Mototrax doesn't break boundaries, but it sure offers a good ride.
MTX Mototrax had a somewhat muted arrival on consoles last year, in the thick of THQ's dominating MX Vs. ATV series. I say muted because, while there really wasn't anything wrong with the game, it just didn't have anything that screamed "stand-out" in an era where racing games seem to be a dime a dozen unless they offer the much-needed twist on things. The PSP edition of that game has finally arrived this week, and while it lacks the oomph to really push itself ahead as a must-have portable racing game, it's still very serviceable, especially if you're a fan of motocross racing.
The first thing you'll notice about the presentation is that it seems to be a little bit off from the console version. Some of the textures are a little bit fuzzy, and the riders kind of look like they just applied Preparation H to their joints. However, the game still maintains a very solid frame rate and some nice details, and the track design is very true to the nature of the sport. The music, while nothing amazing in terms of tune selection, is still pretty good and worth a listen to with the Sony headphones.
Then comes the control. The game controls just like any given motocross game would, complete with jumps, tricks, and the feeling that you're actually handling a bike and not, say, a doghouse with wheels. This is where Activision and Left Field Productions could've easily failed, but thankfully, they didn't. Granted, there's nothing twisted in the gameplay to make it anything memorable to those that aren't hardcore racing fans (not even the trick system, which is pretty good), but it's also not broken, so those looking for something reasonable with their games will find it here.
Where MTX Mototrax manages to really target its course is with its extras. There's a wonderful Career Mode here where you can help obtain your legacy as a solid motocross racer, complete with sponsorship and customization of your rider. There's also various modes to play around with, including Freestyle, the trick mode, Free Rider, and Ghost Mode, where you can challenge your previous record times and even a few others as you maintain your motorcross prowess.
Perhaps the best of these new features are the multiplayer and track builder modes. With multiplayer, you can hook up with up to four friends who have a copy of the game and have some great races as a result. You can also upload custom tracks that you build with the track builder mode, which is very detailed and allows you to create your muddy field of dreams with a number of tools at hand. It's called Dirt Wurx USA (interesting spelling), and it does literally have the works. I wish the game had some kind of infrastructure mode, but them's the breaks sometimes.
MTX Mototrax deserves a bit of redemption. Sure, it's not the hottest-looking racing game out there, and it's got gameplay that has been done before in other games, but it has a bevy of bonuses to uncover, and very suitable options that would be perfect for you, especially if you were born to kick up mud with tires onto your sponsored jeans. Give it a spin and see if the game does the Wurx for you.
What's Hot: Multiplayer mode is loads of fun; custom track builder is sweet.
What's Not: Lacks a bit in originality; some parts of the presentation are unpolished.