Game or Lame?


In the face of stiff competition from 2K’s Top Spin 4, you might expect Sega to up their game for the latest instalment of Virtua Tennis, a series that has always been content with sticking to the tried and tested. If you did expect that, you’re in for disappointment because barring a few superficial changes and the inclusion of motion control features, this game is almost identical to Virtua Tennis 2009.
The new board-game style career layout might seem like a complete overhaul but is basically just a reskinned version of the system we’ve been used to for years. Gameplay is still the pick-up-and-play arcade style that gamers have flocked to for years, but in light of what 2K’s been doing, it just feels dated. You do have a nice roster of the current tennis stars, and multiplayer is fun as always. But for anyone who owns the previous game, there’s really no reason to go out and buy Virtua Tennis 4.

The MX vs ATV series of dirt bike and quad off -racing games has been in desperate need of a big shake-up. The last game, Reflex, tried something new with its twin-stick control system, but its implementation was abysmal. For MX vs ATV Alive, the developers have kept what worked from Refl ex, such as the QTE-based wreck avoidance feature, but reverted to a more conventional control scheme for core gameplay while still requiring you to use both sticks in a way that feels natural.
Gameplay is a lot of fun, encouraging you to be aggressive and unafraid to trade paint with the opposition. It’s also perfectly normal to use other bikes/ATVs as barriers and speed breakers as you hurtle around the mudfilled bumpy terrain. Proper use of features like clutch and seat bounce can be the difference between finishing first and second. But strangely, the game doesn’t explain how to use them and or provide a manual in the box or in-game.
There’s a reason for that; MX vs ATV Alive is the first in THQ’s new experimental price point of Rs. 1,499 (as opposed to the standard Rs. 2,499). Aside from missing a manual, this game also does away with any fringe features that don’t form part of the core game. All those additional features, however, are sold online separately. This fine if what’s on the disc wasn’t so poorly structured. You level up across the game’s race, free-roam, split-screen and online modes, but just playing solo will only get you so far. Most races are locked till you reach level 10 and single players will never get there. So the game literally forces you to play split-screen or head online, which should never be the case.
MX vs ATV Alive is, in some ways, a return to form for an ailing franchise, but everything that it achieves in the gameplay department is undone by a strange progression system and lack of content. You get what you pay for.


Volume 1 Issue 3


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