Black Bean Games
XBox 360, PS3, PC
Here at Click we have always found it tough to turn down a racer. It doesn’t matter whether it’s four wheels, two wheels or one wheel (just where is that current generation reboot of one of our favourite SNES titles, Unirally/Uniracers, anyway?), there’s just something about the chance to speed headlong around a circuit at breakneck pace, watching the world fly by to a kick ass soundtrack. MUD – FIM Motocross World Championship from MileStone Inc. delivers none of these things.
When our review copy arrived we excitedly popped it into the disc tray, sat back and mentally prepared ourselves for all kinds of crazy bike based shenanigans. The promise of speed, tricks and a relatively in depth single player mode ticked all the boxes for us, so our disappointment was somewhat exaggerated when we actually got stuck into the thing.
The main problem here, and for us it’s unforgivable, is the fact that there’s absolutely no sense of speed to the game whatsoever. At no point does it feel like you’re straddling a machine built for tearing up tracks at full throttle, but instead it seems as if you’re out for a nice leisurely countryside spin of a sunny Sunday afternoon, a gentle breeze softly caressing your face while you think about how wonderful life is. This is not good.
Motorsports are supposed to get your adrenaline pumping, they’re supposed to grab you by the scruff of the neck and scream “DRIVE ME!!!!!!”, they’re even supposed to make awful emo soundtracks sound tolerable, yet despite its 12 officially licensed tracks, 84 different riders, 14 different bikes and both the MX1 and MX2 championships, MUD – FIM Motocross World Championship is just about as dull an experience as you’re ever going to find.
It’s a genuine shame too, because the game does hold some potential. With large fields of participants and challenging tracks available to take on, you can definitely see what MileStone was trying to accomplish. The game looks pretty decent visually, aside from some poorly realised backdrops. Sure, it’s a little bit brown, but you’d expect that from a Motocross game, so it’s not exactly a shock to the system. Even the frame rate fares admirably, despite usually being one of the major issues when it comes to non AAA racers.
On top of that, there’s so much to do that it almost hurts to see it executed so badly once you hit the track. You’ll be able to unlock different characters, bikes and tracks while racking and tricking your way towards the chequered flag – each bringing something relatively new and fresh to the table to entice you to keep soldiering on. The game’s Official Mode will keep fans of authenticity happy, while MUD World Tour pushes things a little more towards the gamier side of things. Both should complement each other well, and they would have, had the game felt good to race.
The other main problem, aside from the lack of speed, is the fact that the bikes just don’t feel right. The lack of correct weight means that cornering feels alien, regardless of how many times you repeat tracks, and the game’s tricking mechanic is rendered completely pointless for the same reasons. Scrubbing during actual races will offer you a speed boost, which isn’t the worst addition in the world, but when it comes to the game’s dedicated trick events, you’ll be left scratching your head at why they bothered at all. How many times can you flip backwards or forwards without finding yourself bored to tears? That’s not a rhetorical question, we’re genuinely curious as to how many trick events you can put yourself through before deciding enough is enough – we managed 5.
On paper MUD – FIM Motocross World Championship seems like it should be a reasonably enjoyable game. It’s got buckets of content to keep you happy, as well as plenty of variety in game modes – but it’s unforgivably crippled by some chronic oversights on the technical side of things that simply hamstring it too much for it to have even stood a fighting chance.