The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
I feel like the MX vs. ATV series has lost its way with Alive. It’s
not bad; in fact, it introduces some positive new features for the
franchise – but it’s relatively directionless. The series’ one-of-a-kind
racing remains, but the game as a whole has a void because parts of it
have been removed.
When you’re flying over huge jumps and bracing yourself around giant
turns, all while trying to maintain your speed, the franchise’s racing
is unique. Unlike other racing titles, not only is your environment
different, but your controls are necessarily more complex as well.
Navigating the tracks isn’t just about left and right turns, it’s about
keeping your speed as you hill climb, trying to land on the down slopes
of jumps, and effectively leaning to slide through turns. Depending on
how good you are with a controller and how much speed you want to wring
out of your bike, you could simultaneously be popping the clutch in and
out of corners, pre-loading jumps with the right analog and R3 controls,
and managing your gas/brake. It can be a handful, but it’s fun when you
get in the groove. The game purports to add a physical, bar-banging
aspect to the racing, but it’s not really noticeable other than the fact
that you aren’t knocked down as much.
The framework around the racing itself, the career mode, isn’t as
impressive. There are only two Free Ride areas out of the box (if you
buy the game new you can download some extra tracks for free), and they
aren’t as geographically large as in previous MX titles. You can earn
medals by performing trick combos, long jumps, etc., but it’s a far cry
from past MX games, whose Free Ride areas were filled with events.
Freestyle trick events and Supercross are also absent. It’s great that
you earn rider and bike XP no matter what you’re doing in the
single-player mode, but it seemed like I was working too hard to unlock
too little content.
It’s a shame that the career structure isn’t better considering I
like the new XP format and the fact that your rider unlocks skills as
you go. You can select two skills at any one time, and they include
helpful boosts like increased clutch effectiveness or faster crash
recovery time. THQ is promising additional DLC through its MotoClub
Depot, but enough has been taken out of the game in the first place that
I don’t think you can gain it all back simply by adding some new gear.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.