Four-wheeled fury

  ATV Off Road Fury 3 lends more realism to the series
By  |  October 24, 2005

 ATV Off Road Fury 3
Published by Sony Computer Entertainment of America. Developed by Climax. For PlayStation 2. Rated E for Everyone.

It’s the holiday gaming season, and the sequels just keep on comin’! This week, we’ll be looking at ATV Off Road Fury 3 for the PS2.

First of all, I loved the previous ATV Off Road Fury games, but I was definitely skeptical about this one because it was made by a different developer. Yet in the end, because I’m a bit of a racing-game whore, I was excited to give Off Road 3 a go.

ATV 3 is not a completely different game from the previous two, but it’s clearly not the same game, either. The biggest difference is that the handling and physics have been refined to a point where the game feels a little bit more like a simulation than the previous games. That may be bad news for those who like arcade-style racers, but I think it’s a great addition. See, the ATVs you are racing feel a little heavier and they don’t seem to hang in the air quite as long as they used to. ATV 3 also has added a powerslide move that you can use by pressing the R1 button. Personally, I liked the addition of it; however, it seems like it’s a purely optional move, as you can progress through the game without using it very much.

In addition, the graphics in ATV Off Road Fury 3 are much more impressive than the previous two games'. Besides the more crisp-looking player models, the environments are extremely detailed and full of life. In some levels you’ll see planes flying overhead, while others have expansive background objects and structures in them.

My favorite thing about ATV Off Road Fury 3 is that it ups the ante with all of the cool extras that you can utilize in the game. You have much more control over the customization of your ATV, and you can color and decal your ride to your liking. Plus, you get all that great Gran Turismo type of stuff to do, like tweaking your shocks, buying new tires, and other features that further add to the "sim" aspects of the game’s overall feel.

So, what’s "bad" about the latest ATV Off Road Fury? Well, nothing per se, but the game’s frame rate is a little iffy on certain tracks, and seems downright unstable in others; it just seems "jumpy." It’s not horrible by any means, but perhaps its drawbacks can be chalked up to the fact that the game may have been rushed out for the holidays. I also had some issues with the track design: the later tracks that you open up are great, but the early to mid-level tracks are uninspired and, well, "meh."

In conclusion, ATV Off Road Fury 3 is worth picking up even if you have the previous two games, if only because of the new simulation style of play. However, if you loved the last two because of the arcade feel, then I’d say rent this first. Otherwise, it’s a solid stocking stuffer for hardcore racing fans, and for those who already have the big games this holiday season and are looking for something else.

Score: 8.0 (out of 10)

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