Saturday, June 21, 2008

ATV Offroad Fury 4 (PS2)

While it’s the first new racing game I’ve played since Gran Turismo 4 came out two stone ages ago at times I felt like throwing my controller through my TV while playing ATV Offroad Fury 4 because of faults that really do not deserve to be in a PS2 game this late in its life.
The first is that since it’s an off roader game it’s a completely bloody different racer from old Granny Turismo and hence controlling the vehicles in the game (of which there are four: bike, buggy, big-mother-fucking-truck and of course ATV) can take some getting used to. For example, because you’re on such unstable terrain you have to take into account the sheer lack of grip derived from the power sliding and hopping around into your racing line, this can result in you going from power sliding perfectly around the turn in front of the pack to sinking down to the back while your rivals sneak past you as you careen into a wall. However this serves as a good honest learning curve that teaches you to not to bury your foot (or thumb) down on the accelerator too much but to ease on the gas first at about half to retain some pace as you streak around the turns.
My other bug with this game I discovered was its re-spotting system when you flip your vehicle or fly too far off track for too long. Numerous times I’ve accidently taken a shortcut through some badly timed power slides and after regaining control and losing numerous positions in getting back onto the track the countdown timer continues and sends me back to the beginning of the turn or straight back into the water, forcing me to frustratingly restart the race (see throwing controller through TV).
There are two ways to unlock new tracks, vehicles and parts for them: classic and story modes. While it has a pretty shoddy storyline I recommend that you complete the latter as it has a fairly logical, albeit predictable, progression.
Climax’s effort to send the last of the long waning ATV series out on the aging platform that is the PS2 is in one word: good – nothing more, nothing less. All up this is an average game that is a bit disappointing considering its timing and only really worth renting out or buying if for $50 not $90.

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