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MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship Review (X360)

About.com Rating 2.5 Star Rating

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MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship Review (X360)
Namco Bandai
We approached MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship with optimism in the hope that it would fill the void in our gaming libraries from not having a real licensed dirt bike racing game for quite a while now. After playing it, however, we feel more empty than ever. We can forgive the Euro-centric FIM Motocross World Championship license because racing is racing no matter where in the world you're doing it, but we can't excuse MUD's absolutely simplistic and downright boring gameplay and grueling grind of an unlock system. MUD just isn't fun.
Game Details

  • 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.

Gameplay

Namco Bandai
Official licenses and a roster of riders you recognize doesn't matter if the gameplay is good, right? Racing is fun no matter where you're doing it or what name is on the back of your jersey, right? Right! Unfortunately, this is where MUD takes its biggest stumble. The game doesn't play so good. It is as arcadey and simplistic as can be and is downright boring after your first couple of laps. There is no subtle clutch control or feathering the throttle or pre-loading your shocks to take a jump like in THQ's MX games (MX vs. ATV Unleashed, MX vs. ATV Untamed, MX vs. ATV Alive) or Disney Interactive's PURE. Instead you're basically just throwing your bike around corners (you don't really brake, you just let off the gas to slow enough to make the turn, then hammer the throttle again) and instead of pre-loading your shocks, you use a "scrub" move (a real move where riders turn their bike sideways in order to slow down in the air so they actually land where they want). You perform a scrub by holding the "A" button as you go up a jump, and then release it right before you land in order to get a brief turbo boost.

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

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

Visually, MUD lives up to its name. It is just kind of blurry and muddy looking and weirdly dark. My TV is perfectly set up for most games, but I had to crank the gamma up in MUD just to see what was going on.

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.

Bottom Line

Namco Bandai
All in all, MUD: FIM Motocross World Championship is a pretty big disappointment. Our complaints about the licensing or presentation could have been easily forgiven if the game just played halfway decently, but it doesn't. It is simplistic and bland and boring and won't satisfy any real motocross fan for very long. Skip it.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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