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Mx Vs ATV Alive
on 27 June 2011
MX Vs ATV is a well established motocross series. Alive is the new instalment to the series following Reflex, does it offer anything new or is it a dead weight to the series?
Reflex, the previous instalment brought many new ideas to the series so Alive has a lot to live up to. Before even playing the game the one thing you will notice is the price of the game, the RRP of the game is far lower than the usual £40, this allows you to pick up the game brand new for a very low price. However, do not be mislead by the price, Alive severely lacks in game content.
The game only contains 3 modes, these being National events, Short track events and free ride areas. Many modes are missing such as Freestyle and Supercross events, this is very worrying. Also you will find large vehicles are missing too, such as the sports buggy and UTV, this means Omnicross events and Champion Sport events are missing from the game too. So already nearly half of the content available in Reflex has not been continued to Alive, this is very frustrating. What you are left with is 18 tracks, 12 are National tracks, 4 short tracks and 2 free ride areas. This is far less than what was present in Reflex.
Progression through Alive is based on rider XP, you gain XP from completing races and competing race challenges. There are 50 levels to progress through. However, the few tracks available on the game are unlocked at different levels, so at the start you are only allowed to play 3 different tracks until level 10 where you unlock the next group of tracks. This means you have to complete the same races over and over again in order to reach level 10, this can be very boring and frustrating, but it allows you to know the tracks very well such as the best race lines. By level 25 all the tracks in the game have been unlocked which doesn't require a lot of play time. The single player content is very disappointing. DLC for the game will be provided though.
The presentation of the game is not the best. The tracks have been presented very well. The mud flicks up behind the wheels, the transition between grass and mud or snow and mud is also visually great. The environments also look very good, such as palm trees, tropical plants and rocks, the textures look very life like. Also the rider's gear rustles in the wind becomes muddier as the race progresses. However, the faces of the riders look bland with nearly everybody looking the same and many being very blurry. Objects in the distance also look empty and there is a lack of detail off the track. Overall though it does look great but noting will leave you starring at the environments such as in Motorstorm.
The most important part of the game is how it plays, and this is where Alive shows its potential. The racing is very enjoyable and has improved since Reflex. The dual controls feel more responsive and easier to use, which allow you to shift your rider's weight and control the bike or quad at the same time, this makes turning corners more precise and jumping over ramps more tactical. When approaching jumps you will have to shift your rider's weight downwards to help you achieve a higher and longer jump, or shift both your rider and the bike to help turn sharp corners more easily. Bar banging is also a new feature in the game, you can wrestle with race opponents and knock them out of the way or even off their bike, the contact is very realistic and the reaction to each hit or collision is very accurate. After each lap the tracks gradually become worn away in places where most bikes have cut up the ground, this is very realistic and can cause you to lose control of the bike in places due to ditches created in the ground or it can allow you to find a race path. Overall the gameplay of Alive is great and many of the flaws in Reflex have been improved, new features such as bar banging have made the experience even more enjoyable.
The game also features online racing of up to 12 players. Online playlists are split into groups of different rider XP levels so you will be only racing people with similar skill levels. The online can be considered an enjoyable experience but it does contain many flaws. After joining a lobby it often takes many minutes before the race actually starts and with no option to quit sometimes you will have to turn the game off and start it again and look for another lobby. Also when racing many players will disappear and appear and look very jumpy often placing them in positions far ahead of you when you have overtaken them. It also struggles to tell you your race position, a player may overtake you and it will take a good 10 or more seconds to change your race position so it may leave you quite confused. However, it plays the same to the single player and you can overlook these flaws and connection issues and spend a lot of time racing online. Also there is offline split screen multi-player.
There is a lot of customisation in Alive. You can customise your riders gear from their helmet to boots and even goggles. New equipment is unlocked as your progress through rider levels. You can also customise your vehicle, you can choose between different vinyl, wheels, suspension sets and even number plates. Again new equipment is unlocked as your progress though different rider levels. Also as you use a certain vehicle more and more you will progress though a vehicle level based on 3 stars, as your achieve a new star the performance of the vehicle is improved such as top speed, acceleration and suspension. This offers an incentive to use a vehicle for a long period of time or progress though as many levels as possible to customise your rider and vehicle.
Overall MX Vs ATV: Alive is a game of mixed opinions, there is a serious lack of content (more will become available as DLC though), the presentation is overall great in parts, the main gameplay is fantastic and the online racing could be greatly improved. For any fan of the series it is must buy but for anyone new to motocross games it would be best to buy the previous instalment MX Vs ATV: Reflex which contains more content and has very similar gameplay.