MTX Mototrax Hands-On Impressions

We take a spin in Activision's new motocross racing game.

We recently had a chance to check out a build of MTX Mototrax, Activision's upcoming motocross racing game, and we're pretty pleased with what we've seen. The game appears to be fully featured at this point, boasting a career mode, a single-race exhibition mode, multiplayer options, and a track editor. We raced on a few of the game's many tracks, which will include indoor arena-based supercross tracks, as well as standard outdoor motocross tracks

Though the game is primarily a racer, there's also a freestyle mode, where you'll be tasked with completing a series of different challenges. Some of the challenges we took on included performing specified tricks or jumping through a series of hoops as a clock counted down. The trick system is sort of a stripped-down version of what we've seen in the Tony Hawk games--you use two different face buttons in concert with the directional pad to pull off tricks while in the air--and it doesn't seem to have much effect in the racing portions of the game. And, much like other recent motocross and ATV racing games, Mototrax uses a preloading mechanic to help you get more altitude off your jumps. On the whole, the controls seem both intuitive and responsive, and they ought to feel familiar to players who have experience with past motocross games. We also competed in an eight-player LAN race in the Xbox version of Mototrax, which ran flawlessly. The final version will include Xbox Live support in addition to the system link.

The visuals are looking good, and MTX Mototrax appears to be holding up to Activision's claims of a rock-solid 60 frames per second. The detail that caught our attention the most was the rider animations. The game shows off some of the bigger trick animations by panning the camera to the side while you're in the air, and there are little touches, like the way your rider will kick out a leg for balance on hard, high-speed turns, that help increase the realism. The bits of the soundtrack that we heard were pretty much entirely high-energy punk rock, and we did recognize one Pennywise song in there, which seems to fit the overall aesthetic of the game. As for the in-game sounds, all we could really hear was the blare of the bikes' engines, which sounded pretty authentic.

MTX Mototrax appears to be completely on track for its scheduled release in early March, as the build we played seemed to essentially be done. We'll have a more comprehensive preview of the game in the coming weeks.

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