MX vs. ATV Untamed Hands-On

We take a look at how the PS2 and Wii versions stack up to their next-gen bigger brothers.

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Recently we brought you an exclusive first look at the next-generation versions of MX vs. ATV Untamed for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game seems to be tracking well for Rainbow Studio's first next-generation MX title, with a raft of new features, tweaks, and in some cases, total rewrites in the form of AI and physics.

Untamed is an incredibly ambitious project, not only transitioning to more powerful console hardware from Microsoft and Sony, but also being developed for two handhelds and two other home consoles--the Wii and PlayStation 2--at the same time. Rather than offer a simple dumbed-down port of the top tier version, the four remaining games have been outsourced to other development teams. In the case of the Wii and PS2 versions, THQ studio Incinerator Studios has been given the nod to create the title. The studio is probably best known for their Cars game based on the Disney movie, and while they've made vehicular-based games before, MX vs. ATV swaps out cute for grunt.

Instead of being the same game as the 360 or PS3 version with a reworked control system, the Wii and PS2 versions offer a completely different gameplay experience. For a start, the heavy vehicles such as monster trucks and offroad buggies have been stripped out in favour of focusing on the core MX and ATV dynamic. In both versions of the game you'll be limited to 250cc, 550cc MX bikes, and a choice of four ATV quads. Given the generally harder nature of steering trucks, it makes a lot of sense to focus on smaller agile vehicles as you flail your arms. The Wii version uses the A button on the Wiimote to accelerate, and the analogue thumb stick on the nunchuck to steer your rider. After playing the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions, the Wii game seems to be much less twitchy and as a result more forgiving when landing tricks. The Z button on the front of the nunchuck is used to engage the trick mode, and once activated simple hand gestures perform tricks like the Superman and Lazyboy.

The mini-game selection has also been changed, swapping out the 360 and PS3's section racing, graffiti, snake, tag, and hockey for more gesture friendly games like hill-climbing, gap jumping events, and our favourite, the downhill ski jump. The ski jump requires you to build up speed, drop onto the ramp, and perform your most insane trick combo in the air. The tough part is landing it, but if you can stick it clean, there's a second hill you can use for another crack at increasing your score.

The PS2 version of Untamed is a bit of an oddity, combining the interface and gameplay of the Wii title with the analogue control system of the 360 and PS3 games. Graphics are typical for a PS2 title, and the control pad actually makes pulling off the big combos slightly easier. We found we had more fine control than with the Wiimote since stunts only required a button press and the left thumb stick movement.

Both versions feature staples of the MX series, with clutching, power-slides, and pre-loading allowing you to get big air off the edge of jumps. Inside you'll find six series to play: supercross, nationals, opencross, supermoto, freestyle, and rally. Unfortunately there are none of those badass little 50cc minimoto races that seem perfect for the Wii audience. These are limited to the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version.

Both games will include online multiplayer, with the PS2 offering six player online competitive racing, and Wii sneaking two more in per game for a total of 8. Both versions of the game are set to ship this holiday season.

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