|Developer: Rainbow Studios
Release Date: Out Now
Players: 1or 2
I love a good MX game, but they seem to all be much of a muchness, often amounting to little more than the same old game in a new box, and true to form, MX Unleashed’s career mode you starts you off in the buzzy 125cc class, before you earn the right to ride the quicker 250, 450 and even 500cc bikes. But hold on a minute! - a new clutch feature (the L1 button) added to the ability to shift the rider’s weight and preload the suspension to extend jumps means that the bikes have a really good feel, and this gives you an unprecedented amount of control… Yeehah! Finally an MX game that feels as good as Xbox Moto GP!
There are a large selection of bikes designed by Rainbow Studios or branded “THQ”, and real ones manufactured by Suzuki, KTM and Yamaha – there really doesn’t seem to be much difference in terms of performance or handling (any, actually) between them though, which is a shame.
Supercross which is 3, 5 or 10 laps around nutty indoor stadium courses, spending most of the time in the air.
Nationals – Wild outdoor tracks with some amazing scenery, jumps and drop offs.
And possibly the best bit of MXU; Freestyle – not the usual, annoying, shortlived, trick-heavy mode I was expecting it to be, but 4 expansive landscapes full of ramps, buildings, natural hills and valleys to play around in - very reminiscent of good old Smuggler’s Run as traffic trundles around and trains rumble by. Each Freestyle course has four challenges: “Hit” – take off from a certain ramp and land on (hit) its target landing zone, “Run” – a series of “Hits” in a row, “Stunt” – score a certain amount by performing stunts (there’s quite a selection hidden away in there), and “Race” – race 2 laps against the level’s “machine challenge” vehicle, which might be a Biplane, a dune buggy or even a helicopter!. The best and most surprising part about this is that if you beat them, then you own them and get to drive/fly them whenever you want – A nice and unexpected bonus in an MX game.
So, simply put: MXU is just about the most fun we’ve had on two wheels since Vice City. The clutch control and the handling, that strikes the perfect balance between arcade and sim, makes it easily accessible but difficult to master – and happily for once in an MX game, racing, skill and having fun come to the fore as opposed to the more common need to trick & stunt your way around the courses - you really have to ride the bike rather than just steer it left and right. Great fun.
- The clutch.
- The handling and physics feel right.
- Tight, competitive racing.
- Well designed and challenging courses.
- Huge freestyle maps.
- Horrendous looking crashes!
- Bonus vehicles including… a helicopter!
- Only 8 riders per race.
- Much like riding a real bike, you always seem to come off worse in collisions - OUCHY.