Developer Rainbow Studios has put out there 2nd title in the The MX vs ATV series. Rainbow Studios has a long heritage of making great off-road MX and ATV games.

I remember the first time that I saw Motocross Madness on the PC. I was to young to buy a new PC for it and didn’t have the money to upgrade the family PC to play it. A couple years they put out Motocross Madness 2. Once again I’m stuck with a PC system that I couldn’t play it on. I was subjected to just walking into the Gateway Store and playing it for 15mins before the clerks ushered me off.

Thus came the Playstation 2 and ATV Off Road Fury. It wasn’t MX bikes, but Rainbow Studios had my brother and myself sucked in. All the releases since have just gotten better and better.

ATV vs MX: Untamed.
It’s a departure from what the series had been like. Before it had been about over the top Air and Stunts. Not in the way that SSX is over that top, but landing from say 100 ft in the air without the suspension giving way or crashing.

The developers form Rainbow Studios in their online video blogs stated that they wanted to make this a game that mimicked the real world riding. Most of their staff either has MX bikes or ATVs. They ended up accomplishing this. The problem lies in that it could and will cause some of the fans of the over to top stunts and massive air of the past to not like the real world take of this version.

From the time I was 9yrs old until I was 18yrs old we had MX bikes. When playing Untamed it makes me feel like I did when I was kid riding on the back roads and the dirt tracks.

The Break Down:

Features:
Has 9 different styles of racing. Free Ride, Nationals, Supercross, Freestyle, Opencross, Supermoto, Endurocross, Waypoint, and Mini-Moto. A nice feature of Opencross, Waypoint, and Free Ride races are they allow and also feature Trophy Trucks, Monster Trucks, & Dune Buggies.

A special set of Event Series across 8 different disciplines. A nice touch with the Supercross races are that you have qualifying heat races, gate placement, and a final run just like you see in the real world races.

The meat of the single player mode is the X-Cross Tournament that requires you to learn and complete all 8 of the racing styles in the game. As you progress the AI gets tougher and smarter.

Grahpics:
+ This this is by far The Best looking MX or ATV racing game. The bikes look amazingly real. The tracks and textures quite good. The indoor stadiums are large and detailed. The outdoor levels have an amazing draw distance for a racing game. Ruts remain from where vehicles have ran through.

– It only looks moderate in terms of visuals compared to other racing games like Dirt, Forza, and Project Gotham Racing 4. Is only running at 30fps, but it’s a rock solid 30fps.

Sound:
It sounds like MX bikes, ATVs, Monster Trucks, etc.

Gameplay:
As a true fan of outdoor MX and ATV racing this game delivers. No longer can you pull of 3 back flips in the air and magically stop in mid-rotation. Once you commit you can only slow down the spin just as the real world drivers tell everyone.

All the vehicles feel good and true to their real life counterpart. You feel in control of your Bikes and ATVs at almost all times.

Rainbow Studios has done a wonderful job on track design. The “easy” courses are just that. They feature wider spaces, less tricky areas to rum through. Race on the “Hard” tracks and your slapped in the face with hair pin turns after a giant double. I can’t state this enough, the tracks are masterfully laid out and show off the bike physics and cause you to use what Rainbow Studios dumbs “Rhythm Racing.”

What is Rhythm Racing? Rainbow Studios talks of this as becoming one and in tune with the track. Knowing all the nuances. Where all the dips, huge jumps, small gaps, and berms are. How do you take advantage of jumps? Before a jump your can pre-load your suspension (flick the left stick back and press up). By doing so you can launch your bike into the air. If you launch to much you may crash and burn on the way down. The less amount of flick the lower height your bike will get. In many cases during indoor races using half the preload will net you with faster times since big air isn’t always the best route for indoor supercross.

Stunts can be pulled off at anytime that you are in the air. The Y&B (360) – Triangle&O button (PS3) plus a direction on the Left analog stick cause you to do stunts. You can also press both buttons together to achieve another set of stunts. An addition to Untamed is ground stunts that are also performed with the same buttons. This is how you will chain combos during Freestyle events. No handers, one leg off the bike, etc. It’s a nice addition to the game since all of the over top big air is gone.

There are 7 levels of Opponent AI. They aren’t cheap and there’s no “rubber band” AI to be found. The tougher level AI will ride smarter, pick the better lines, and race at a very good rhythm on the tracks. They offer a very good and life like challenge.

Free Ride. In the past all you did was just ride around the outdoor levels and see the levels that were made witih Waypoint Races in mind. The really cool addition to Free Ride is collecting “Sprockets” that are laid out all over the outdoor levels. You have Bronze, Silver, and Gold sprockets to find. The bronze ones are easy to reach and are normally found in low areas or in obvious jump areas. Silver sprockets are a bit tougher and require a little bit of thought to how you’ll get to it. The Gold sprocket is more so luck than skill to reach. They are placed in some very hard to reach places that require trial and error. Thankfully it doesn’t become frustrating.

Another nice touch is during Loading Times you can run around in a small indoor level pulling off stunts and having a good time and once the level is ready you press start to enter the race.

The Negatives:
It won’t make non fans of MX Bikes or ATVs find interest in this game. Casual fans of the series will more than likely be turned off by the real world take for this entry in the series. Some may view that the game doesn’t offer enough tracks of the new racing styles like EnduroCross and SuperMoto.

In Closing:
For those of you that are die hards of this series or love MX Bikes and ATVs, this is a game for you.
Best in class visuals for this kind of game.
Loads of racing types and styles.