MX vs. ATV Untamed Updated Hands-On

We get some more track time with the PS2 version of THQ's upcoming dirt racer.

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MX vs. ATV Untamed is the latest in the MX vs. ATV series, and while the game is making a big splash on next-generation consoles, the ageing PlayStation 2 hasn't been forgotten. We took the latest preview code of the game out for a thrash recently to see how it has changed since our last hands-on in October.

MXs are speedy, if a little fragile to ride.
MXs are speedy, if a little fragile to ride.

As we covered in our last preview, the PS2 version of MX vs. ATV Untamed will let you race in four different vehicle types: MX motorcycles, ATVs, Trophy Trucks, and the larger Sand Rails. The physics behind each vehicle type seem fairly convincing, if not a little floaty at times. MXs, as you would expect, are quick but more challenging to maneuver; ATVs have got better balance and decent speed; while Sand Rails are top heavy and are more difficult to control around tight, bumpy tracks. Each feels significantly different from the others when racing on a track.

As in previous entries in the series, being successful in races requires intelligent use of the game's preload mechanic, where you have to quickly flick the left thumbstick up and down when on the lip of a ramp to increase the distance of a jump. Longer jumps become essential on most tracks, particularly in areas where jumps are closely packed together. Tricks are another returning feature--get enough air, and you can add to your score by performing some flashy moves. Performing tricks is extremely easy and intuitive on the PS2--doing a can-can on a speedy MX, for example, is performed by pressing O and pressing the left thumbstick to the left. A lazyboy is pulled off by pressing O and pulling the thumbstick back.

Inside MX vs. ATV Untamed's single-player game, the X-Cross option serves as the main career mode, with players starting off racing in first division before slowly making their way to the top of the fourth and final tier. Within each division are four different race types--nationals, supercross, supermoto, and open cross--which also have their own specific vehicle types to race in. Outside of X-Cross, you can tackle individual championships as well in--you guessed it--championship mode. Of course, if you ever get tired of these set modes, MX vs. ATV Untamed also offers a custom race option, which lets you set whatever vehicles you want on whatever unlocked tracks you desire.

Graphically, MX vs. ATV Untamed looks fair, but it's a long way behind its next-generation cousins in terms of detail and sharpness. The PS2 does sport some good effects, however, such as impressive light bloom on certain tracks. Sound fares quite well too, with a decent (if not comprehensive) selection of bands included in the game's soundtrack. Some of the bigger names appearing include Pennywise, Disturbed, My Chemical Romance, Electric Six, Bad Religion, and Nickelback.

MX vs. ATV Untamed launches onto the PlayStation 2 in December 2007.

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