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Mad Riders (Xbox 360) Review

/ Jun 30th, 2012 No Comments

Mad Riders Screenshot

Mad Riders Review

Mad Riders Review

Techland throws their proverbial hat in the ring of off-road racers with their release of Mad Riders. This game of ATV racing fury takes players through a wild ride of off-road races that offer an eclectic range of courses spanned across tantalizing scenery, but at the same time pushes the limits of speed and uber hang-time with each track that is thrown down. The essence of this game is based around the single-player tournament mode which pits the player against eight other racers in various tracks spanned across a multitude of settings ranging from tropical rainforests and pacific islands, to desert canyons and mountainous terrain. And it isn’t just going to be some fancy driving and slick turns that earn you success in this game. Mad Riders lays down a gauntlet of well crafted courses which forces the player to execute high flying tricks and hairpin turns to gain the ultimate edge that will lead to ATV success and glory.


Pulling off a variety of aerial moves and power sliding around turns happens to be the crux of the game play, which in the grand scheme of things, really isn’t such a bad thing. As far as actively pushing the limits of the off-road racing genre, Mad Riders is not the prescription for that variety of fever. However, in regards to producing a little more cow-bell, Techland does stay with a tried and true formula for racing success, and the simplicity which it provides goes a long way in making this game appealing for the masses. With a basic control set-up and easy to perform in-air tricks, Mad Riders is more about timing and course knowledge, rather than actually driving and maneuvering the ATV. With each “gnarly” trick the player performs, they are rewarded with an appropriate amount of juice for their “Boost Bar”, which in turn further fuels the fast pace action. Unfortunately this dynamic forms a double-edged sword in regards to gameplay because for some, this kind of a set-up will become old and stale after a couple of races, leaving the player left wanting early on in the game. For others, the simplicity will allow them to focus on having a good time through each race, and enables them to put more emphasis on landing a really cool trick or boosting their way through a nifty shortcut rather than struggle to just get through each race track.


Mad Riders Screenshot

Mad Riders Screenshot

Here is where we really start to see a common theme show up in this game. Unfortunately for us all, that theme is not “OMG! Look at how badass this game is!” On the contrary, Mad Riders only stays on par with most of its predecessors dating back to 2001, which for those of us who are too preoccupied with video gaming glory to bother with math, is more than a decade ago! (Anybody ever hear of ATV Off-Road Fury for the PS2?) And it is in this respect that this game fails to deliver in regards to really making an impression as a cutting edge release. Don’t get me wrong, the scenery and sky lines displayed in Mad Riders, as well as the interactive flora found throughout each race course are definitely a cut above the rest of what we have seen so far in ATV racing games. But if we can look back at screen shots from a game made more than 10 years ago and see a common theme, there definitely is a problem with how this genre is being packaged for the 21st century. In short, the graphics leave the player feeling more déjà-vu rather than awe and wonder as to the possibilities of what will come next.


Mad Riders - Xbox 360

Mad Riders – Xbox 360

Again, Techland isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel here. Upon first starting the game you will be inundated with punk-rock riffs, so commonly associated with off-road racers, that spur on both the setup screen and in-game action. Paired along with that are the sounds and squeals of a real life ATV race beautifully captured by the audio team over at Techland. Sounds great right? Well considering there are only 4 or 5 tracks throughout the game, and a whopping 45 levels to play through (not to mention the repeated number of times you have to play a level in order to achieve first-place status), you can imagine that those enthusiastic tracks begin to lose their luster after a couple of runs through the tracks. Even the sounds your trusty ATV makes begin to become predictable and numbing to the senses as you delve further into the game. Bottom line is, if you are going to spend a lot of time with this game, we absolutely recommend that you gather a play list of your most adrenaline driven songs and have it at the ready so when you reach the third stage of tournament action, you will have something other than the music provided to keep you going.


To be perfectly honest and most assuredly frank with you, Mad Riders is not a “great” game. But in order to give some perspective, I can tell you the racing genre, whether on-road or off-road, has never really turbo-charged my drive train. (And no, I am not making explicit innuendos.) I feel the genre as a whole has become stale. Unless you are out to push the boundaries of graphics like Forza or Project Gotham Racing, or if you give up some realism for outright fun that can be found in the Need For Speed or the Burnout franchises, you are not going to garner too much of this gamers interest. However, if you are a racing game junky out looking for the next fix of adrenaline filled race courses, Mad Riders will provide you with everything you have come to expect from an off-road racer – for better or for worse.

Overall Ratings – Mad Riders (Xbox 360)











Tommy Blashaw

Tommy Blashaw

Contributor at Gaming Illustrated
Tommy B. has over 23 years of gaming experience and has been apart of the evolution of gaming since he could pick up an Atari joystick. He has watched gaming trends come and go and has joined GI in order to accurately depict the latest happenings in the world of gaming with one goal in mind: Tell it like it is.
Tommy Blashaw

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