Vita Review: MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship
MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship on PS Vita attempts to bring the sport from home console to handheld. Does it succeed, or is it just a case of sloppy seconds? Read on to find out.
- Worth The Time?Not really.
- Things LovedThe game looks good on Vita, the race tracks are varied, the light RPG elements are welcome, it has official licenses, the sound track is good.
- Things HatedIt's really bland and repetitive, each race feels the same, it doesn't do much to stimulate you, boost mechanic doesn't work nicely with track designs, no PS3 connectivity, online feels just as lifeless as single player, feels like a lesser version of its console counterpart, it doesn't know if it wants to be an arcade racer or a simulator and ends up pleasing neither audience.
- RecommendationI can't really see much of a reason to buy this when it's just a watered down version of an already mediocre console game.
- Name: MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship
- Genre: Racing
- Players: 1
- Multiplayer: Online (6 players)
- Platforms: PC, PS3, Xbox 360, Vita
- Developer: Milestone
- Publisher: Milestone
- Price: TBC
- Reviewed On: Vita
I have to be honest. This isn’t really my thing. Sure, I’ll play a racing game any time, but I haven’t quite delved into Motorbikes before, and as such I was a bit hesitant about going into this review. I don’t like being the awkward guy at the conversation circle who knows nothing of the topic being discussed and instead has to stand idly shuffling his feet or nodding his head intently pretending as if he has the faintest idea of what’s going on. No, I quite like being the smart ass, who has an answer for everything and knows his topic inside out. I’m all for a challenge, so eventually I just shrugged and went into it, learning as I went on and reading up on it to find out more. Pretty soon I was actually comfortably playing the game and claiming the top spots in racing events, and things seemed to be coming together. Unfortunately, just about there is when I started to realise that I wasn’t really entertained.
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When firing up the game, you have three game options available. There’s the Official Mode, MUD World Tour and multiplayer component. In Official you’ll get Quick Races, Championships and the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations event. In MUD World Tour mode, which is basically the campaign mode, you’ll select a hero, increase your skills via light RPG elements, earn cash to buy skill upgrades and go through the events until the final race, which is the Monster Energy FIM Motocross of Nations. Quite a mouthful that one. In this mode you’ll manage up to four heroes with different skills and unique talents. Skills are one of four attributes such as Agility, which lets you make sharper turns, or Endurance, which makes the effects of energy drinks last longer. Talents on the other hand simply make your character better at specific racing events, and able to gain a bonus for winning said event.
There are four different race modes, namely Elimination Cup, where you go against time and the racer in last position is eliminated when the time expires, Checkpoint Race, where you have to pass the highest number of checkpoints in the given time to win, Head to Head, where two riders face off on the same track, and lastly Trick Battle, where you perform as many tricks as possible in the arenas in order to get the highest score. Going online, you don’t get to play Trick Battle, which is a downer, and instead you’re stuck with the basic game modes. For the most part, the races are alright I guess, but the gameplay seemingly remains constant throughout each one except for Trick Battle, which sounds like a great idea on paper, but the reality doesn’t excite so much, at least in the early stages of the game where you barely have any tricks unlocked. Playing the mode was extremely dull, as I simply just sped off ramps and pressed some simple button combinations to do tricks and earn points, just mixing it up with one or two tricks, opting for mechanical measures to increase my points more than anything else.
I’ll have to be honest again. It doesn’t often happen that I switch off so soon after starting a game. I mean, the gameplay in MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship is honestly just as bland as it gets. You accelerate with the right trigger, brake with the left, and at set points in the track a prompt will show up telling you to prepare to Scrub, and then you’ll have to hold the X button just long enough to acrobatically Scrub, land and get a burst of speed for performing a good or perfect scrub, while suffering an accident if you perform a bad one. It’s simple enough, but I felt the track design was a bit off because it often happened that immediately after a successful Scrub, the boost of speed would occur right before a sharp turn, which made an accident really likely. This was a common occurrence in many tracks, which was puzzling. But that’s essentially all I can remember from my time with the game. It’s just drive, and Scrub. Sure, you can disable the prompt to make things more challenging, but I can’t really see what you’d gain from this. You can also use energy drinks to enhance the speed boost you get for a short while, but I never really noticed the impact these had all that much in the game.
