ATV Offroad Fury 2 Preview

We check out the next installment in the addictive PlayStation 2 racing series.

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The original ATV Offroad Fury, now considered one of the PlayStation 2's greatest hits, was an addictive addition to the growing PS2 library when it was released last year. Developed by Rainbow Studios, the game blended arcade-style gameplay with a trick system and a solid multiplayer component. For the next installment in the burgeoning series, Rainbow has been building on the original game's core gameplay to offer a deeper playing experience. We recently checked out a previewable build of the game to see how it's coming together.

You'll have to perfect your trick scores in order to really shine in ATV Offroad Fury 2.
You'll have to perfect your trick scores in order to really shine in ATV Offroad Fury 2.

You'll find three gameplay modes to choose from in ATV Offroad Fury 2: single player, multiplayer, and training course. The single-player mode allows you to race in a series of 14 championships, participate in a single race on any open course, or create and race on your own course. The multiplayer mode lets you play against friends in a standard split-screen game, an i-Link game, or an online game. Finally, the training course is a tutorial that walks you through the basics of the gameplay. In addition to the gameplay modes, you'll find a profile editor that will let you create a customized rider to use in the game, track your stats, and unlock items in the game. When you create your profile, you'll be able to customize your ATV and various aspects of your rider's appearance. Creating and using a profile is key to unlocking new equipment for your rider to wear, new ATVs, new multiplayer game types like tag and king of the hill, and new tracks.

To get the most out of the game's modes, you're going to have to hone your racing skills to a fine point in order to deal with some stiff competition from the game's AI. Fortunately, the game's control scheme is a breeze to pick up. You'll steer your ATV with the left analog stick or D pad, use the X button to accelerate, and use the square button to brake. You'll also be able to reverse by holding X and square down at the same time. Performing stunts in order to earn valuable points is accomplished by holding down combinations of the triangle, circle, and L1 buttons while pressing a direction on the D pad or analog stick when you're flying through the air. If you can get a handle on the timing of performing a stunt and then releasing the buttons so you can successfully land and resume racing, you'll have a successful career in the game.

You'll find a nice assortment of vehicles in the game.
You'll find a nice assortment of vehicles in the game.

ATV Offroad Fury 2's graphics and sound are solid and improve on the first game in varying degrees. Graphically, the game looks very good, with improved detail complementing the fluid rider animation. The environments are massive, featuring a variety of locales and plenty of jumps and stunt opportunities. You'll also find a good amount of visual variety, as the tracks will range from parks to dunes to snowy areas. However, as detailed as the various tracks are, the real stars of the game are the ATVs and the riders, which feature fine detail and slick animation. You'll find a host of little touches such as your rider's subtle lean into turns as you steer lightly or hard push to one side if you make a sharp turn. The riders are further enhanced by the highly detailed accessories you choose for them. As for the game's audio, you'll hear good re-creations of engine noises during a race, as well as tunes from well-known acts like the Utah Saints and Quarashi that complement the onscreen action well.

Judging from what we've so far played of ATV Offroad Fury 2, it's clear that the game is coming together nicely. It retains the solid handling of its predecessor and looks a bit sharper to boot. The multiplayer options also look very promising, but our build of the game wasn't online-enabled. However, the promise of online play certainly piques our interest, and we're curious to see what kind of online gameplay modes Rainbow adds to the game. ATV Offroad Fury 2 is slated to ship this November. Look for more on the game soon.

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