ATV Offroad Fury 4 PlayStation 2
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Climax Studios
Release Date: Out Now
The PlayStation 3 may have been released here in Europe for well over a year now but the PlayStation 2 just won’t go away and why should it when quality games keep being released for the system? ATV Offroad Fury 4 is another quality title to add to the collection but it’s not as good as it should be thanks to one key feature being cut. If you’ve read any US reviews of the game and have wanted to enjoy the online races that most of them have praised, you might be in for a shock because the PAL version isn’t quite the full experience that was released in the US.
The game comes with a variety of modes including a single event mode, Story Mode and Classic Mode. There is also a Training Mode which gives you some basic tutorials that will bring you up to speed with the game’s controls. The game includes: Supercross, Rallycross, National, Freestyle, Circuit and P2P event types. The game has over thirty different vehicles and seventy different circuits to race on which are spread over six different continents. You can even upgrade your vehicles and give them customised paint jobs (only in a limited fashion however). There is also a track editor which you can tinker around with if you’re feeling creative. The game also links up with ATV Offroad Fury 4 Pro for the PSP but seeing as that game still hasn’t been released here in the UK it’s impossible, at the time of writing, to know how the games interact with each other.
In Story Mode you’ll get to play as a male or female racer who starts at the bottom and works their way to the top. The storyline is about as clichéd as you can get and isn’t that interesting at all, which is just as well as the developers didn’t see fit to subtitle the cutscenes. Thankfully you can just ignore the storyline and concentrate on the events that are thrown your way as the story progresses but it’s a shame that deaf gamers miss out on all of the cheesiness that the cutscenes provide. In truth the Story Mode doesn’t really add anything to the overall experience and the game wouldn’t have suffered if it hadn’t been included.
The AI is actually quite good and puts up a decent challenge. Far too many racing titles include AI that just isn’t challenging until you get to the later stages of the game but no such criticism can be levelled at ATV Offroad Fury 4 although it does have some rather annoying qualities. One annoying aspect of the AI’s behaviour is that you always seem to come off worse in a collision and the AI likes to team up and knock you out of the way given half a chance. There appears to be a bit of rubber-band behaviour from the AI drivers who always seem to be able to catch you up, no matter how far behind they are.
Multiplayer is one of the few really disappointing aspects of the game with only support for split-screen play included. It’s a real shame no online play is on offer. The real disappointment is that the US version, which was released ages ago, did have online play for up to eight players. Far too many PlayStation 2 games have had their online play cut for Europe (in fact the same thing happened with ATV Offroad Fury 3) and it’s all very disappointing and does devalue the game as a whole.
If you’re a fan of the ATV Offroad Fury series, you are going to enjoy what ATV Offroad Fury has to offer. Sure, it’s not the greatest looking racing title on the PlayStation 2 and the game isn’t as enjoyable for deaf gamers (thanks to the developers forgetting to include subtitles for the game’s story mode) but the races are enjoyable. It’s a bit of an insult having the online races cut from the European version however and you can’t help but feel short-changed as a result of this. If you can live without the online racing then it’s definitely a game to consider but this is the second game in the series to arrive in Europe in a cut down form and it’s disappointing to say the least.