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MX Unleashed


Buck
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I just got back from picking up MX Unleashed and to my surprise it's in 1080i :D

 

I'll post some impressions later, but wanted to get that out there. It's developed by Rainbow Studios, the makers of such titles as, Splashdown, ATV Off-Road Fury, and the Motocross Madness series.

 

So, far it feels as if RS still has what it takes to make a great off-road game :)

 

It retails for $39.99 as well, but unfortunately no Live play.

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I'd rather have the delay! The Motocross Madness games were firm favs back in the day - massive races at lunchtime that were a heck of a lot of fun, and I'd have loved to see that on XBL.

 

Gah!

 

Still, I loved Splashdown, so I'm sure the single player will have merit... It just won't be the same...

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Passing on this one as well. I was a huge fan of playing Motocross Madness 1 and 2 online on the PC.

 

After playing great games online like MotoGP2 and PGR2, playing racing games offline only is just boring, I'd rather have a 4 month delay. That just sounds like an excuse on their part for rushing it out the door.

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Well got to play with this for a very short while last night, this one may be a little too complicated for my liking. I am not a big fan of stringing a bunch of button combos to achieve game goals (any extreme sport type game). It's not really my type of racing that i would devote the time needed to properly learn all the nuances*. Having my bike racing hardwired into my brain from motogp, I kept fumbling with pressing the wrong buttons/triggers. Another problem was that the image was off center so that my jump gauge was off screen, something I have to look into whether this is an issue with the game or my set is off when showing a 1080i image, which would be a kick in the pants.

 

 

*If this game was live capable however all this would be mute, as it would be a blast and I would be hard at work trying to get my controls down. The free roam is quite fun from what i played , and having a bunch of friends tearing up hills and pulling off supermans and such would be sweet. Basically any racing type game at this point should have live enabled. Although that is no guarantee for fun, cough cough segagt cough cough.

 

Again this is all based on a very short session, I will give it another go tonight.

 

However it is the first time i got to feed my tv (xbr400) a hdtv signal :shock: , smooth as butter no jaggies and such. Definatly notice a difference in image quality over 480p.

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I played it for a couple of hours last night and my initial impressions are that it's NOT as good as their release of ATV Offroad on the PS2.

 

My reasons for saying that are that the handling of this new game is squirrelly. You WWWHIP from right to left with slight movements of the of left thumbstick. The preload system, which worked GREAT on ATV, has a flaw this time around. They added the blackflip trick, which is definitely cool BUT...it's attached to the preload left thumbstick. Goes like this:

 

You're coming up on a jump. As your bike hits the bottom of the ramp, you pull back on the preload. Right before you go airborne, you launch the stick forward giving you an extra boost in the air. Well, that part works great, exactly how it did in ATV...BUT....the damn backflip is initiated if you pull back on the same stick right after you flick it forward to complete the preload.

 

Well...just don't immediately pull back on the stick, right? If it were that simple, I wouldn't be griping. The problem is that if, when you let the left thumbstick return to neutral, and it EVER SO SLIGHTLY goes "over center", or beyond neutral, it starts the damn backflip. Not exactly handy when you're just going over a small jump and find youself landing on your damn head!!!

 

When you do the preload, which is extremely often, you have to make absolutely sure that after you flick the left thumbstick forward, it in no way shape or form, goes beyond it's neutral position or you're going to be fighting the damn backflip. It happens enough to bitch about it...

 

Graphically, it moves very smooth. The riders are well animated and really seem as if they are riding the bikes and are not part of the bike.

 

But...for me, it's just not as fun as the much older ATV:Offroad on the PS2 and it's primarily due to that game having better control.

 

Oh yeah, maybe it's just me but, again...comparing it to the ps2 ATV game, these bikes are REALLY floaty. I know that it's cool to fudge gravity in these games to make the air time that much more dramatic but, I think they tweaked it a bit too much this time.

 

Just seems weird that THQ's older game seemed to have better control that this one.

 

Not all that impressed this time around.

 

...for what it's worth.

