MX Vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge
This game's on the edge of being a success.
THQ has surprisingly been able to stretch out the MX Rider series to capable length. What started as just another "me too" racing themed series has slowly evolved into something that involves some killer physics and some whacked-out races that could actually have you pair up a plane against a monster truck. Credit must be given to Rainbow Studios, the folks who handled such other efforts as Splashdown and ATV Offroad Fury 1/2. They really know their stuff when it comes to vehicular madness.
Yet even their prowess of vehicular handling and exciting races can't overcome one cumbersome detail that leaves MX Vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge a bit stalled at the gate. The game still packs the same kind of excitement that the console versions possessed, including the wide range of events to complete and the ability to hook up against other players, but, I tell you, loading time has a way of killing momentum just like Anna Nicole Smith has a way of killing long-term relationships. Zing!
The game takes a massive amount of time loading up between some events. For instance, you're waiting like a minute to a minute-and-a-half just in loading time. I haven't seen it get that bad since the old WWE Smackdown Vs. Raw match-ups here in the office. (I say old because, well, we need more time with our gaming.) Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition also found itself guilty to this fault. I think it could've been fixed with development- the PSP is a machine that can handle fast processing, in the hands of the right team.
The game also runs into a critical flaw with its lack of an autosave feature. I say this because you might fight yourself forgetting to save in a particular spot in your career, turn off your PSP, go away for a bit, come back, turn on the system, and find yourself cursing at the fact you have to go through certain events all over again. It would've been nice for Rainbow to give this a thought instead of making us take the manual route.
But other than that, the game is just fine. The indoor/outdoor environments are still a gas to race around, giving you lots of opportunity to go airborne with your vehicles of choice and pull off a myriad of stunts, all of which come off rather easily with the PSP control scheme. There is some muddiness to the affair, and the music is a bit bland in terms of being rock tunes all over the place, but it all fits in with the tone of the game perfectly.
And there's lots to do. With a number of circuit races to engage in and some wild AI to battle against, the game seldom gets boring...once it's gotten to. Furthermore, players can match up over AdHoc and take each other on as nature intended, with the MX Vs. ATV element purely measured. What vehicle is better, really? Only you and some nimble racing skills can really decide that.
I wish MX Vs. ATV Unleashed: On the Edge wasn't such a punishment in terms of its loading time and its lapse in autosaving. Otherwise, what we'd have here is racing gold struck yet again for the PSP, with its manic style and its tight controls wrapped around a decent (in the "we've seen it before" sense) presentation. It's definitely worth a rental and, if you've got the patience to muster the preparation of each track, maybe even a purchase. Maybe it was called On the Edge for a reason?
What's Hot: Multiplayer goodness; great controls; decent presentation.
What's Not: Loading time kills momentum; no autosave feature.