Compared: February 19, 2003
AKA Acclaim has just unleashed, ATV Quad Power Racing 2 to compete with Sony and Rainbow Studios’ ATV racer, ATV Offroad Fury 2 that released last November. At first glance, these games look nearly identical when sitting on the shelf at your local software store, and until you actually sit down and play both you won’t see just how different these two games really are. In addition to the arcade racing influence of Acclaim’s racer there are also some other substantial differences that you will want to consider when choosing between these two games.
Round 1: Gameplay
Quad Power Racing 2 is an arcade racer. You have a turbo boost that is powered-up by doing stunts, and you can engage in combat (kicking opponents) to unseat your opponents and steal their boost power. The stunt arenas look more like a skate park or a Hot Wheels stunt course than anything you might find in real life. Even if you favor fun over realism you still need to be concerned with a button-activated preloading system and some buggy controls that make pulling off stunts unreliable at best. Stunts do play a much more integral part of the scoring and gameplay in QPR2.
Offroad Fury 2 takes a more serious approach to 4x4 ATV racing and keeps stunts as a sidebar or at least reserved to the Freestyle courses where they belong. There is no combat although you can try to land on or crash into opponents and send them flying. There is no boost, so you must rely on your driving skills and track memorization to win races. The Enduro and Supercross matches flesh out a good variety of racing modes that you just don’t have in QPR2.
ATV Offroad Fury 2 wins this round with more features, better controls, and a much more solid gameplay experience.
Round 2: Visuals
Quad Power Racing 2 has some interesting environments but they aren’t entirely realistic or as natural as you might expect from a 4x4 game. Everything feels a bit artificial and forced, even in the beachfront setting. The tracks are often narrow and some are very dark making it hard to race competitively until you have memorized every blind turn. The rider animations are blocky and stiff and the rider creation is totally uninspired. Your rider wears his helmet in the selection screen so you don’t even get to recognize the licensed riders that were used in the game.
Offroad Fury 2 wins this round with lush and realistic outdoor environments that are filled with subtle details. The indoor arenas are recreated with convincing detail and populated with cheering crowds, banners, and all the extras that breathe life into the game. The tracks are much wider than QPR2 and allow for strategic racing and plotting the best line through the turns and rhythm sections. The rider creation screen is massive with a huge selection of boots, gloves, helmets, goggles, and suits to choose from and even more to unlock. The camera pans and zooms around to the part of the rider you are dressing. Very nice!
Round 3: Music & Sound
While musical taste is a highly subjective category, I found the modest selection of tunes in Quad Power Racing 2 to be grating and often annoying. It only gets worse when you hear this limited soundtrack repeated to the point where you scramble to the options to turn off the music entirely. The random playlist is so poor I had songs repeat even in the same race.
Offroad Fury 2 dwarfs the competition with more than 20 killer tunes than spans multiple musical genres ranging from rock and pop to dance and funk and even some techno. By the time you hear a track repeat you are ready for it, and the upbeat music actually enhances the gameplay letting you find your “groove”, so to speak.
Both games feature a decent selection of ambient environmental effects and convincing engine noises, but the music and added bonus of Dolby Surround clearly makes Offroad Fury 2 the winner in this round.
Round 4: Other Deciding Factors
Offroad Fury 2 offers 40 racing environments compared to QPR2’s 15 that are merely three variations in each of five settings. You also have 4-player support using a variety of connection methods including online and I-Link support while QPR2 lets you play against one other person via split-screen.
Perhaps one of the biggest differences between the two games are the substantially shorter load times for Offroad Fury 2. Both games have a lengthy initial load for each track but when "restarting" a race in Offroad Fury 2 the load is instantaneous while QPR2 appears to reload the entire level from disc.
Offroad Fury 2 clearly wins this round with its robust multiplayer support as well as in-depth rider profile point system that lets you unlock all sorts of bonus goodies.
Sony’s ATV Offroad Fury 2 is the clear and undisputed victor in this comparison. It simply looks, sounds, and plays better than Acclaim’s offering and offers more gameplay options and multiplayer potential.
That’s not to say that ATV Quad Power Racing 2 is a bad game and that you won’t have any fun playing it. If you are looking for a racing experience than leans more towards arcade with turbo boosts and kicking your opponents off their bikes then QPR2 may be your game of choice, but in a world where two ATV games are sitting right next to each other on the shelf competing for your dollar, Offroad Fury 2 is the better game.