ATV Offroad Fury 3

Format: PS2
South Peak

5 060112 740008
Age Restrictions: 3+
10 February 2006

Saddle up and goose as intense, free-roaming, offroad racing takes on a whole new meaning as you blaze your own trail, anytime, anywhere. Rip it up through incredibly vast, free-roaming, bone-jarring environments with all-new character riders, dozens of ATVs and tons of customisable options. Leave your mark as you tattoo Mother Nature on your own or kick it up a notch with Wi-Fi capability that supports up to four players via wireless multiplayer connectivity...

ATV Offroad Fury 3 is a pretty good racer for the money. But, be honest, when you see a £15 price tag on a new game you do start to ask yourself what's wrong with it. To be honest this is worth £15, but that's not to say that there aren't serious issues with the game.

ATV 3's gameplay is quite punishing. If you crash your vehicle at any point in a race you might as well hit the restart button - the chances of you catching the leader are that slim. And that is probably the biggest stumbling block with this game. Having to attempt to finish each course in third place or higher if you want to enter the next race, is all well and good, but it does mean that you will probably spend hours on some tracks because you make silly little mistakes while racing. This is frustrating and becomes less about your driving skill, and more about being lucky. It wouldn't be so much of an issue if the computer racers were also bound by these rules, but should one of your opponents fall from his vehicle, they'll be up and past you quicker than you know.

There are some neat little cheats you can do in order to start the race ahead of the field. I discovered that if you slowly edge forward on the starting grid before the barriers are down it usually results in at least one of the other riders starting early and coming off their vehicle. Or, you can hit the gas as soon as you have control of the ATV. You'll bounce off the starting barriers and travel backwards quite a way. Now, if you judge it just right, you can hit the gas and accelerate forward just before the barriers come down. By the time you reach them you are going quite fast and they usually drop so that you can sail over them.

I have to admit that I much prefer THQ's MX vs. ATV Unleashed. Why? Well, ATV's are all well and good, but they are a bit of a pig to handle when compared to bikes. Not only that, but the free roaming sections of the game are quite dull in ATV 3. In fact, the only section of the game that is worth playing are the multiplayer levels.

If the gameplay wasn't so punishing, this would be a worthy addition to your collection. As it stands, however, I'd strongly recommend that you rent this for an evening first.

Nick Smithson

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