STAFF REVIEW of MX vs. ATV Alive (Xbox 360)

Monday, May 23, 2011.
by Stephen Cameron

MX vs. ATV Alive Box art Behold, a new era in gaming history! MX vs. ATV Alive is out and intends to sell itself at a lower price point in order to bank on upcoming DLC in the near future. Be as it may, this is an extremely 'ballsy' strategy from THQ. Coming in at mere forty dollars ($40), what else could an avid motocross gamer want? Hey, wait a minute I?m an avid MX gamer!

Right off the bat, my hat goes off to them for nailing the bike sounds! In the past title (MX vs. ATV: Reflex) the bike engine sounds were left to be desired, terrible in fact. You?d come blasting out of a corner and ten feet out of the corner the engine RPM sounds were through the roof! Not cool. But, now they sound like they should, not perfect, but a lot better! The graphics are beautiful! Reflex had some strange, lines and artifacts. They?re gone now! Anyways, you?re probably saying, ?This guy loves all this stuff, is there anything wrong with the game??

Yes and no.

Let?s start with what they?ve done right. All the bike related attributes are nearly spot on. The track designs stay true to the awesome craftsmanship of THQ Phoenix (Rainbow Studios), they are technical, and they look awesome! Thank you for adding weather effects, too. All you need now is the mud in goggles effect. Let's not forget the bikes themselves are modeled with incredible accuracy.

Ingame the physics are superb! However, there?s only one tiny glitch, call it whatever you want, that's been with the series since the very beginning. Let me attempt to describe it... When you come down off a jump or small whoop and then land on your front wheel? If you decide to turn (left or right) before the back wheel hits the ground, you SHOULD wreck right? (At least in real life you do). In MVA, you?ll sometimes do a complete 180 degree turn, totally facing the opposite direction. Kind of like a toy top! Then you have to turn back around to get back in the race. It sucks when it happens, and you sometimes throw the race.

Despite this one little bug detailed above, MVA delivers an awesome motocross experience, it feels right otherwise!
The music is of the same loyal flavor as we?d expect: Rockin?! It gets you in the mood every time.

Now, let?s look at the bad.

Where are the Supercross tracks? I mean really. Sure you?re going to say, ?They are coming!? Again, I don?t want to review this game based on, ?They are coming!?. The fact is they are not there now. I also understand that THQ probably want to release those types of tracks closer to the upcoming Supercross season coming this January but that?s six months away.

The other thing that?s really scary is that THQ is being awfully tight lipped about the details on DLC. Especially, on a game that relies on it so heavily. Guys, give people a real look on what they should expect! At the time of this review, you can download the KTM and Suzuki factory bikes and the Jimmy Steward compound (if you pre-ordered the game). So, I?m only counting two pieces of DLC so far. That?s great, but they haven?t told us anything else! We need a real commitment here.

The game more or less feels like a tech demo to me, there really wasn?t anything to keep me moving forward for very long. Sure, I was leveling a bike AND a rider, but the unlockables weren?t really spread out too evenly. I?d level up a couple of levels, and I only had goggles to show for it.

A little tip for you gamers out there, from level one to level ten, put the AI to easiest and set the fewest laps. Otherwise you?re only racing on two national tracks, two free rides, and two short tracks for a few hours. Ok, maybe my skills aren?t all that and a bag of chips but the choices are limited until then. Unless you are willing to pay, you heard me right, pay?480 Microsoft Points (About five dollars) to unlock everything, you?re left grinding away. In this review I took the cheap guy?s approach.
Another annoyance was the rider?s auto taunt to say the least, very distracting.

The game is just missing something, even at forty dollars. I'm not sure what it is yet but after only four hours of game play, even online, I was bored. This is a first for me, and I didn?t really know how to put it into words honestly. Maybe, it needs a driving mechanism or something to push or motivate the player forward.

I?ve been following this game since it?s been announced, and you guys all know me as a hard core MX gamer. The problem is there are too many unanswered questions on the DLC, why?

Allow me to use a metaphor, it?s like if you were going to buy a car at a really cheap price and the dealer told you ?It?s not a great car now, but in a few months the company will sell you parts for it to make it awesome?. Would you buy that car? I personally wouldn?t. Not sure if my example is working for you guys, but I think it explains how I feel.

To simply put it. You pop the game in, you play either online or off. Then you'll race over and over until your eyes pop out of your head, while leveling up your rider and bike, stop in at the store every once and a while.; rinse and repeat. That's it.

In conclusion, this game is a double edge sword. If you are buying MVA at forty dollars and not really expecting much out of it, then fine. I?ve so far gotten myself to level 17 and I need to get to level 25 to unlock everything. Do I have a desire to keep going? Sadly, no.

The only thing I can leave you guys with, keep those fingers crossed on good DLC at a good price and that we don?t end up paying $80 for something we got for $60 two years ago.

THQ Phoenix?you guys know I love ya. It?s a good attempt, but if you are going to stick with this formula, it needs a bit more tweaking. Peace.

And now for my bright idea?let the community create the content! Release an editor that will let the track creators from the PC series and maybe even let them sell them and take a cut! The whole thing could be done on a PC, uploaded to the THQ site, checked for viruses, then released to the public. Thus, the game stays popular for another two years! Then the tracks/content could even be backwards compatible! Like an app store of tracks! It?s just a crazy idea.

Overall: 7.6 / 10
Gameplay: 7.6 / 10
Visuals: 9.1 / 10
Sound: 9.1 / 10


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