ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails ReviewCain Dornan
ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails is essentially a port of ATV Offroad Fury 3 for the PlayStation 2. Much of the game has remained intact, with all single player modes, ATVs and unlockables making their way onto the slightly altered PSP version. While almost all of the game is the same as its console brother, developer Climax has made a few tweaks and new inclusions in an attempt to further increase the game’s lifespan. With the game being largely the same as its console counterpart, the portability of the PSP version gives it an added bonus, while the touchy controls slightly lower the quality of the experience gained.
When comparing both ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails for PSP and ATV Offroad Fury 3 PS2, there are little differences between both versions. Almost all of the same gameplay modes are included in both, with the addition of cards (more on that later) and further multiplayer mini games included in Blazin’ Trails. The graphics have also fared surprisingly well on the PSP, as has the collection of random music tracks that also featured in the console version.
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. The classic Freestyle mode makes a return, which now 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.
Unfortunately, the Championship mode can often become a source of great frustration, as the difficulty spikes can reach annoyingly high levels. There are times when you will find yourself competing in the same championship multiple times in order to progress, simply due to select levels within the championship offering difficult competitors that can prove to be far too difficult to beat. Why Climax had decided to include such high difficult events, even when set to the easiest difficulty level, is beyond us.
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. A new addition with Blazin’ Trails is the inclusion of Cards, which are awarded for placing first in the single player Championship events. These cards can be used to unlock a variety of different extras, and can also be traded through the game’s local or online wireless multiplayer. For the more daring gamers, you can even bet your cards in the online realm, allowing you to obtain further cards by winning different events against gamers from around the world.
Remaining within the single player modes on offer is 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, Blazin’ Trails offers a fairly standard online and local Ad-Hoc multiplayer offering. In addition to the ability of trading or winning cards as previously mentioned, the usual racing and various other similar game types that are available in the single player mode, as well as a collection of interesting 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 collecting 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.
Blazin’ Trails graphics fair surprisingly well on the PSP. The PSP version looks very similar to the PS2 offering, offering a mixture of detailed riders and bikes that are presented in environments that usually offer fairly basic detail. Considering the power differences between the PSP and PS2, however, the level of graphical detail offered in Blazin’ Trails is certainly pleasing.
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. Although 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.
Although Blazin Trails will not hold the interest of non-fans of the sport, those interested in the world of ATVs will likely be pleased with Climax’s offering on the PSP. ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin’ Trails offers a pleasing collection of simulation and arcade gaming, all wrapped up in a solid offering of gameplay modes. Unfortunately, the often-frustrating difficulty of the Championship mode will annoy some gamers greatly, as are the overly touchy controls, which prove to be the game’s key downfalls. Overall, though, handheld gamers should be pleased with this ATV racing experience.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.