MX2002 Featuring Ricky Carmichael
There is something for everyone in this motocross simulation. You can have straight motocross racing in Exhibition or Career modes (although you do get invites to take part in Freestyle events in Career mode) or if you fancy yourself as a bit of a daredevil you can play the Freestyle mode and attempt to jump off/over buses amongst other things.
Ricky Carmichael may have his name on the box but the game is full of other official riders such as Jeff Emig, Greg Albertyn and Carey Hart to name but a few. The physics of the motorbikes is wonderful and you can feel the clutch and bounce of suspension through the vibrations in the gamepad. The handling of the bikes is also superb and improved upon from the PS2 version. The quality of the handling becomes evident in the Freestyle mode as the need for precise handling is never more so than when producing stunts such as Indian Air or simply pulling a wheelie.
Graphically the game looks good. Although there is a little disappointment as it doesn't improve on the PS2's visuals.. Both the indoor arenas and the open air tracks look good but are identical to the PS2 version. One thing I should say though is that the XBOX version feels more smooth, in terms of frame rate, than the PS2 although that version was no slouch either. There is also the inclusion of varying weather conditions which adds to the visual appeal of the game.
The game feels different on the XBOX because of the difference in each consoles' gamepad. To be honest I found the XBOX gamepad to be much easier to control and I progressed through the game far more quickly. The analogue sticks on the XBOX gamepad felt far more accurate and this allowed for a greater ease of control.
The game is virtually identical to the PS2 version. One addition is the HORSE mini-game that has been included in the multiplayer side of the game but apart from this it is the same game. One advantage the XBOX does afford you is that the load times and save times are quicker than on the PS2.
The game is very accessible for beginners. In Career mode you must take part in 4 races before you'll be allowed on the 125cc circuit. In between the races there are tutorials that you can take part in if you wish. They are beneficial though and help you improve your lap times no end. The good news is that the tutorials are subtitled and the game pauses when they appear so you have time to read them. There is no real speech in the game and all info is textual so MX2002 is perfectly suitable for deaf gamers.
I have to admit that I am not usually a bike game fan, with the exception of THQ's excellent MotoGP, as I usually either find them too arcade like or too difficult to control but MX2002 has the balance just right and both the straight motocross and freestyle stunts are furiously addictive. There is just so much that is right with the game that it makes you want to keep on playing.
Overall Game Rating: 8.3/10 If you don't own a PS2 version of MX2002 then this is a must if you're into MX or SX racing. If you have the PS2 version then there isn't anything here to justify buying the game again.
Deaf Gamers comment: No problems really. The lack of engine noise is compensated for with the force feedback from the gamepad.