Last year we were treated with one of the best motocross games to come along since Excitebike for the NES. Now after a short absence and a few new tweaks THQ is back with another incarnation of it’s famed MX series. Does it deliver the same thrill as last year’s? Does it ante up the pot making it the must own MX game of the year? Only time will tell, well actually only this review will tell so read on my fellow gamers and prepare to be wowed.
I was a huge fan of the first two Ricky Carmichael games, they delivered a sense of realism while at the same time remaining fun and entertaining. When I heard that THQ had decided to change the game style this year to compete with the likes of other titles such as Freekstyle I had my doubts. Could a game that relied so heavily on realism and play mechaninc pull off a solid arcade style mode and better yet be competition for the kings at EA Sports Big? The answer is a resounding yes, Pacific Power and Light has managed to take a game that was already a blast to play and make it even better than before.
The first notable addition is the track editor, this allows you to make your own custom stunt tracks. You can make impossible jumps for your friends to attempt as well as mindless carnage to create. The editor is limited to the PS2’s virtual memory so eventually it will run out, but trust me there is enough to make some awesome tracks! The next addition is the selection of mini games that have been added. There are such events as bus jumping, height challenges, even getting gas to your stranded friends. These sound useless and stupid but in fact are almost as much fun as the game itself.
The next part I wanna touch base on is the newly enhanced career mode, last year you were given a rider and a set of goals and off you went. This year they have went the extra mile and added a better career mode. You pick your character, male or female and their look and riding suits as well as helmets and bikes, then you are set off on your own to earn money to compete in different tournaments. You can choose to be a freestlye rider or a moto rider which is like two entirely different ways to get through the game. Definitely the best career mode of any extreme sports title yet.
Visually the game is impressive, it uses basically the same engine as last year’s game and takes it up a notch or two adding such visual effects as collecting dirt on your suit to great particle and lighting effects that give the game that much needed cleaner look. The best part is the game runs at a smooth frame rate and never misses a beat even when the screen is full of riders performing tricks and clogging up the system memory, just awesome.
The music can be ignored or loved depending on how much you like the chosen bands for the soundtrack. The likes of Spineshank and Hoobastank fill the bill this time around, which to me is much MUCH better than hearing Click Click BOOM every other freaking song! If you do not enjoy the music or only like some of the bands you can choose which songs rotate and even on which mode they rotate on, very nice music option, now if only the PS2 had custom soundtracks.
In the end I highly recommend picking this title up if you are a moto fan or was a fan of the original games. This year’s definitely picks up where it needs to and adds just enough flavor to keep it fresh, here’s hoping that next year the game gets even better than before. This is ZT sayin’ kick up some dirt.