I never really felt engaged with what I was playing, or excited by any of the races. Drive, Scrub, break for turns. That’s all there really is to it, across all modes. I didn’t alter my play style or make any adjustments across the various modes, and the only mode that offered something different was Trick Battle, but that wasn’t very stimulating either. There are no PS Vita controls used, so you can’t even play the game in a different way. The game is just bare-boned. I thought I’d get more joy out of the main campaign and its RPG elements, but you basically just complete events to earn money, which has to be used to buy more events, the other three characters and skill upgrades, of which you have four skills that have ten ranks each and get progressively more expensive with each point you purchase. It doesn’t really offer you a choice of how to play or much of a character building system, as it’s mostly just about slowly becoming less crap at staying on your bike and making those sharp turns. I quite liked the variety in race tracks, and there are twelve official ones in the game. They all have distinctive looks which is appropriate since each track is in a different part of the world, and they look really good. But despite having the luxury of this track variety, the same issue remains. There’s just no difference in gameplay. Tracks don’t mix anything up. You’ll always be playing the same way. It’s monotonous, rigid and dull. And the disappointing part is that there isn’t much else to say about the gameplay.
After playing the game for a couple of hours, I was really bored. Races felt the same each time, the game felt bland and repetitive, and I barely felt stimulated. It’s not a bad game, everything works okay, but it’s just not a good or enjoyable one either. I understand that I don’t know much about Motorbike racing, and as a result I felt that maybe I was just missing out and not enjoying the game because I couldn’t associate with what I was playing, and didn’t know much about it. To deal with this, I spent some time reading reviews of the game, which is something I almost never do until only after I’ve gotten my own opinion on something. I opted to read reviews of the console versions, because there are next to no reviews of this version and the ones that were around happened to be in foreign languages. Turns out, that the console version is a pretty average game, and the Vita version is just a watered down version of that. It has less players, lesser graphics, less customisation options and no connectivity to the PS3 version, so I can’t really think of many reasons you’d want to get this.
I also had a bit of a hard time figuring out whether MUD is an arcade racer or a simulator, and eventually decided that it was something in between. However, I can’t help but feel that it pleases neither audience. About the most I can say positively about the game is that having official licensing for MX1, MX2 and MXoN championships and fourteen motorcycles is pretty great, the game’s soundtrack is sweet and it actually looks good and plays smoothly on the PS Vita. But even having a wide variety of racers didn’t inspire much because I couldn’t see any reason to choose anyone else other than a five-star racer in order to get the best handling and drive. It’s a pity you can’t create your own racer, as that would have been a welcome feature, but in all likelihood the lack of customisation options and variety would have dampened this anyway so you don’t miss it too much.
I played a few rounds online, and fortunately managed to find some games, but sadly it turned out that the multiplayer is just as lifeless as the single player. You can only really play standard races, and there’s no Trick Battle as mentioned earlier, so it’s limited. I have to say, this is one of the few games I’ve played where playing with and challenging real people was barely more exciting than going up against the AI, and I’m not exaggerating. Before you think it was because I sucked, I was actually up against players of far higher rank than me yet I didn’t do too badly at all. It’s just that it barely felt different from playing the single player, aside from having a lobby and waiting for other players. While the console versions enjoy up to twelve players in their races, the Vita sits at just six. There’s no ad hoc play either. At least there’s a ranking system and online leaderboards, but that’s not all that enticing.
MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship is not a bad game, but it’s far from being a good one either. It’s just flat, and at best it inspires indifference. The game plays alright, but it’s barely stimulating at all. There’s nothing to be gained by playing it, and it looks like there’s little reason to get the Vita version at all because it’s simply a watered down version of an already average console game.