Review by Gruel

"Watch the world die!"

I haven’t been too much of a fan of the ATV racing titles. I played the pair of Sony’s Offroad Fury titles on PS2. Both of them were fun for the first hour or so, but the bland racing was as exciting as the latest episode of the declining Simpsons, and both games only proved best as rentals. Acclaim now enters the fray and offers some competition to the Offroad Fury series with ATV Quad Power Racing 2, the sequel to the less-than-memorable original that debuted on the PSone in 2000. Unfortunately, ATV QPR2 suffers the same fate as the Offroad Fury games by delivering more generic racing with no key elements that make it stand out.

Anybody can pick up and play QPR2. The trick system can be learned in a synch, where different combinations of the square button and a direction on the d-pad result in a different trick being pulled off. One thing that helps getting the tricks off is holding the R1 button for a while and letting go of it right before a jump to get an extra boost in your jump. There also other little maneuvers such as wheelies, and the ability to kick an opponent off their ATV. I found the feature useless as the fallen foes are automatically placed back on their vehicles only a few seconds behind you. If you’re new to ATV games, The ATV Academy option is a perfect tutorial to get you familiar with the controls and how to perform the various tricks available.

The racing is slightly more fun than Offroad Fury, as there are more slopes which means more opportunities to show off tricks. This keeps the pace of things a bit more exciting for a little while, but most of the tracks still tend to drag on and get repetitive rather fast. There are plenty of little things that get in your way like the super-smart AI where one mistimed turn will result in them getting miles ahead of you and the chances of catching up slim to none. Putting all these things together just got me more fed up with QPR2 by the minute.

There are plenty of ways to play, but the meat and potatoes of QPR2 is the career mode where you select a rider and ATV and compete in a series of tracks set to three laps. The purpose of it is to improve the skills of the rider on all three difficulty levels. Though, my only purpose was just to unlock the more powerful bikes. Then there’s the Arcade mode, which is a more simplified Career mode where you race on a set of tracks set to two laps. Instead of unlocking vehicles, you’re racing to get all the tracks available in the other modes of play. The only other extra mode that stands out is Challenge mode where your goal is to get from point A to B in a certain amount of time in twelve different obstacle courses so you can unlock the pro riders. The rest of the modes are the ones you come to expect such as single play, time trial, vs. multi player, and freestyle.

The graphics are a big strongpoint of QPR2. The ATV models all have their own individual characteristics that set them apart such as body structures, and paint designs. I could easily make out the tricks the riders perform as they are animated perfectly. The scenery also looks great and has some crisp texturing and some sweet interactive effects such as driving through puddles results in a splash of water on your screen. The menu design doesn’t suffer the complexness that plagues most other racing titles. The overall presentation is a bit on the grainy side with some noticeable jagged edges, and there are a few momentarily hiccups in the frame rate here and there. Those flaws could’ve been solved with a couple more months of development time, but they don’t take too much away from the already beautiful graphics.

The few sound effects found in here for accelerating, braking, and so on are what you expect of them and get the job done just fine. I was a bit surprised when I found out that QPR2’s soundtrack only consists of seven songs. Most of them are from no-name bands but there are a couple recognizable ones in here such as Box Car Racer and Godsmack. Considering this is a DVD-Rom the developers could’ve easily squeezed in several more songs to get it to the standard twelve to fifteen song soundtracks we’re use to in racing games. I guess this just goes to show you how bad Acclaim’s financial losses are as late, they just can’t hack all these licensing fees.

It will take a while to complete the Career, and Arcade modes so you can unlock all the tracks, riders, and ATV’s. I got so tiresome with the repetitive and boring game play that I didn’t even bother unlocking everything. I’m sure it’ll be the same situation with you as well. The two player modes are fun for a while, but it still boggles my mind why two thirds of the current crop of racing titles skimp out on multi player support for up to four players.

RATINGS

Graphics: 8.1
Sound: 7.0
Game play: 6.0
Replay Value: 4.6

Overall: 6.4

ATV Quad Power Racing 2 is just another racer to fill up the ranks. There isn’t anything too spectacular about this game. It packs a little bit of fun, with a whole heck of a lot of stuff to unlock to boot. However, it grows tiresome rather shortly, and this is the type of game you’d probably enjoy most as a weekend rental, and I’ll leave it at that.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 03/31/03, Updated 03/31/03


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