Off-road racing is usually an enjoyable thing when done properly and it seems THQ have rectified some mistakes in the past of the MX vs ATV franchise and, to put it bluntly, made MX vs ATV Alive less… crap.
Not to seem biased due to the game being a favourite genre, this was a nice change of pace to something like nail’d which wasn’t that much of a pleasant ride (only played demo, that was enough) and seemed to run at 1.5x speed to try to fool the gamer into thinking it’s faster than other games, it just wasn’t right, but MX vs ATV Alive was certainly a more exhilarating experience.
Gaining XP for winning races, being the fastest, overtook the most opponents and other such stuff is something to keep going back for and although you may suffer some control glitches once in a while, you’ll soon realise it’s more your fault than the game.
There’s no dodgy collision detection or overly complicated sequence of buttons to remember, the use of the right stick to lean into corners is so beneficial and can really mean the matter of winning or losing a race by being able to take someone on the inside and grab the lead.
A nice bonus when you get MX vs ATV Alive is a code that entitles you to some free DLC, all you need to do is go into the shop (of which you get an achievement for doing so) and redeem the code to blag the free stuff.
The main item is known as Stewart Compound (around 212 MB) which is a new area to ‘Free Ride’, there isn’t anything in particular to do in the Free Ride stages except ride around and attempt to do some freestyle stunts. The higher you score by doing freestyle tricks, the better the medal once you’re bored and therefore, more XP to skill up your ride and even the rider.
Reaching new levels will unlock new stuff for your ride, decals, tyres, you know, usual stuff and if you need a new helmet or style of outfit or maybe a new skill, then play better to level up the rider. One thing that’s a tad annoying is how you don’t unlock new tracks until the rider is level 10, meaning doing the first set around three times each to accumulate enough XP.
Free rider downloadable content consists of a couple of THQ helmets (T2 and T3) and KTM Gravity FX Gear, enough to make your rider stand out a bit more from the mass amount of available riders… and there are a LOT of riders to choose from.
Just for the record, the Stewart Compound not only has Free Ride, but also two nationals and a 50cc Free Ride vehicle, so that should help towards obtaining the XP needed to open up further content. That just gives you an idea of some content in MX vs ATV Alive, what’s more impressive is that the clothes on the rider aren’t made up of two or three polygons, as you’re zipping around the tracks, the riders outfit flaps in the wind in a more realistic fashion.
That may not seem a big deal to some, graphics aren’t everything and it’s all about the gameplay, that’s not what’s in debate here, little details make for a better experience and there is plenty of graphical detail that doesn’t detract from the awesome gameplay.
If you’re wondering who the ‘Stewart’ of the Stewart Compound is, it’s James “Bubba” Stewart, a professional motocross racer who appears in the game which, quite honestly, cheapens the game slightly. Do you remember back in the days of Mega Drives and SNES’s and even more so when gaming went 32bit with the SEGA Saturn and Sony PlayStation which were capable of real video, so when you came to intro’s and special events within the game, a real person would pop up and say something?
It would send a tremor of excitement through your belly to see real interactive video because of it being an innovation and not some digitized mess, but to see such an atrocity in current gen consoles today was somewhat of a disappointment, a trifle condescending and quite unnecessary.
MX vs ATV Alive Verdict
If you were afraid to even approach an MX vs ATV game before, this one is definitely worth picking up, not just because it’s nice and cheap and if you’re wondering why you can buy it for less than £20 with a bit of free DLC, that would be due to the amount of content available to buy from the in-game online store, like helmets for something silly like 80 MS Points.
Don’t let that put you off though, you’re obviously not obliged to buy anything if you don’t want to if you think the game won’t last that long, there’s a good chance you’ll be playing more than you realise.
Great visuals, a nice sense of speed, comfortable controls and a rather banging soundtrack all matched with superb gameplay, including a wide variety of customization available both on and offline is something to achieve a warm fuzzy feeling of satisfaction that you’ve bought a game that is great value for money.