Another year and another saturation of the extreme sports market. Every year we see more and more of these off road games sneaking on to store shelves, motocross and ATV sports seem like all the rage these days so it goes without saying the Sony would continue to release their Offroad Fury line even without the help of developer Rainbow Studios. Sony’s new partner Climax has a good track record of racing games with Rally Fusion and the Moto GP series, and for the most part their skills carry over well in to the ATV racing genre. Despite a few technical issues they do manage to recreate the same game that Rainbow had previously released, I just wish there was more evolution to the title instead of retread.
All Terrain Vehicle racing is something I’ve always wanted to try but never really had the funds or training to do so. But thanks to modern day graphics and game play I’d like to think that for the most part these games convey the feeling of flying off a sand dune at forty five miles an hour. For the most part ATV Offroad Fury 3 and the previous games have done an excellent job in producing an effective sense of speed and control. Although the immersion factor presented in graphics could use a little tweaking this late in the game, it still looks like a very solid title. For those who don’t like to go it alone there is also online play included that is for the most part handled very well, I didn’t have any issues at all while playing this on my DSL connection. It’s just a little bare bones, and the inclusion of mini games didn’t really strike me as all that special.
After navigating your way through the main menus and creating your player profile for both online and offline play you’re ready to get up and go in to the meat and potatoes of the game. There are multiple modes of racing that you can partake in, but all in all it’s still at the very core, simple racing. If you’re up for a quick race you can just jump in to a single race, you’re not going to have a lot to play with though if this is your first time in the game. To start unlocking more tracks you need to go through Championship mode and complete a five race circuit in order to unlock more tracks that feature more twists, more turns, and most importantly, more air. Aside from straight up racing there is a stunt mode that contains a lot of the fetch quest type game play that is becoming prevalent in extreme sports games these days. Go collect markers that are spread through the map, complete a four trick stunt, reach a specified number of points. It’s all stuff that has been seen before and is par for the course.
If you’ve played the previous two installments of ATV Offroad Fury then you’ll feel right at home when you pop Fury 3 in to your PS2. Controls have retained the same layout as previous iterations, meaning at times the trick system can be a little clunky and unresponsive and preloading your ATV to fly high or low and fast off jumps is still a confusing affair. At the outset the handling of your ATV can be squirrelly but once you earn a few points from racing and pick up and upgraded ATV and slap some new tires on it you’ll be right as rain. The first ATV upgrade is cheap so go for that one as quickly as you possibly can.
Year after year this game manages to look better than the last, and 2005 holds to be no different for Fury. The graphics for the characters and ATVs look really good, and there is a lot of customization for your character and ATV in the form of new clothes and parts to the ATV. The same unfortunately cannot be said for the locales however for they are sadly quite boring and bland. Muddy ugly ground textures do nothing to help the terrain look any different from any other area you’ve previously visited. Buildings and other things are sprinkled throughout stages but really do not help this game in the looks department. If there is anything good to be said about the graphics it’s their ability to run smoothly, this is one of the best games I have seen in terms of frame rate in quite some time.
I’m always down for some racing provided the music is good. Fury has a very mixed bag of music, I found a lot of the music to be lacking, too twangy and too country for my tastes. But then every now and again I would hear a track that would fit the situation quite well. But those kinds of tracks are few and far between. Some of the musical highlights include Auf De Mer, Coheed & Cambria, Slipknot, and a lot of other stuff that we’ve heard before on the radio. Like I said before, those tracks are rare so you’ll be hearing a lot of stuff you’ll want to turn off before you get to racing. Thankfully Climax made it so you can turn off the tracks you don’t want to hear, and they are plentiful.
The new year is underway and there is already looking to be some stiff competition from THQ as they collaborate with Rainbow studios to bring out MX vs. ATV Unleashed. ATV Offroad Fury 3 will hold you over until that game hits store shelves. I’ve you’ve enjoyed the other titles in the Offroad Fury line then you’re not going to see anything revolutionary from Fury 3. It’s a good game but it doesn’t try to do anything to make the series better, everything is simply re-treading old ground. On the plus side this is a first party title so there is a bit of value if you’re on the fence about this title. If you haven’t tried any of the Fury games before then this a good place to get started but if not then go ahead and give it a rental, there are plenty of quality aspects of this title. But if you’re looking for something new and refreshing then look elsewhere.
A solid game with a lot of value that should hold gamers over until MX vs. ATV Unleashed is released.