MX vs. ATV Untamed Exclusive Hands-On

GameSpot gets some exclusive hands-on time with the latest game in this dirt thrashing title.

39 Comments

Yesterday we got exclusive hands-on time with the newest game in the MX vs. ATVoff-road series, MX vs. ATV Untamed. Untamed represents the first next-generation title for the franchise, and will be available on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 platforms. It will also be the first MX vs. ATV to go all the way cross-platform, and will be available on the PlayStation 2, Nintendo Wii, PlayStation Portable, and Nintendo DS handheld. This is a significant departure from MX vs. ATV Unleashed, which was only available on the Xbox and PlayStation 2 systems.

In addition to casting the net further and offering more supported platforms--including its first appearance on Nintendo hardware--MX vs. ATV: Untamed also has a stack of new features. These include eight different series: Supercross, Nationals, Opencross, Supermoto, Freestyle, Waypoint, Minimoto, and the hugely popular Endurocross sport, the latter of which pits the player against not only other riders, but also the environment, with races on a simulated indoor cross-county course with water hazards, and rocks to climb on top of the usual dirt slopes.

MX vs. ATV Untamed will feature plenty of new game modes.
MX vs. ATV Untamed will feature plenty of new game modes.

Untamed will feature 10 brand new outdoor tracks--including mountain ranges--with expansive draw-distances. If you can see it, chances are you can ride it. We couldn't get an exact figure out of dev team Rainbow Studios, but our demo team suggested it was in the realm of several miles in each direction. The cannonball also makes a return appearance, shooting you back into play if you find yourself hugging one of the zone boundary walls.

Vehicle selection plays a huge role in a title like this, and newcomers and fans of the previous games alike will be pleased to hear that motorcycles, ATVs, monster trucks, sand rail, golf kart, trophy trucks, off road buggies, and ORV sport vehicles will all be supported when the game ships. The airborne vehicles from Unleashed have been sent to the big dirt graveyard this time around, although developers were quick to point out that while the air vehicles are gone, they've compensated by giving ground vehicles more vertical jump in this version.

If the range of modes and vehicles don't manage to keep you busy, the development team is also throwing in five mini-games on the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions in the form of section races, graffiti, snake, hockey, and tag. These will ship as playable options from the outset, so you won't even need to unlock them in the career mode if you find you want a break from straight racing. Both the Wii and PS2 versions of the game will include mini-games, but they do differ slightly. In place of the next-gen title ones above you'll find hill-climbing, gap events and ski-jumping--ala Winter Olympics long jump with vehicles.

A game as large and varied as MX vs. ATV Untamed can get a bit unwieldily to navigate the various challenges, modes, and options. For this reason the new version will include a feature called X-Cross Tournaments and will give you a flat view of your progression through the game. You'll work your way towards the final showdowns in each series, but the flow-chart style layout shows you all your options at once, allowing you to go down a different path without feeling like you need to complete a particular challenge to continue.

Next-generation graphics have brought this title a long way, and even as a work in progress the visuals are impressive to say the least. The power of the Xbox 360 and PS3 has also allowed the team to experiment with first-person view racing, and for the first time it extends to the stunt mode. We saw the first-person view while racing a bike, and while the lack of handlebars seems a bit strange at first, the dynamic nature of the view means that taking a flat road will give you a stripped-back view of the world, while ploughing through environmental obstacles like logs, dirt mounds, and hills will show off your player's helmet, arms, and part of the bike's chassis where appropriate.

The Xbox 360 and PS3 versions will both offer two-player split screen, as well as online support for up to 12 players per game. Rainbow knows how precious your time is, so rather than have you sit around twiddling your thumbs as you wait for either your single-player or online match to load, you're immediately presented with an open space you can practice moves in, try out your latest tuning preferences, or show off your skills. The space doesn't end when the game has loaded, so you can continue to hang out here, trying out new ideas until you're ready to begin. You'll even be able to tune directly from the area, letting you tweak your preferences on the fly and test them in real-time.

Opposition rider AI and game control handling have both received work in Untamed, so rather than offer what they refer to as "rubber-band" AI, game-controlled players will respond more intelligently, cutting smarter lines and acting more like competition than track litter. In our play, it wasn't uncommon to see AI bikes crash trying to over-perform and unlike the previous game, they now spread out more evenly, avoiding bunching in packs. The game controls are intuitive, but are still as twitchy as ever, closely mimicking their real-world vehicle counterparts. Motorbikes can be oversteered quite easily with the left analogue thumb stick if you swing it too quickly, and like most racing games the right trigger handles your acceleration with the left trigger used to brake. The coloured buttons are used to control your stunts. The PlayStation 3 version of the game will include user selectable Sixaxis support allowing you to effectively replace the left thumb stick with waggle motions by steering your player and setting up preload movements to help give you bigger air from the top of jump edges.

What would an MX vs. ATV game be without music, and work has been put in to include music that's fun to ride and drive to rather than just throwing in the latest hits for the sake of it. Included are bands like Bad Religion, MXPX, and Dinosaur Jr.

Next-generation has given MX vs. ATV not only a graphical new lease on life, but has allowed it to blossom across new platforms, and add a tonne of new features. If you loved the series previously, there's more than ever before in this game when it ships before the end of the year. Keep an eye on GameSpot for the full review.

