- Publisher: Namco Bandai
- Developer: MileStone
- ESRB Rating: “T" for Teen
- Genre: Racing
- Pros: Lots of content; decent rock soundtrack
- Cons: Euro-centric license; unlocking stuff takes forever; visuals are, well, "mud"dy; gameplay is boring
MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship was originally released in Europe early in 2012. A move that made sense because the FIM Motocross World Championship is very much an International series and the U.S. has its own professional motocross (outdoor) and supercross (indoor) dirt bike racing series. In late 2012 it was announced that Namco Bandai would publish the game in the U.S. in 2013, a move that didn't quite make as much sense considering most Americans don't know what the heck the FIM Motocross World Championship is (since, as I mentioned, we have our own top tier racing series which tends to attract the best of the best International racers anyway ...).
The result, as an American dirt bike racing fan, is a lot of names and locations I don't recognize. Sure, two-time defending U.S. supercross champion Ryan Villopoto is on the cover, and there are some other riders U.S. fans will recognize, but this is very much an International roster. Likewise, outside of a couple of U.S. motocross tracks, most of the tracks are totally new to me. It just seems sort of lazy to release a game like this in the U.S. without trying to get a U.S. series license for it.
A feature U.S. fans will be more likely to recognize is the Motocross of Nations (formerly known as Motocross Des Nations) which is a team-based International motocross competition where countries compete against each other in a series of races.
Your first lap with the game will be frustrating because it doesn't play anything like any other MX game you've ever played. Your second lap, when you figure out the controls, will be semi-enjoyable. Your third lap, and every lap thereafter, when you realize how simple everything is and how easy the game is once you master the controls, will be boring as hell. The game does feature a couple of different performance classes and deforming terrain on the tracks (you create ruts), but every race ultimately feels the same no matter how many laps you run or what bike you're on. It is simple and easy and boring.
Modes include an Official Mode, which is where you'll run the real races from the FIM series, the aforementioned Motocross Of Nations, and World Tour Mode. World Tour features four fictional riders, and as you play through the series of standard races, trick events, checkpoint races, and elimination races, you unlock new riders, gear, races, tricks, and more. The unlock system is a somewhat ridiculous grind, however, with tons and tons and tons of stuff to open up, with the worthwhile stuff coming way late in the game, but you'll be bored to tears long before you even sniff the good stuff.
The trick events also pose a problem because, frankly, they aren't fun. The trick system is simplistic, extremely stiff, and just doesn't control well. Also, despite having tons of tricks at your disposal, you can win pretty much every trick event with simple backflips (or backflip variations if you're feeling brave).
Graphics & Sound
The sound is generally okay. The engine sounds are generally pretty solid and the soundtrack consists of rock music, which fits the tone of the game just fine.