Motorcross (MX) seems to be a popular area to pitch a console game. We take a look at this offering from the makers of Motorcross Madness to see if they have finally cracked it. One of the first screens you see is a warning not to try this at home. Kind of strange considering you don't get that in SOCOM or Splinter Cell where you’ll be breaking and entering and blowing people away. Anyway, I digress, what is MX Unleashed really like?



I’m always concerned when words like 'unleashed' appear in the title. It instantly makes me think that (a) all the basic titles have been used, and (b) it was crap before. In the case of Motorcross Madness, it was ok, but the racing game is now a tried and tested formula, and not much changes here. You get the normal career modes and freestyle options, as well as multiplayer. If you like racing, then it’s passable, but racing round motorcross tracks is not so exciting - if you try and make it exciting, you’ll probably lose the lead and make no progress. Such seems to be the case in semi-serious racing games.

The freestyle options are more fun - you can do just about anything you want, as long as it involves speeding around cross-country. Once in the freestyle arena, you can play a number of mini-games against other riders. One of these lets you race other vehicles, with victory being the option to drive those you beat - I was matched against a monster truck - and lost. Still the potential is there and if you have the riding skills, you’ll soon be racing the helicopter…

Control of the bike is simple and smooth. You can produce a number of tricks off jumps so long as you have a good take-off and preload, and think about where to land it. Whilst this is fun, it wasn’t as fun as Downhill Domination. Ok, so in MX Unleashed you have an engine, it still seems a bit boring compared to the mountain biking action in DD. Graphically, it’s pleasing and the sound is pretty good too, with a range of fact-paced tunes to keep you racing.

Verdict

Overall it’s another motorbike game, and there are a few out there. Its better than MX Superfly, but I rate the pedal bike games as better. MX Unleashed is more of a sim, so don’t expect turbo or anything gamey like that, it’s just you and the bike. The bikes are all authentic to manufacturers, as is the other kit - probably one for bike geeks. If MX is your thing, you’re sure to like Unleashed, otherwise, you might be disappointed.