MX vs. ATV Alive Review
One of the main selling points of this title is that it’s only $40, and not long ago new games were at least $50. You are probably thinking it’s too good to be true, that it must be crazy to offer a full game at such a low price. Well, you are right and so are the developers. This game is not a full game and as such it is not worth $60. You get what you pay for.
If you have no idea what this game is about, it’s the never-ending struggle of dirt bikes against all-terrain vehicles, a world of dirt, mud, roaring engines, and loud rock music that might have you reaching for the mute button. Chances are you have played an arcade, dirt bike game, or maybe an off-road racing game, but maybe not for a decade or so. With this genre of racing being well off the mainstream of gaming, you may think a game that offers mostly realistic ATV and dirt bike racing with great graphics and tons of rigs and outfits would have high potential to be a big hit. Out of the box, that is all the game offers, and only on a handful of tracks too. Want to just jump in the career mode and see what it's like to be a part of the world of dirt bikes and ATVs? Sorry, no career mode here.
You just race or do the trick courses to earn XP to level up and earn unlockables and features. That’s the game, just do your own thing of your own accord and at some point you are rewarded with stuff. The crazy part is that features in the game such as customizable options unlock as you level as well. And no, the leveling is not a small bump in the road, it takes quite a bit of work, leaving you with a gradually improving game over a long period of time that requires you to take the initiative to work for - that is if you last long enough to unlock it all.
The racing is fine as I can tell. With my only comparable sample being the over-the-top ATV racer called Pure, I may have been expecting a bit too much out of this one. It’s not that the racing here seems slow, it just looks a little awkward to me - could be that the drivers aren't fluid enough, but then again I haven't seen any of this racing in real life maybe they are supposed to appear still and unresponsive. A lot of times I would be going along and would inexplicably flip my front wheels up and politely fall to my doom; usually after a jump, but a lot of times just starting from a stop - twice I saw bots crash from the starting gate! There is the nice ability to shift around your weight in response to the track which helps immensely, but with that, the clutch, the brake, the course itself, and the other riders, there is a lot to keep in mind all the while trying to win. The freestyle courses were equally as awkward as racing. I never really understood how to do a mid-air trick as the game and the booklet didn't explain it as I could tell, though I did almost do something by squeezing the R1 button. It takes a lot of practice and mastery to get good at either racing or freestyle, neither one being much fun until then, that is unless you like watching yourself awkwardly crash - a lot.
I will not go into detail, but former entries in this series had many more modes. With this game boiling it down to either racing or stunting, you as the buyer must ask if that is all you are looking for in a potential purchase. More tracks and features unlock, but you will have to spend a lot of time earning XP. This is the price you pay for paying a lesser price, which is time. Casual gamers will pick up an alternative sport game like this, test drive all the features, customize a player, and then go as far as the fun of a career will take them. What everyone who plays this game will have to do is adopt the mindset of a massively multiplayer online gamer, which is to grind away for a long time to attain small rewards. The developers of this game are trying a new business model of having an initial price to buy the game, have virtual transactions online, and hope that the time you must invest in the game will keep you hooked; all they are missing is a monthly subscription fee.
It would be hard to look at elements of this game and call them bad. This is a "realistic" off-road game after all. For just $40 and time spent playing the game you will have a pretty complete gaming experience once you've unlocked a fair share of content. But the reality is that nothing in this game will blow you away; there is no reason to rush out to buy this game. This is not a must-have title, and by its own design it may only be loved by people who are fans of the genre already; those who would pay $60 for this game as-is. Everyone else will need to wonder if other games offer more out of the box.
What if this game did throw in a standard, nondescript career mode? Would it be worth the price then? What if everything was unlocked to start and it was the same low price? What if it had the career mode, all the unlockables, all the stuff you could get online, all the features ready to go, and even more game modes, all for the same low price? Well then we may be talking about a game that you would be crazy to pass up. Unfortunately that's not the game we have here.
Final Rating: 75%.