Great, you say, another ATV game for the PSP. After the mediocre and frustrating ATV Offroad Fury: Blazin' Trails that sentiment is an obvious one. With its bad controls and murky graphics, Blazin' Trails was one of those games that should have been thrown into the reject pile.
Fortunately, with ATV Offroad Fury Pro, developer Climax has tossed out that old engine and improved this game in every conceivable way. The vehicles, once herky-jerky, now control and react easily and the graphics are sharp and, at times, impressive. Offroad Fury Pro is such a vast improvement over the last game, in fact, that it's hard to believe so much time and effort went into it.
And the amount of material they've packed into a single UMD is shocking. In addition to loading the game with several new vehicles and a wider selection of more innovative tracks, the developers have tossed in a few minigames and a lengthy soundtrack as well. But with so much material crammed onto the disc, the load times can be frustrating (some lasting as much as thirty seconds), which inevitably pulls you out of the gameplay experience.
Branching out from ATVs, we're tossed into dirt buggies, trucks, motocross bikes, and even snowmobiles. And while the overall handling for each unique vehicle is solid, some work better than others. But the real star of the game is the ATV, as should be expected, and once you really get into the swing of things and anticipate another round of ass-kicking goodness, your mojo is drained when you're forced to switch vehicles.
Speaking of draining mojo, the non-playable racers, like their PS2 counterparts, have a habit of rubbing you the wrong way. When they're not landing on top of you or pushing you into a bale of hay, they somehow manage to sneak up on you at the last possible second and leave you in their dust.
While ATV Offroad Fury Pro manages to pack quite a punch given the system's limitations, it offers customizable vehicles that you can swap to and from its big brother if you happen to own ATV Offroad Fury 4 for the PS2. Allowing you to upload and download tracks you've built onto that system, the cross-platform connection breathes new life into the game. (If you do own both games, it's worth giving it a try simply to see what your PS2 track looks like on the PSP; there's a certain odd, awe-inspiring factor to the whole switcharoo.)
ATV Offroad Fury Pro has made a quantum leap over Blazin' Trails. Learning from their mistakes, developer Climax has retooled everything from the controls to the graphics, making Offroad Fury Pro so good that it's a wonder what happened the first time around.
There's simply so much to see and do here that you'll keep coming back. The only question that remains is, with four games in this series and countless other similar titles, how much longer can this engine be revved? Still, by offering up plenty of vehicles, racing styles, and gameplay modes, ATV Offroad Fury Pro is a solid racing experience.