The engine revs, you feel the sweat beading your brow as you contemplate what lies ahead. And that is, one HELL of a wild ride indeed! Hurtle down ramps, up slopes and prepare to leap over gaps that would perhaps even make Spider-Man think twice! If you have cosy memories of Road Rash and the Moto GP series, then forget all that, is an extreme sport with the emphasis on the extreme. Ready? Then let's go!
With all that in mind, it has to be said that players of any other games in this series knows what to expect, for someone like me who is a newcomer....well...let's just say I thought blimey, this is nuts!
First thing I had to get to grips with was the acceleration and braking ratio, and then the balance as you take a leap into the wild blue yonder. Lean to far back and the bike will go into a backward somersault, too far forward....well you can guess the rest. Put it like this, the human body is not meant to bend that way (to quote WWE announcers). It's a fairly tricky learning curve (well it was for yours truly) but the sense of accomplishment when you land your first jump after doing a forward or backward roll is a satisfying one to say the least.
Bare in mind, if you are looking for realism here, forget it. The tracks look as if they have been designed by some surrealist architect who is under the influence of something that may be ever so slightly illegal, but that's NOT a bad thing at all. Just expect some wince inducing impacts as you witness your rag doll figure of a rider eat the dirt or sail through the air as he flies in a different direction than his bike.....
The action is brusiing yes, fun yes, and also ever so slightly frustrating but there's that "one more go" factor to keep you going.
Simple controls to be sure, right trigger to accelarate, left trigger to brake. The tricky bit is the left stick being used to control 'pitch' and 'roll' as it were. Like I said just a little bit too far back or forward, and you are either going to perform a backward somersault, or a gambol ending in your rider eating dirt and calling 9-1-1 for a medic.
It took me some time to get to grips with it, but I expect previous players of this series will more than likely be able to do this with ease even with one arm behind their back!
Forget realism here, and try not to laugh even as you grimace at the painful impacts of your poor crash test dummy of a rider! But water and trees etc etc, move like they would in the wind in our normal world. The sun gleams off the chrome and your crash helmet. Even crosswinds and wind speed is something that factors in as you progress through the game.
For some it may be somewhat too steep. It frustrated me for a while but I stuck with it until I got the hang of it, but the point is I WANTED to keep at it, just to say "Yes nailed it!".
You also have the online competitive mode, but take my advice, practice, practice and practice some more if you want to keep up with online competitors. They can literally leave you standing on the start line and by the time you've caught them up, they are across the finish line, in the pavilion enjoying tea and sandwhiches.
For some, the best part of this game would be the track editor. Here you can create your own circuits, although terrain is fixed, you can freely play with placing of ramps and loops, and then share the tracks on line for others to race on and perhaps, come to grief on! I played with this mode, but did not feel brave enough to submit any creations for perusal. (Maybe later....maybe...)
DLC packs have already been released and as you can see from the picture above, the Max Pack enables you to ride a unicorn! This is in addition to any customisation you may have already done with the bike, your riding gear etc etc. This mode is insane and leaves me with a silly grin on my face! The Max mode for me, is perhaps the most amusing and the most fun. Others may disagree, feel free to do so.
So there's no earth shattering story here, no super heroic antics, just you, a bike and fun to be had aplenty. There is plenty of stuff to unlock, from Bikes, to livery and outfits to ride in. Let your imagination go wild and go for it!
There is plenty here to lure you back in if it grabs you from the start. I again wish we had a recommended button here, as I do not see this as a 'must buy' but it most definitely should not be avoided either. It's also inexpensive on the X Box One market place, and I feel it's worth the price of admission.
Editor's note: the lovely folks at Xbox gave us this code!