It's all-terrain, but is it all that?
If you ever rode one
of these as a kid, or remember when this
was considered futuristic, then you may be able to guess about how long it's
been since I was on an ATV. If not, think Members Only jackets and strategically
placed combs in the back pocket, a time when Sugar
Smacks was an acceptable title for a breakfast cereal. Get the idea? It's
been a while.
Since then, the pastime of us country-boys has blossomed into a very lucrative
offroad sport, which in turn has slightly bubbled into a modestly profitable
two-game series. ATV Offroad Fury 2 is fun, full of tricks and has plenty
of game modes. It just never reaches the truly exciting mark set by the real-life
gameplay is in typical offroad racing fashion. Pick your rider and his boots,
gloves and goggles. Now choose from one of the game's 20+ ATVs, though not all
are initially available. You must bust tricks to rack up points, which can be
spent purchasing other ATVs and more rider equipment, so you stay color coordinated.
The best place for this, as in most racing games, is the Champion mode. Nationals,
Supercross, Enduro and Freestyle circuits come in both wimpy Amateur and seasoned
Pro flavors. You get a lot of racing challenges for your buck. The four other
NPCs race you hard and the terrain is unforgiving. However, I found myself wishing
for more company on the road to spice things up.
Players trek through the game's 40 expansive environments, across the hills,
over the river and, at times, through the woods. You will slide over snow and
ice, plow through sand, wade through waist-high streams and negotiate slippery
mud patches. The different terrain will affect your driving ability and require
you to stay on your toes. As a nice touch, the terrain will also come home with
you as it cakes up and adheres to your bike and clothing.
But that is the extent of the game's graphical wonder. It doesn't look bad, but it could look a lot better. Textures are flat, there is not much detail on the ATVs in-game, and the water effects don't impress at all.
The game desperately tries to make up for its marginal looks with lots to
do. Other game modes include Single Race, Practice, Freeride, Freestyle (bust
your best tricks here) and a decent Waypoint Editor. Freestyle and Freeride
are great for unlimited offroad romping. Plus, in Freestyle you can pop off
tricks for more points. But keep your style fresh - you will score lower points
for repeated stunts. Both modes are interesting for a while, yet not very captivating.
lieu of a map editor or creator, ATV Offroad Fury 2 offers a Waypoint
editor. Each of the game's wide open Enduro environments has waypoints that
can be rearranged to create new routes through existing areas. This ups the
replay value a bit and is pretty simple to use. You even have the option to
do a test run, and then bounce right back into edit mode if you encounter a
ATV Offroad Furry 2 also features four mini-games. There's Tag, where
a ball is attached to your ATV, which impairs your speed and makes you an easy
target for other riders who will attempt to ram you for the ball. The longer
you hold it, the more points you will earn. You can also play Hockey, King of
the Hills and Treasure Hunt. The mini-games aren't bad and breathe new life
into the otherwise bland exercise of rounding tracks lap after lap.
The game is even online enabled for up to 5 players. Providing you have the
Online Adapter, it's definitely something to check out. Live competition always
provides the most thrilling and unpredictable challenges, although the game
types are pretty standard.
And the easy, intuitive control will make victory more certain. When analog
steering works, it's a dream, and it works very well in ATV Offroad Fury
2. Since tricks play a pivotal role in your progression, you're given several
different camera options to better view yourself busting skills. Tricks come
off smoothly as well - just hold Triangle or Circle and press one or a more
directional buttons. But make sure you hit those jumps clean and have your ATV
angled appropriately. Smooth landings pile on tons of speed that can decide
...which brings me to the game's impressive physics system. Shocks absorb...er, uh...shock and impact very well and you bounce accordingly. It's cool to watch the rider bend his knees and elbows in response to jumps and landings and sway back and forth on turns.
When it all gets moving, ATV Offroad Fury 2 works very well. It never
really crosses the threshold to thrilling gameplay and an absent replay doesn't
help, but it does kick up a lot of dirt and will leave racing fans satisfied.