Over the past year and a half the PSP has been host to quite a lot of portable racing games. Between Burnout, WipEout, Ridge Racer and Moto GP, Sony's PlayStation Portable is the system to own if you're a fan of high speed racers. But Sony isn't worried about the stiff competition, as you read this they are busy finishing up their most ambitious racer yet, ATV Offroad Fury Pro. I was able to take the early build of the game for a test drive, and from what I can tell, this game is going to give all those other games a run for their money.
ATV Offroad Fury Pro is the follow up to last year's ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails. Pro doesn't reinvent the wheel; instead it adds a ton of new content, mini-games, multiplayer modes and more. The people at Climax (the same company responsible for the first PSP game as well as the upcoming ATV Offroad Fury 4 for the PS2) have listened to a lot of the criticism and spent the last year retooling this game in almost every way. Some of the improvements are right out front, but there are just as many additions that are subtle enough to where you'll probably never notice them. All of this leads to what should be a much better game that offers racing fans hours of diverse game play.
The preview version of ATV Offroad Fury Pro I played offered four single-player levels and a number of different types of vehicles. Each level found in this demo represents a different type of race, from your regular Supercross, a National race, the Rally race and an Endurocross race. Each of these modes plays a little different than the last and offer courses with a lot twists, turns and jumps. Although this is merely a taste of what's to come, it seems pretty clear that racing fans who don't mind getting their vehicles a little dirty are going to find something to love in ATV Offroad Fury.
The four levels are just as diverse as the four different modes. While you're always on a slippery surface, the game does manage to keep you interested with some unique locales. The Junkyard is an outdoor course in what looks like the middle of a construction site; it's full of big and small jumps. Eco Dome Arena, on the other hand, is an indoor stadium with large trees and the occasional water to race through. Viaduct Motor Park is a foggy mountain course; full of bridges and large cliffs you can fall off of. Finally there's Bighorn Trail, the lone course that does not loop around on itself, it offers a scenic drive through a colorful forest. With its lack of big jumps, Bighorn Trail ends up being the easiest of all of the courses in this demo.
These four levels are just a taste of what ATV has in store for you. Sony is saying that the finished game will feature some 64 all-new tracks, offering dozens of different obstacles and terrains. Expect to race through snow, dirt, mud, ice, water and grass. From the sounds of it Climax has been busy adding as much content to this UMD as they possibly can, and I have a hunch that gear heads are going to eat it up.
The races are limited to four vehicles, so don't expect to fight through a lot of traffic on your way to the goal. Your three other competitors will make it difficult for you to finish in first; I found that in every race I played the computer-controlled racers were always right on my tail. The nice thing is that you can choose from a variety of different vehicles, so it's not just you going up against different colored ATVs. Besides the ATV, you can jump in the driver's seat of a buggy, truck, skidoos and MX bikes. Sony promises that the finished version will feature more than 30 vehicles to choose from.
ATV Offroad Fury Pro isn't just content to be an exciting portable game; it also gives you a chance to hook your PSP game to ATV Offroad Fury 4 for the PlayStation 2. Hooking the two systems together will offer you the chance to share customized circuits, exchange and upgrade vehicles, shard trading cards and access chat rooms and newsgroups. Unfortunately this demo didn't allow me to see any of this first hand, but the idea of sharing customized levels certainly sounds like the kind of idea that will keep the game fresh for months to come.
Along with 64 environments and solid racing action, ATV Offroad Fury Pro will offer a variety of new mini-games for you to take wherever you go. Some of these mini-games have you racing through rings of fire, battling it out in a card battle, and even play a strange racing-inspired pool game. Not only can you play these mini-games with a friend via the Ad Hoc mode, but you will now be able to take your game online and challenge the world. Nearly every aspect of ATV Offroad Fury Pro will be playable online, which should keep the competition fresh long after you've mastered the five dozen courses.
ATV Offroad Fury Pro is filled to the brim with everything you could possibly want from a racing game … and maybe a few things you never knew you wanted. Expect a full review soon that looks at all of the tracks, all of the different modes and all of the crazy racing action that is sure to fill this UMD. This demo only left me wanting more, which is definitely a good sign for the game. Hopefully Sony can bring all of these parts together to create one amazing off road experience. It's about time the PSP has a high quality ATV game to its credit, hopefully ATV Offroad Fury Pro will fit the bill.