MX vs. ATV Untamed Review

MX vs. ATV Untamed is to Motorstorm as Forza is to Burnout. While similar in that they’re both off-road racing games, the former is much more based in reality, and is composed of venues you’d expect to see at a rally or on ESPN. Given the previous off-road games by Rainbow Studios and THQ, that’s a little surprising.

What isn’t surprising, though, is that their big effort to enter realism isn’t quite what they looked to be going for. Overall the game is much more realistic than most other off-road racers out there (their past games included), but there’s still some things which have been left in for some reason. You can jump as high as ever, but landing almost always results in a crash; you can drive at full speed and hit a 90 degree turn, but slightly bump an opponent and you go flying. The result is an odd mix of realism and arcade, and it makes it difficult to truly enjoy the game, as the two genres are completely different.

Sure, the past games by Rainbow have had their fair share of arcade and simulation mixes, but those always seemed like well-planned, strategy-influenced decisions; Untamed seems more like one aspect got left in on accident, only we don’t know which.

Despite the tame updated gameplay, Untamed manages to fit more events, features and modes in than ever. The two new modes (Endurocross and Opencross) force you to face long races in peril-filled and fairly open environments respectively. There’s also the X-Cross Tournament, Quick Event, Event Series and the other staples you’d expect. What may be my favorite mode, though, is Custom Event.

In it you determine just about anything and everything to do with the race. You can just ride around with no pressure to find hidden sprockets, as well as tweak all of the event settings you would likely want.

I may have scolded the game earlier for not quite knowing if it’s simulation or arcade, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least give Rainbow props for once again delivering an awesome control scheme. Driving your vehicle of choice is easy, intuitive, and can be picked up right from the get-go with little to no learning curve. Longtime fans of their games will feel right at home the minute the race starts, and newcomers will feel right at home by the time the first race ends.

Unfortunately, the graphics are anything but. This game looks bland; there’s no denying that. Compared to other recent racers, or even Motorstorm, Untamed doesn’t come close. There’s very little texture, and the models (vehicle and rider) are nothing you’ll praise.

In the end, MX vs. ATV Untamed is a game which will be fun for a while, but quickly wear you down as the little things add up. While there are plenty of events, the simple driving also works against the game, as it becomes boring sooner than you’d expect. If you’ve always appreciated Rainbow Studios’ titles, then you’ll enjoy this one as well; especially with several fairly entertaining online modes. If you didn’t get weened to the genre by Rainbow’s previous installments, though, there’s little reason to start now with better offerings already available.


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Author: Brendon Lindsey View all posts by

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