Fury for the Playstation 2. Itís
a shame Sony never revitalized that series with Rainbow Studios for the
Playstation 3. However, THQ has given the off road racing fans some
attention with the release of their second MX vs ATV title.
Like the title suggests, MX vs ATV Alive (Alive) sees you race on dirt
tracks using either dirt bikes or quads. Alive plays out like a lot of
other racing titles. You basically unlock new tracks, vehicles, vehicle
parts and rider upgrades by winning
races and earning XP. The amount of
customization is staggering. Thereís so much variety when choosing parts
to upgrade your vehicle with.
Alive differs from previous titles in the series in that full contact is
now allowed. This selling point is a bit deceiving as I was expecting
something along the lines of Road Rash. The physical
contact doesnít play a huge role in the game and youíre usually more
focused on racing then knocking out opponents.
The control scheme for MX vs ATV will take some time to get used to.
Rather than using only the left analog stick to control your vehicle,
you have to use both analog sticks to steer your vehicle. It feels
awkward at first, but after an hour or so you do eventually get used to
it. Collisions are handled rather interestingly as the game features
something called ďReflex ModeĒ. When you are involved in contact with
another rider an arrow appears on screen and you must use the right
analog stick to steer your rider in the direction of the on-screen arrow
to avoid falling off your vehicle.
There are a total of three types of races including national races (long
races), short races and freestyle mode. The national races are by far
the biggest attraction of the three modes. The short races can be
completed over one or two minutes and the short only come in handy when
you want to rank up quickly. Freestyle allows you to race around an open
environment to complete stunts and earn XP points.
The online play offers the same game modes
as the single player. Connecting online can sometimes be a long and
painstaking process. I ran into occasional lag and long waiting times to
join or start a game. Once you do find a game to play in, the game plays
Evaluating Alive simply for its racing merits, scores the game a lot of
points. The racing feels fun, fresh and frantic. The tracks are designed
perfectly with loads of hills to maximize air and there are plenty of
twists and turns. The attention to detail is also done very well as
tracks will get torn up and dirt will fly around from having so many
racers on the track. Unfortunately, itís what Alive does outside of the
racing that makes this game mediocre. To start with, the instructions
manual is terrible. Nowhere in the manual does it teach you how to
properly do all the available tricks in the game. Instead your forced to
go to the gameís website and read through the longer version of the
Alive also fails miserably when it comes to unlocking content. Ranking
up takes such an incredibly painful amount of time that you literally
have to play the same track/races time and time again just to reach the
required XP level to unlock the rest of the tracks in the game. Had this
issue been fixed, it would have made for a much better game.
Alive offers a great racing experience. Itís just a shame that
everything outside of the actual racing is sub standard. The frustrating
levelling up system almost ruined the entire experience for me and the
lack of tutorials leaves a lot to be desired.