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Intro
Rainbow Studios gasses up for a dirt filled ride of man and machine. Untamed in its first effort on the new game machines, MX vs. ATV follows the Motocross franchise over new hills with a few new tricks under its chaise.

Game
Since 1998, Rainbow Studios introduced their first iteration in off-road racing with Motocross Madness for the PCs. Quickly after Motocross Madness and its sequel where released, Rainbow Studios jumped their franchise over to four wheels in ATV Off-road Fury in 2001 for the PS2. It wasn’t long before Rainbow Studio's started flirting with the idea’s of putting more vehicles into the mix and by 2004, MX Unleashed was released with a roster of vehicles that included Monster Trucks, Trophy Trucks, Buggies and Biplanes. This follows s through with until 2007 with the release of MX. ATV: Untamed. Untamed for the first time is being published to all the consoles including the Nintendo Wii, and Nintendo DS. This goes along with Sony’s triple threat (PSP, PS2, PS3) and Microsoft’s knight in white, the Xbox 360. It's everything you'd expect, minus the airplanes.

In this cross-platform launch MX vs. ATV: Untamed features a number of race modes, a number of varied outdoor and indoor environments along with a revamped racing engine. The main part of your time will be spent racing in the X-Cross Tournament. This is the career mode that encompasses 8 unique racing series combining them into one ultimate off-road challenge. The racing in the X-Cross includes Opencross and Waypoint races which are open to all vehicles then the Endurocross which is bikes only. The Supercross, Outdoor Nationals, Supermoto, Freestyle which is the classic rivalry of MX vs. ATV. Lastly there are the little guys, the 50cc MX Bikes that can compete in the Minimoto races.

Enurocross and Opencross are a series of races facing the toughest terrain Mother Nature can provide. That means racing through water pits, over logs and rocks in the swampy everglades, or in the open dune filled desert. Both races are aggressive and challenge the gamer to be on your toes and you learn to tilt and adjust to the dangerous terrain. If you thought normal dirty humps can toss you around wait till you hit Mother Nature. These two modes plus the ones from the past really offer up a lot of diversity in Untamed which is the games strong point. If you sick of doing tricks on two-stroke switch up to the four wheels of a monster truck and have some real bouncy fun.

A tribute to having all this large selection of vehicles and tracks is the Rhythm Racing engine that provides easy control mechanics and realistic physics attached to the environments. Rainbow Studios have been at the off-road racing for sometime and it shows in the easy playability of Untamed. This is one game you can pick and up and play while you win a few races and earn some instant gratification. Stick with MX vs. ATV and you’ll start to be challenged as the difficulty increases and the races become more close and intense. For all purposes Rainbow Studios have done a great job making Untamed accessible and enjoyable for all gamer types.

One thing with racing games is they can get boring unless the developer really adds new features, racing modes or offers up options for customization. Untamed might leave a little to be desired in the customization area because most upgrades and purchasable items are only cosmetic changes; however the plentiful modes should make up for the lack of modification adjustments. Besides the race types you can hope online and play a few mini-games, or just go racing or free roaming with friends. Online Untamed can hold its own. I found racing online to be a lot more fun than I’d expected and despite a few achievements for winning online, I was still motivated to keep gearing up and down with other gamers ready for all out racing.

The vehicle selection also helps in this area keeping the action fun and fresh. Each vehicle handles differently and in MX vs. ATV the world is really pulled apart with diversity. You can stick to the traditional MX bikes, but where the fun begins is in the alternative machines. Towering over the competition you can choose to ride in the large frame of the big boy, the Monster Truck. If the big guy is a little too much and you need a little more some better handling switch to a Trophy Truck. With 900+ horses under the hood you’ll be ready to challenge the outdoors in these wide mini-trucks.

Sandrails are also an option which might be a better choice over the Buggies if you’re steady behind the wheel. Sandrails made for the dunes and dirt is perfect for sliding around in the sand, however “slide” is the key word. If you want more stability the Buggy is still the way to go and my choice of off-road wheels when I blaring around Copper Valley or Delsol. What’s left is Golf Karts, yes, Golf Karts... but not ordinary Grey Goose Karts, these are 4X4 carts more like the Jack Daniels of racing then the smooth performance of the Goose. ORV sport vehicles that perform like little off-road cars with the sturdy and safety beyond that of the ATV. Oh yes and of course the 250cc and 450cc available ATV’s are up and the 50cc, 125cc and 250cc range of MX bikes.

