ATV Offroad Fury 3 ReviewCain Dornan
While an abundance of dirt racing games hit the gaming scene early in the new millennium, the sudden industry saturation has resulted in considerable drop-off dirt racers hitting the scene over more recent times. While a fair number of different single-title franchises that were literally forgotten overnight have reared their ugly heads, there have been a few franchises that have managed to continue holding their heads high. When it comes to strictly ATV racing, there really aren’t too many notable titles on offer. That is, except the ATV Offroad Fury series, which has now positioned itself as one of the leading title in its small niche genre.
The latest in the series, ATV Offroad Fury 3 for the PlayStation 2, is very much like its predecessors, with a handful of new inclusions and slight enhancements to keep long-time fans happy. The game still maintains the solid mixture of arcade and simulation controls, which ultimately form to provide a reasonably satisfying experience. A fair collection of different gameplay modes and tracks are also on offer, with only slight disappointments stemming from the occasionally boring tracks.
The core component of the single player offering is the Championship mode, which pits your riding skills against an increasingly difficult AI competition through a series of different tracks and game types. Each of the different game types featured in the Championship mode have an amateur and professional series. There’s your standard racing in the form of the Supercross, which is essentially racing laps around a reasonably small, jump-filled arena, while the racing Nationals focuses on more wider, expansive tracks that are often set in the wilderness. There’s also Short Track, which, as the name suggests, focuses on small and compact tracks, while Enduro is set across expansive, free-roaming maps that require you to pass through different checkpoints in a sequence, with the path you take to reach each checkpoint being entirely up to you. There’s also the classic Freestyle mode, which comes in two varieties; one that focuses on letting you perform any tricks you wish in an attempt to reach the highest score possible, while the other Freestyle mode sets certain boundaries or requirements that you must satisfy, such as performing specific tricks or reaching a predetermined number.
As an added incentive for playing through the Championship mode is the rewarding of points, which are received based on your ranking in each race and any tricks that you perform. Collecting enough of these points allows you to purchase various goodies from the game’s shop, such as new ATVs, additional parts, new rider gear, new mini games for use in the multiplayer mode and music videos for some of the tracks featured in the game’s album.
There’s also the Single Event mode, which allows you to participate in an event of your choice by choosing the appropriate game type, ATV, number of laps and the track. While a range of different game types and levels are available from get-go, you’ll need to play through the Championship mode in order to unlock additional tracks. For those who wish to learn the basics or further build on their skills should head into the Training mode, which guides you through the controls and maneuvers of the game, and also grants a nice little surprise upon completing all the activities.
The last of the single player modes is Waypoint, which is similar to a basic track editor. While you cannot add objects, roads or any other materials, you are able to create your own Enduro course by setting up checkpoints throughout the track. It’s a simple mode that is relatively painless to operate and quick to execute, allowing you to create your own free roaming Enduro track for use in both the single player and multiplayer within minutes.
Moving into the multiplayer aspects of the game, ATV Offroad Fury 3 offers a fairly standard multiplayer mode. You have the usual racing and various other similar game types that are available in the single player mode, in addition to an interesting collection of mini games. These easy little games have you participating in the likes of Tag Ball, which involves holding the red marker without being touched for the longest period of time, while Treasure Hunt sees you racing around the free-roam map collecting as many coins as possible, with whoever collects the most coins being declared as the winner.
While there isn’t a huge variety of customisation options available, the decent line-up of rider and ATV changes allows you to tweak your machine to your riding style and visual flare. You can change the gear ratios, suspension, exhaust, colours and various other body elements, in addition to the clothing colours and brands of your rider.
One of the minor downfalls for the series has been the rather standardized graphics that are far from jaw dropping, but do manage to successfully portray the sport. While the environments are often filled with blandish textures that are particularly noticeable during the desert tracks, the ATVs and riders offer a more pleasing level of visual quality. The ATVs react to occurrences appropriately; the suspension moving realistically to jolts and landings, while the rider moves and handles the bike in a realistic fashion. A nice effect is how the bikes eventually become dirty from the terrain that it is racing on; if on a muddy track, it’ll finish the race covered in mud, while a snow-filled track will yield a snowy-white ATV.
While the usual whines and groans of the ATVs unsurprisingly construct most of the game’s sound effects, the soundtrack is more varied and interesting. While not the best collection of songs has been included, many of the songs vary considerably from most of the others. For example, there are a few pop songs, punk rock, western and various other genres, all stemming from various different time periods. Although they aren’t awful and do offer sound variation, they don’t exactly blend together as smoothly as they should.
If you weren’t a fan of the previous titles in the series, it is unlikely that ATV Offroad Fury 3 will pull you in. It features the same game basing that has been featured in the previous titles, with a number new inclusions and tweaks that offer enough variation for fans of the series to enjoy and appreciate. Fans of the sport should find plenty to enjoy in this ATV title.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.