MX vs. ATV Unleashed PS2 Review

Rainbow Studios are definitely in the know when it comes to offroad-based racing, they have years worth of experience in this field. The development team were responsible for Sony’s ATV: Offroad Fury series and then later went on to develop THQ’s very own MX Unleashed. Now Rainbow’s, MX vs. ATV Unleashed is uniting the offroad racing experience, and even offers a few surprises along the way.

You don’t have to be an observant type to notice that the games title suggests that you’ll be riding bikes as well as ATV’s over some very muddy and uneven terrain. This is one of the games major talking points, as the two vehicles are normally separated and exclusive to their very own individual games. That isn’t all though, as shockingly there’s even more vehicles to unlock in the games challenge mode or the virtual store. There’s a rather diverse range that includes monster trucks, golf carts and even helicopters and planes.

There are a great number of things to do for those who enjoy wallowing in the mud, thanks to a rather generous amount of options.

Championships are lengthy and nicely structured; with races delivered via a week-by-week basis. Each weekly performance will determine where you stand in the overall rankings. Racing on the same tracks for a second time each week does become rather repetitive though, and is a rather odd decision, especially with the amount of tracks on offer. Before beginning each championship you are able to select either the MX or ATV vehicle, and perfectionists will want to top all the championships riding both of the vehicles. In fact the game clearly intends you to do that.

If you are a novice to offroad racing games then you’ll soon find that there’s more to the racing then holding the accelerator button down and steering round corners. The preloading technique is a must if you want to push the vehicles suspensions to their limits over many of those massive jumps, simply by pulling the left analogue stick back before you hit the jump and quickly pushing it forward, which hopefully results in some big air. When you learn how to do this or are already familiar with the motions, the games medium difficulty shouldn’t trouble you at all.

The game also has a trick system, which unsurprisingly allows you to string together tricks before hitting the ground. There’s a trick mode for you to show off your skills in the air, and obviously this – alongside the split-screen multi-player mode – is the reason that many gamers will return to it after completing and unlocking everything else.

MX vs. ATV Unleashed is a feature packed game with plenty to do. The games learning curve isn’t too difficult, but rather nicely balanced, and we found ourselves wanting to find out the best way to challenge each of the jumps. A good solid effort then, that’s worth a look at the very least. It’s what mud was invented for.