reviews\ Feb 6, 2003 at 7:00 pm

ATV Quad Power Racing 2 - XB - Review

As long as vehicle manufacturers put wheels on things, the gaming industry will make a game based on said vehicles.  Racing games seem to be everywhere: Tony Hawk Pro Skater is consistently on the top of the best-seller lists, several motorcycle games such as Moto GP line the shelves, and 18-wheeler trucks even have their own titles.  But the youth of today are no longer satisfied with simple first-to-the-finish racing games.  Thanks to a steady diet of Mountain Dew and Slim Jims (and their respective commercials), Generation Y is unlikely to purchase anything that doesn’t appropriately carry the label “extreme”. 


ATV: Quad Power Racing 2 is a standard extreme racing game with the only difference from a motocross game being the two additional wheels.  In ATV: QPR2, riders can perform 28 death-defying (or more likely causing) tricks, race in five environments for a total of 15 tracks, and drive, flip, and wheelie around a few stunt tracks. 


The best single-player mode in the game is career mode.  In career mode, riders race across several tracks in an attempt to out-race and out-trick the competition.  As riders win medals and rack up the trick points, shiny new ATVs, physical and technical skills for the rider, and trick sets all become unlocked.  These unlocked items carry over to your rider’s profile and can be used in the other modes. 


ATV: QPR2 also features single race mode for those who would rather scoot around a track with nothing on the line, arcade mode for those like to race against the clock, freestyle mode for those who like to show off their skills in an indoor arena loaded with ramps and jumps, and challenge mode, an interesting set of mini-games that test rider’s abilities with simple driving skills on the ground and balance-beam type maneuvering up some extensive towering structures.  Successfully completing these gauntlets unlocks several professional ATV riders you’ve probably never heard of.  There is a short tutorial mode available, but it’s about as informative as the minimum-wage earning information guy at the mall.  The split-screen multiplayer modes are fairly simple.  Players can race head-to-head against each other with or without computer competition, take each other on in the trick-filled freestyle arena, or set up a small tournament for bragging rights over several races. 


The controls of ATV: QPR2 are fair with the basic moves being well done and the more advanced moves being a little too difficult.  Steering is controlled with the left thumbstick, acceleration and braking is controlled with either the right thumbstick or the A and X buttons respectively.  Pulling off tricks isn’t too easy.  The game is pretty anal about hitting buttons at just the right moment, and most of the tricks can’t be pulled off until you’ve gotten pretty far through the game.  When airborne, one of several buttons or combinations of buttons needs to be pressed in conjunction with a direction on the left thumbstick in order to perform a trick.  If the thumbstick and buttons aren’t pressed exactly at the same time, the quad will be in big trouble. The thumbstick also controls pitch in the air and the vehicle may end up landing on its side causing internal bleeding, punctured lungs, and skull fractures for the poor digitized driver.  Once you manage to successfully pull off tricks, your quad gets a little stored up boost which can be initiated with Y.  Got some pent up road rage?  No problem, drive up next to a competitor, press the B button, kick him off his quad, and steal his boost.  To change a simple jump into a NASA-like launch, hold the R button and release it just as the quad hits the lip of a jump.  This is essential to get big air and do the insane tricks.


Although the advanced tricks and combos are fairly hard to pull off, they’re probably the most entertaining part of the game.  Riders can do the Superman, the Airwalk, the Lazy Boy, and several other moves.  Performing multiple tricks in one jump will boost multipliers and score, but are also likely to land riders in the extreme sports ward at the local hospital.  The tricks are well animated, and some are way over the top, or ‘extreme’ as advertisers like to say.  I don’t watch a lot of professional ATV racing, but I seriously doubt anyone can stand on their quad, flip it around in a tight spiral, and land on it without missing a beat (don’t try that one at home kids, you may break mom’s vase). 


The overall graphics of the game are good, but should have been a little better for the Xbox.  The best part of the visuals is the smoothness with which the game moves, as there are no glitches or jumps in the action which make the racing high speed and action-packed (unless you hit that fence in the Works level, a major twitch in the game).  Some of the tracks look much better than others, but they’re all spoiled when quads go through unlit tunnels or stormy conditions darken the entire course.  Not only does the blackness ruin the beauty of the environments, it’s also a great way to simulate driving while blind. 


The sound of ATV: QPR2 is mostly revving engines and generic thrash-metal noise.  The soundtrack includes songs from the Rollins Band, Godsmack, and Box Car Racer.  There are a whopping total of seven songs on the soundtrack, meaning gamers will get well acquainted with each track very fast. 


ATV: QPR2 is a good game, but doesn’t offer anything different from other extreme sports racing games.  Unless you are a die-hard fan of ATVs, the game is really just an average racing game. 


ATV: QPR2 is rated E for Everyone.


Reviewer's Scoring Details


Gameplay: 7

The racing aspect of the game is the most complete part of ATV: QPR2, but the most entertaining part, tricking, is a bit too difficult.  Acclaim should have put risky shortcuts on the tracks instead of making them so linear.


Graphics: 8

The five environments (Beach, Forest, Swamp, Construction Yard, and Glacier) either look great or are disappointing.  However, the rider animations on the tricks are consistently good.


Sound: 6

Not a whole lot going on the audio department.  There’s no variety on the soundtrack, meaning you’ll either love it or hate it.  Why don’t developers let more games use the custom soundtrack on the Xbox?


Difficulty: Medium

Racing for first to the finish line is pretty easy, but getting first on the trick side is very difficult.  Getting both?  Damn near impossible.


Concept: 6

ATV: QPR2 is fairly basic: it’s an extreme racing game on ATVs.  The additional modes save this game from being completely repetitive.  The tower challenge mode is unique and a lot of fun.  Where’s the create-a-rider feature?


Multiplayer: 6

There is no on-line play, just tedious split-screen action.


Overall: 7

ATV: QPR2 should keep ATV fans content.  Other gamers looking for an extreme sports racing game packed with extra features and loads of tracks should probably look elsewhere. 



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