MX vs. ATV Untamed Review
MX vs. ATV Untamed has been released on a number of different systems this year. If you played one console version of the game then you've pretty much played them all. That's not the case with the PSP version of the game, which features a unique main mode of play.
The thing that sets the PSP version apart from those on other systems is its open world levels. Each level features a pretty large open area for you to explore and try to locate secret jumps that are part of the level's environment. Also spread across the levels are special event markers that can be used to launch races, competitions, and challenges. If you're just interested in the competitions and challenges, you can bring up a menu that will let you directly jump into any of the level's available competitions. It's a good thing that the game includes this menu, because without it finding events is a chore. They're spread out across the levels with no rhyme or reason and it can be a real pain trying to track down a particular event, especially sine the only way to see which event is tied to a marker is to drive up to it.
The events include races around closed circuit tracks, stunt competitions, and challenges such as trying to capture all of the flags placed in a level within a set time limit. Each has its own set of issues that keep any of them from being all that much fun. The best of the lot are probably the races. The game features arcade-style racing so you'll be able to keep yourself on the track without too much trouble while making tight turns at full speed. The biggest problem with the races is that they can be difficult to win. The game will cheat to keep your competitors close, so it's possible to be leading for most of the race, miss a landing, and then find yourself behind with no chance of catching up. And missed landings are a far too common occurrence in this game. There's just no way to tell if you will land safely after a jump or go tumbling across the dirt. This of course makes the stunt competitions pretty random affairs, with it basically being a crapshoot as to whether or not you'll land properly and collect you points for the stunts you did while airborne. Even if you land the jump you may not get all of the points that you earned because the game rates your landings and will only give you all of your points for "perfect" landings. And then there's the event that has you jumping through a series of hoops. To clear each hoop you must perform a stunt while jumping through it, but there are times when you'll nail a couple of stunts through a hoop and not receive credit for clearing it. Even when you do clear it, the game makes you wait a few seconds before it confirms that the hoop is cleared which forces you to lose precious seconds while waiting to see if you need to turn around and do it again or move on to the next hoop. It's all so random and there's no feedback as to why you failed, which makes this event simply frustrating and entirely devoid of fun.
The open environments events that have you doing things such as trying to collect a certain number of flags before the timer expires or racing another rider to be the first to pass through all of the gates scattered around the level can be frustrating because of the level design. You'll encounter things like long fence lines with only one small gap so the shortest distance between two points is not always a straight line. Unless you know the maps very well, one wrong turn can basically make it impossible for you to win or complete the event.
While playing Untamed I found myself being frustrated at least as often if not more so than I found myself having fun. If it weren't for the fact that I had to keep playing to review the game, I probably would have given up on it a lot sooner. The game gives you a lot of goals to shoot for over the course of play, but when the game itself is not that exciting or compelling it's hard to stay motivated to play the game long enough to collect these rewards.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 58%. For an "untamed" game, MX vs. ATV Untamed just isn't all that interesting or fun to play.