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MX Unleashed

Xbox

480p- Yes

720p- Yes

1080i- Yes

16:9- Yes

CST- Yes

DD5.1- Yes

Online- No

 

First off, there is no online multiplayer for this title. While this is a huge disappointment, there is plenty to like about this game. So, if you can look over it's lack of online support you will be treated to the best representation of Motocross on any platform... ever.

 

Here's mud in your eye

 

The first thing you'll notice after starting up MX Unleashed if you've played ATV on the PS2 is that the game looks almost exactly like it, but with dirt bikes, not 4-wheelers. While it doesn't look bad, it would have been nice to see a little more detail. There a few other things with the graphics that could have been improved on as well, mainly the textures. While they're not horrible, they're a little washed out for my tastes and a little bump-mapping could have gone a long way here. If you played MX Superfly, then this will be very apparent to you when you first play Unleashed as Superfly had some pretty nice texture work.

 

Not to worry though, as all is not lost. For HDTV owners you are treated to 1080i support that really brings the game to life. The biggest improvement you'll see here is in the riders and the bikes. Sadly the textures are just shown in a higher resolution, but still, they get the job done.

 

The rider and bike animations are some of the best around and the way the front forks of the bike follow over the terrain is truly impressive, as is the way the rider interacts with the bike. You can move the rider while on the bike to adjust for your landings just as in the other motocross games out there. One new feature that Unleashed has added, which in my mind is long overdo, is the ability to swing the rear-end of the bike out. If you've ever rode motocross in real life, this is a must in certain situations and thankfully Rainbow Studios has given you the option to do this in the game. This move comes in very handy when trying to avoid a nasty crash. For example, if you're trying to clear a triple jump and need just a little more to clear the top of the final jump, you can move the left thumbstick left or right to swing the back end of the bike out and gain some valuable inches to get over it. The execution couldn't be any better. Of course, there will be plenty of times when you'll miss the jump, and you're sure to cringe as the ragdoll physics contort your riders body into positions that would make Jenna Jamison uncomfortable ;)

 

If it's not broke, don't fix it

 

If it's one thing Rainbow Studios knows how to do, it's make one hell of a great handling game. For evidence of this one just needs to load up a copy of any of there past titles, or now, MX Unleashed.

 

Controls

 

LTS- Steering, move rider, click down to dolly camera

RTS- Manipulate camera

Start- Pause game

Back- Select between 5 camera presets

A- Throttle

X- Brake

B- Trick

Y- Trick

LT- Clutch

RT- Trick modifier

White- Look behind

Black- Trick camera

 

There are few presets for the controls, but sadly none of them allow for the triggers to be mapped to throttle and brake.

 

 

First timers to the series will feel very comfortable with the controls, but this is not to say that there's no learning curve, because there is. With a plethora of tracks at your disposal (22 Nationals, 24 Supercross, and 5 Freestyle) it's going to take a while to know when to preload a jump and when not to. Freestyle mode is basically a free roam mode with objectives placed throughout the area. You can pick and choose which objectives you want to do and can even mix them up. The objectives are:

 

Hits- Land 10 jumps faster then your opponents. You must take off and land in specific areas.

Run- Like Hits, you must take off and land in specific areas, but it must all be done in a continuous run.

Highscore- Reach the set score before the time runs out

Machine Race- Race against different vehicles. Win and unlock that vehicle.

 

As with most racing titles it really comes down to track memorization to be competitive and Unleashed is no different. There is also a learning curve associated with the size bike you choose to ride. When starting the career mode you'll be riding a 125cc, but as you progress you'll find yourself on top of 250cc, 450cc, 500cc (unlockable) and my personal favorite, the 50cc (also unlockable). There are also 2 stroke and 4 stroke varieties for the different classes as well, so there is a lot of variety here. You'll find that on a lot of the tracks a 125cc won't have what it takes to clear a triple jump, but when you get aboard a 250cc that triple is too easy to over jump, so a careful use of your preload and throttle are key. There are some other vehicles in the game that you'll unlock during the Freestyle portion of your career. The vehicles are:

 

-Monster Truck

-Trophy Truck

-Bi-Plane

-Dune Buggy

-Helicopter

 

These vehicles can be driven in the Freestyle mode and while a nice change of pace are not nearly as fun to drive as the motorcycles. Though they do have there moments :D

 

As far as the physics engine is concerned, it's pretty much the way it's been since the Motocross Madness 2 days. Meaning, it didn't need to be fixed, but they tweaked it just a little. This is a perfect example of a game that gets that mix of sim and arcade style down perfectly. It's arcadey in the way that you can make 500 foot jumps without getting ejected off the bike. But, it's sim style can be experienced by not landing a jump properly and facing the consequences. The beauty is, you can go into the game and be rewarded for riding either way.

 

Is that a bumblebee?

 

There's good use of DD5.1 at work here with the ability to pinpoint the other riders positions very easily. The use of custom soundtracks is always a welcomed addition and Unleashed does a great job of shuffling up the tunes. By default it will randomly select songs from your soundtrack and make playlists on the fly. Pretty cool.

 

The bike sounds are what you'd expect as it's easy to tell a 4 stroke from a 2 stroke. There's really not much else to the sound besides maybe a few ambient effects like thunder and birds chirping on the outdoor tracks. Overall though, a solid package.

 

Happy trails to you

 

Overall, this game is a ton of fun. Sure, I'd love to have online play, but there is really a lot here to get my moneys worth out of it. I've beaten the game in a time of roughly 8 hours, but I find myself going back and replaying most of the tracks to try and improve my times. Plus, the Freestyle tracks have got endless replay value as they're free roam.

 

Highly recommended :tu:

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Originally posted by Derrik Draven@Feb 26 2004, 12:43 AM

The preload system, which worked GREAT on ATV, has a flaw this time around. They added the blackflip trick, which is definitely cool BUT...it's attached to the preload left thumbstick. Goes like this:

 

You're coming up on a jump. As your bike hits the bottom of the ramp, you pull back on the preload. Right before you go airborne, you launch the stick forward giving you an extra boost in the air. Well, that part works great, exactly how it did in ATV...BUT....the damn backflip is initiated if you pull back on the same stick right after you flick it forward to complete the preload.

I've not had a problem with this at all. At first to me it was very hard to even initiate the backflip. The way I do it is the exact opposite of the preload. I'll start up the face of the jump with the thumbstick up and then bring it back when I launch. As much as I tried in the beginning I couldn't initiate a backflip after the preload.

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Nice write-up Scott! Sounds like a pretty fun game, I'd like a good motocross game. The last one I got (FreekStyle) had a lot of stuff going for it, but the AI catch-up ruined it for me. This also sounds like it has more options and goals.

 

One question, when you said:

 

You can move the rider while on the bike to adjust for your landings just as in the other motocross games out there.

 

I wonder if you meant:

 

You can move the rider while in the air to adjust for your landings just as in the other motocross games out there.

 

Or maybe I misunderstand.

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Originally posted by FreakTornado@Feb 26 2004, 01:25 AM

One question, when you said:

 

You can move the rider while on the bike to adjust for your landings just as in the other motocross games out there.

 

I wonder if you meant:

 

You can move the rider while in the air to adjust for your landings just as in the other motocross games out there.

 

Or maybe I misunderstand.

You didn't misunderstand, Ed. Sometimes when you're writing you don't catch certain things or you don't fully explain them the way they should be. This is one of those situations ;)

 

I'll add that while not in the air and going over a section of whoops (closely placed smaller jumps) if you pull back on the thumbstick (shift the riders weight to the rear wheel) you'll get a nice increase in speed. Again, these are things that are true in real life motocross and they are executed to near perfection in Unleashed.

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Hmm thanks for the review Buck. I still may pick this one up just because I was a huge fan of the original MXM games on the pc. Endless hours of multiplayer fun were had. It pisses me off that there is no live support but I could get over it. Single player could still be fun in spirts and when I have friends over it would be a fun split screen game. We shall see..

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