I think it is wrong to compare two games with each other, at least in a way that you pick an issue and say which one scores best. Each game has some unique characteristics and charm and that is the reason why I made a completely separate review for MX Unleashed, the second motor-cross game that I tested. Logically, you’ll still need to weigh the pros and cons of each game if you want to buy one but which factors are of overriding importance is up to you to decide.
Graphics are more than adequate, the spurting mud shows up gradually, the bike looks though and the roads are looking slick. In some of the larger areas things tend to get monotonous and it all looks a little artificial. Once you are occupied with completing goals, however, your attention will be so diverted that everything looks great. Well, what can I say: “Only a nit-picker drives around in a level at 10 miles an hour to evaluate the graphics!”.
The gameplay is beyond all praise. Riding the bike is fun and feels game-realistic. An ideal combination if you ask me except for the patience that is needed in the beginning. If you are not well up in motor-cross you will need at least one hour before you start to get the hang of it. Luckily there is an excellent tutorial that explains some basic techniques with the help of video-examples and a voice-over. It goes even further: if you did not use a certain technique during a race you will be warned you ought to do so.
All the usual competitions are once more present but for your career you will also have to steer your bike through some amusing tests like jumping up from a ramp and landing in a bulls-eye several times in a row, reaching a highscore in a defined period of time or race against other vehicles like monster trucks, a beach buggy, an airplane or a chopper (if you win the race you can drive or fly the vehicle). All these goals are to be completed in a freestyle event (in someway like a Tony Hawk level), besides those 5 events you will also have to prove yourself in a number of races. I like the freestyle events better because the races are kept on smaller tracks where you have to ride a lot of laps and if you fall hundred metres before the finish you end up last, which is how it goes in motor-cross. Luckily you can save anyplace, anywhere and anytime.
The sound is sublime, especially when you are the proud owner of a Dolby Surround set. The sound of throbbing engines in combination with some fierce rock-music is powdering . If you are a fan of contemporary rock music you will definitely find yourself in seventh heaven. I am not such a great music lover but just like it was the case with the Tony Hawk series I could not miss the music after playing for a few hours. Searching for the disc’s will once again be in order because there are no audio-discs included or possibilities to order them.
Unfortunately this game lacks an online multiplayer. A missed opportunity because that would have raised plenty of dust. The AI is good, but we are in a time where ps2-gamers can still play for free over the internet and let us be honest it is a different feeling when competing against people living in an American metropolis or in a village near you as it is to computer-driven opponents.
Gameplay, for me, has always been an issue of greater importance than graphics, especially now on the lesser powerful consoles (comparing to a modern game-pc), and the gameplay is once again an unparalleled success. Graphics are suitable for the desired result. It is a shame that there are no online possibilities because that would have made this game beyond comparison. Still, the single-player is worth playing and will provide you with challenges for many hours. If you want to play online no matter what I advise you to read MTX Mototrax’s review. MX Unleashed is a topper for both motor-cross lovers as for other the gamers.