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Avatar image for Terror-Strike
Terror-Strike

its fantastic that there is actually a good motor cross and atv game coming out on xbox with a high reputation compared to other games

Avatar image for truenextgen
truenextgen

MX "retired" racer myself. Love the series. Its a nice blend of arcade ,with bike physics that fit real motocross, and Supercross. But on just enough of a inda fictional way. But not so much its stupid. And real pros and stuff. And having to attack triple, double, single, triple, whatever sections, in rhythmic ways. Thats the essence of what is supercross is. But for the PS3. Even thow Motostorm is a lame game play wise. Rainbow needs to call them up and ask what they did to get such great gameplay so smooth "from a graphics standpoint," before blogging down the PS3 version. One can only hope they are somewhat schooled in true next gen programing. But will see?

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ktm1255

This looks soooo awesome. i will b gettin this for sure. The first person view on the yamaha looks wicked.

Avatar image for truenextgen
truenextgen

I played and owned at this game for 100 maybe thousands of hours on unleashed. I will on this one. Only thing is. Where is are track editor the PC version got? Im like the white James Stewart man lol. Well ok maybe not that fast but still.

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killzone_gamer

Motorstorm. *Walks away*

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NinjaMunkey01

I did not like the one for the ps2 much. Anyway moterstorm is the same and more and will have better graphics.

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Doolum

looks good.

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stuffyyo

Looks kinda good i might rent it but these games come out so much so im never gonna buy this

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4esth

I would buy this simply because THQ picked an Electric Six song as part of the soundtrack, awesome choice! I've been waiting for a next gen version of this since the 360 came out!

Avatar image for truenextgen
truenextgen

One of My favorite game of last gen. Hopeful it will use at least 20% of the PS3 and run decent. Yea us old time X motocrossers own PS3's lol. So learn the hardwear for gods sake.

Avatar image for Anabub
Anabub

This has kinda turned my head in a good way!! I'm keeping my eye on this one!!

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peterj_123

i havnt had any of these games yet but i might get this it looks pretty gud.

Avatar image for Turbo-Evil
Turbo-Evil

I liked Unleashed, but it got old fast for me. Sure, me and my brother could spend all day zooming around in a massive environment on 50cc bikes, but after about 10 minutes it got boring for me. I'll possibly rent this one, or my brother will buy it for PS2, but not a "must-get" for me and my 360.

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bropie

Does anyone know if they will have Honda's in this?? They only had a red bike in unleashed...but still getting this looks awsome!

Avatar image for mkunkel20
mkunkel20

SSWWEET T I cant freaking wait for this game I seriously loved the free style in MX Vs. ATV Unleashed and I can just imagine how good it will be in Untamed.

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FMX_Gamer

Best motocross franchize ever!

Avatar image for DrKill09
DrKill09

Rainbow Studios are great! I loved the first two ATV Offroad Fury games (the series went south when they left), the first Splashdown. The MX Unleashed series is great! MXvsATV Unleashed is one of my all time fav games. ATV Offroad Fury 4 tried to copy it, but failed. This game is gonna rule!

Avatar image for s3lFc0nTr0l
s3lFc0nTr0l

sweet....always loved these games but only had a gamecube for a while now me and my 360 will play this a lot

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mxaaron

Now I might finally be able to put VMX Racing to rest; this one just might top it! Seriously, it looks like a great addition to the series. Endurocross looks fun...

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Kyran87

I predict it'll get between 8.0 - 8.5.

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TheSpidren

Hooray! Although I'm not convinced it will be great yet, I am indeedly looking forward to next gen quad biking games :D about time!

Avatar image for kittykiller897
kittykiller897

i agree with YZF250Spree, maybe a game with a career mode more like skate. would be nice. Something where your trying to get to the X Games and get a better ride and stuff like that.

Avatar image for YZF250Spree
YZF250Spree

I love the MX unleashed games. Being an MX rider myself, I am highly anticipating the release of this game. However, I would love to see an MX game only which would include Supercross, Nationals, maybe even Hare Scrambles or Enduro and it takes you through the career of an amateur trying to become a pro trying to get a factory ride and sponsors. Where all the details and everything of the game is related to MOTOCROSS only instead of buggies, and golf carts which I could care less about. Also include real MX tracks like Glen Helen and Red Bud etc...

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Willy105

I hear this series is a little popular.

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MetalHead324

hell yeah, i used to be a huge fan of these games back in the ps2 days. i cant wait to see what its gonna be like on the 360

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thenephariouson

Sounds & looks quite good, however i remain dubious, need a demo to get a better idea

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McDog3

My friend is OBSESSED with MX vs. ATV Unleashed, he plays it in his huge RV up to his dirtbike races every weekend (yeah, he's pretty rich lol). He's gonna be at my house to play this on my PS3 so often people will think we're boyfriends rotflol

Avatar image for jacob-goodlich
jacob-goodlich

great artical, i really liked the multiplayer in the earlier ones, now in next gen? probably worth buying. release date?

Avatar image for gcps2master
gcps2master

Unleashed looked crap, so hopefully this makes up for it with better visuals and online, woohoo

Avatar image for Pete5506
Pete5506

Sounds good and looks good

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sniper2k0

This better be good..

Avatar image for II-NewEra02-II
II-NewEra02-II

sounds like they got something to show for all this talk they just gave it

Avatar image for SmArTaLeC1321
SmArTaLeC1321

I hate the name Untamed. I mean Unleashed now Untamed wow they need something more original, but the game itself looks good.

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fmobliv06

looks good

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Method_Man

Sounds crazy but cool

Avatar image for TWOC2689
TWOC2689

Who needs Motostorm when you have all this in one package. nut here is hoping it will do well.

Avatar image for juicenpancakes
juicenpancakes

Could kick a$$, could suck. Definitely hoping for the first.

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ppau08223

*yawn* next!!

Avatar image for veitari
veitari

I enjoyed MX vs ATV : Unleashed. I'm hoping this will be just as fun.