Untamed also offers the real pro’s in gaming likeness. If you’re a real die-hard MX fan then you’ll likely know a number of the riders from “The Kid” Billy Lannovich, to Nathan Ramsey and the famous "Goat", Ricky Carmichael. Even with real professional racers in the game the presence of professionals are not really felt. Each racer feels and races like clones of the others, some that have hit a few more obstacles then others. MX vs. ATV is one of those games that doesn’t need real pros, real tracks, or licensed vehicles, all it needs to do is point the gamer in one direction and say go! It would be great if Rainbow Studios got a little more serious with the sport, however like Tony Hawk, too much series might cause the series to become something its not and fail. Tony has it right and I think MX is following suit.

GFX/SND
Graphically, MX vs. ATV hasn’t really changed too much. The PS2 seems like the lowest common denominator here that is slowing the production of better graphics... although I’m only guessing. Compared to some other games that have been racing in the dirt in the next-generation like Sega Rally Revo or Motorstorm, MX vs. ATV: Untamed needs to go back to the pit and get a boost in its production.  Definitely don’t judge the graphics from the opening movie which has also been cleverly used as TV commercials in North America. If MX vs. ATV looked that good we’d be playing on the Playstation 4.

The sound is the same old deal as well. Heavy metal, now with 10% more emo rocking it up which is perfect matched with the glitchy sounds of the machineries engines. I didn’t feel like the Xbox 360 or the PS3 really benefited too much with the extra horsepower. The PSP in the other is good enough for the hardware its running, but it doesn’t look brilliant. It also suffers from poor textures, shady vehicle renders and overused greens and browns. The graphics and sound area is the nail that takes the air out of the tire as you could say in MX vs. ATV’s case.

Lowdown
MX vs. ATV Untamed is a fun off-road racing game that will tide you over until the next racer comes out, which looks like it could be a while. Rainbow Studios sticks to its old blueprints offering up the same experience as the last generation of MX games. If you liked them, then you will love the new additions in MX vs. ATV Untamed.

If you happen to be new to the off-road racing experience then MX vs. ATV Untamed is a perfect starting point. You can jump online for some quick multiplayer fun, or stay offline and race through a number of tracks on all sorts of off-road vehicles. The controls and racing is accessible and fun for all gamer types which makes MX vs. ATV Untamed a perfect game for pick up and play gaming. Even if you’re not a huge racing fan you might just like off beat path MX vs. ATV takes. Untamed isn’t the best title in series or in the genre because Rainbow has played it too safe, but who cares? It’s been tool long since I’ve taken my virtual MX out for a spin.

Gameplay: 8, Graphics:6, Sound:7, Innovation: 7, Mojo:8 Final: 7.2 / 10

 
Reviewed by Jimmy | 01.04.08

Features

  • X-Cross: 8 unique series are crossed into one ultimate off-road championship
  • Championship: Earn trophies in 8 individual event championship series
  • Own the Off-road: The 8 baddest all-terrain machines battle it out to determine which vehicle owns the outdoors
  • MX vs ATV Rivalry: Go bar to bar against the top MX and ATV professional riders
  • Massive Outdoor Environments: Rip through swampy everglades, blitz through rough rivers, and blaze through desert dunes
  • Freestyle Challenges: Natural environments provide launching pads that can’t be created elsewhere to throw down more than 40 tricks
  • Rhythm Racing: Rainbow Studios’ revolutionary real world physics has evolved to handle all new power slides, whips, and scrubs
  • Customization: Amp up your vehicle’s power, handling, and acceleration with more than 100 sponsor parts and accessories
  • Multiplayer: Fire out of the gates in 12 player online competition or in 2 player split screen

MX vs. ATV
Untamed

Publisher
THQ

Developer
Rainbow Studios

Genre
Racing

US Release
December '07

ESRB
"E"

Platform
X360, PS3, PSP,
Wii, N-DS