Motocross racing gets physical in MX vs. ATV Alive; colliding with opponents is now a legitimate tactic rather than a cause of frustration and the action is significantly more exciting as a result. It's not all good news in this scant sequel to MX vs. ATV Reflex, though; there's no structured career mode, there are no vehicle types beyond those mentioned in the title, and there are only two event types: Race and Free Ride. Additional features are promised in the form of downloadable content, but right now, this off-road offering barely does enough to justify even its seemingly attractive $40 price tag.
6313683NoneAre four wheels better than two? You decide.
Climbing onto either a 125cc motocross bike or a 250cc quad in MX vs. ATV Alive as a level 1 rider can be daunting, particularly if you never played Reflex. Not only do you have to use both analog sticks to control your vehicle and rider independently of each other, but the game also makes no attempt to explain more advanced techniques: using the clutch to get off the start line quickly or to maintain speed through corners, or locking your seat bounce to preload for a jump, for example. Regardless, it shouldn't take you long to get a handle on the basics and start winning races.
There are four different difficulty settings to choose from, so you should have no problem finding appropriately challenging AI opposition. As you recklessly throw yourself into corners launch off of huge mounds of dirt, you have to contend with opponents who, while capable of making mistakes, are always fiercely competitive. Collisions are commonplace, but where in previous games these would often end badly, here they can work to your advantage because it's not uncommon to send an opponent to the dirt without taking a tumble yourself. Major mishaps aside, anytime you're in danger of falling off your ride, you're afforded an opportunity to recover by quickly flicking the right analog stick in the direction indicated onscreen to maintain your balance. It's the same system that was used in Reflex, and it works well; races are far less frustrating when you're not falling off after every mistake and you're not punished for riding aggressively.
At the end of every race, both you and your currently selected vehicle earn experience points and levels. Leveling up unlocks all manner of extra customization options. These include new paint jobs, performance-improving parts for your vehicles, and licensed rider gear. There are also rider abilities that, once equipped in the two available slots, can make it easier to prevent spills, knock opponents out of the way, or recover from falls, for example. There's even an ability that increases the number of experience points you receive after every race as well, which is very useful when you're eager to unlock the tracks that don't become available until you reach levels 10 and 25. (Alternatively, you can spend around $6 to unlock everything instantly.)
Using the right analog stick to control your body is important anytime you hit a jump.