Review: MX vs ATV: Untamed for Xbox 360

I was hoping to get this review up before CES, but things got a little crazy and I’ve been gone all month so here’s my review of MX vs ATV: Untamed. Stop watching the trailer. I know they’re scantily clad and they’re getting wet, but let’s get this out of the way and then you can go back to it. Seriously, pay attention.

When it comes to off-road racing titles you’d be hard pressed to find a studio that does it any better than Rainbow. The mix of simulation and arcade controls sort of makes the game fairly easy to play whether you’re into racing games of this nature. The extent of my non-traditional racing games experience has been around the Moto GP series where you switch between arcade or simulation controls. With Untamed you get the best of both worlds. Each vehicle handles differently as well. So you endure a small challenge when switching from MX bike, ATV, monster truck, golf kart, etc.

There’s a reason why I don’t play these off-road games, too. It’s basically the same thing over and over again. You can only go around a track and hit bump after bump so much before you get bored. Like most racing games there is a career mode where you can load up on loot and upgrade your rigs, but it’s pretty easy to do so and looses its fun factor rather quickly. You’re also not doing a whole of ‘under the hood’ work, either. Way back when, I’d make fun of the ricers and their Honda Civics plastered with stickers and point out that the bigger they are the more HP you get. Does anyone really care about modifying the color or making cosmetic changes to the body of their vehicles? I didn’t think so. I’d rather add performance parts. All show and no go is basically what you get here.

Online play was pretty fun even though I typically suck at online game play. Snake is pretty entertaining and is a lot like Tron. The trail you leave behind is 3D so your opponents can go above or below it. It’s actually what I’m playing right now as I try and write up this review. It’s way more challenging and I like talking trash to 12-year-olds.

The Endurocross event was pretty fun to play, but it, too, gets old super fast. You’re pretty much cruising a Supercross course with tons of obnoxiously placed obstacles, like tires, rocks and ponds. Of course, the hardcore racer will find the fastest line and find it fun, but hardcore racer, I am not. The X-Cross Tournament is also a new feature for this title and it’s pretty challenging, to say the least. But going around in circles and hitting jump after jump gets old here, too. The only way to unlock extra tracks is to compete in each race so you better be prepared for the long haul if you’re the type of gamer who just has to unlock everything.

In a nutshell, I liked playing Untamed. It’s out of my normal wheelhouse so I got a kick out of it. However, it can get a little monotonous and I don’t like that about video games. It doesn’t keep me entertained that long, but maybe it’s because I don’t like these sorts of games. I know there are many of you out there who are into Moto-X and all that so this game is definitely geared towards the fanboys. When I first fired up the game and played I was on a pocket bike and it reminded me of the Burger King game. It was funny, at first. Then I just got annoyed that I couldn’t pull a back flip or go over 40MPH. The soundtrack is pretty dope. It’s helping me crank out this review.

For the casual gamer this is going to be fun for a bit, but you may get bored with it. The hardcore racers will, however, feel much differently about the game. I asked a buddy who rides ATVs and dirt bikes and he enjoyed playing the game. If anything, you should give it a whirl if you have a Gamefly subscription or something comparable. Be sure to play Snake. It’s tons of fun.