First things first: this was really my first in-depth experience with a motocross or ATV game of any sort. Being that this edition, Alive, is the fifth in an improving and growing MX vs. ATV series, I was really excited to give this game a try. The first thing that really stood out to me was the incredible realism that this game brought to the table. It really gives you a feel for the high-speed, mud-flying action and intensity that is the part of every race. The graphics are second to none. I know that we are spoiled with pristine graphics in literally every game now, but these ones really stood out to me.
As we all know, presentation is not everything anymore. Great presentation needs to be coupled with great gameplay, and that is most certainly the case with Alive. The game utilizes dual-joystick control, with one stick controlling your vehicle, and the other stick controlling the lean of the rider. It takes some getting used to at first, but after a few races it just becomes second nature. This allows you to have total control of your rider and your vehicle, which is really cool when you are battling other riders for position. Make sure to be strong with your leaning because if you aren’t, expect for your opponents to knock you right off your vehicle.
Another really cool feature about the game is the fact that everything about your vehicle and your rider is customizable. From your brakes to your suspension to your handlebars, your bike or ATV is your personal canvas. You can choose countless styles and colors to make your vehicle your own. The same thing goes for your rider. You can equip him/her with a jersey with your name and number and choose from an insane amount of styles and brands to wear. You can customize your boots, helmet, goggles and more. It is really cool to be able to make everything so personalized. Not many games get as detailed as Alive gets with customization.
The only real complaint I have is that the game lacks a true career mode. I am a sucker for career modes in any game I play and this game does not have one. It does allow you to build your racer from level one and improve to earn accomplishments, new skill levels and gear, but it just doesn’t have the same feel as a career mode. It is similar and I am probably just nitpicking, but a career mode would have been nice to have.
All in all, MX vs. ATV Alive is a really fun game. The lack of a career mode is made up for by the incredibly smooth and realistic game play and the customization available for the vehicles and riders. On top of that, there is a loyal and competitive community of Alive gamers online, which is an added bonus. Whether you are a fan of motocross or not, you should give this game a try!