MX vs. ATV: Supercross – Review

Title   MX vs. ATV: Supercross
Developer  Rainbow Studios
Publisher  Nordic Games
Platform  PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 (reviewed), Windows PC
Genre  Motocross
Release Date  October 7, 2014

The MX vs. ATV series has been around for almost a decade now and Supercross, the latest in the series, is the sixth one. Now, I’m not a fan of motorsports generally but motocross, and especially freestyle motocross, is probably as exciting as it gets. Especially when you are watching people like Travis Pastrana basically do X-Men type shit on live television.

MX vs. ATV: Supercross sticks to the series formula very closely. That is to say that you either race around on motorbikes (that’s the MX bit) or four-wheeled buggy things (they’ll be the ATVs). The tracks are made of dirt and are undulating affairs as per usual. Also, as expected, the majority of the single-player experience is based around a career mode where you race in championships and improve by earning new bikes and upgrades.

When you’re on the track, again it is standard stuff. What makes the series different to most racing games is that you need to adjust your weight with the right stick in order to hit ramps and surfaces at the right angle to maintain speed. Think of it like Trials but in 3D (don’t get excited though, it’s not that good). That said, this aspect of the controls has been made a lot more subtle than it used to be and you can almost ignore the right stick for most of the time.

Of course, you’re up against a field of AI competitors who will do their best to get in your way but that makes for more exciting racing and for the most part the racing feels good. It’s not up the with the satisfying weighty feel of MXGP on the PS4, but you do feel like you’re at the edge of control (in a good way) for a lot of the time. That said, the AI is incredibly inconsistent so where you might win one race handily, the next one will see you finishing fifteen seconds behind the leader and wondering what the hell happened.

Where the motorbike controls are quite restrained, the ATVs handle in a more fun way with bouncy physics. What’s great is that while you are wrestling to keep them on the track, so are the AI racers and you’ll see them spinning off the track at mad angles as everything goes awry for them.

When recently reviewing MXGP, I lamented the lack of stunt moves. They are included here but the implementation is pretty weak. The choice of tricks is pretty limited and the execution just isn’t that satisfying. Ultimately I just ended up ignoring them as I couldn’t really see a reason for risking them anyway.

New events and vehicle classes are unlocked as you progress through the career, which is to be expected, but this means that you can’t just do what you want in a single race but rather have to wade through the lengthy career mode in order to just get a few more things to do. That would be alright but the tracks here are so samey that ultimately it just feels like you have to grind for hours to get at your content and when you do it’ll just be more of the same anyway.

Visually it can go a bit low-budget at times. The intro to each race has a lady starting off the race who is one of the worst character models I’ve seen in a while, and when the action is happening some of the animation and physics can go awry pretty quickly. On the plus side though, there is a good sense of speed and chaos which is what you want from this kind of game and the majority of the visuals are decent but not spectacular.

The biggest problem however is that MX vs. ATV in the old days was absolutely full of fun things to do. You used to have freestyle stunt modes and exploration along with loads of silly vehicles like beach buggies and helicopters. Then what happened was that MX vs. ATV: Reflex came out and aimed to give you a budget priced shell of a game and then add all the fun stuff via DLC. Unfortunately it died a peasant’s death and since then all the fun extra content has gone missing.

  • Does the basic stuff well. The racing is fun and suitably chaotic.
  • ATV physics are enjoyably bouncy.
  • Sorely lacking in content, especially compared to other games in the series.
  • Weak stunt elements.
  • Lacklustre presentation.

Playing an MX vs. ATV game without a freestyle motocross arena just isn't right. The 2009 effort MX vs. ATV: Untamed gave you so much more than this game and you can't ignore the fact that five years later, they are giving us such a bare-boned package and with that game out there and probably costing pence, you'd be silly to splash out for this one. However, if you do, you'll be get a competent racing game but nothing more.

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One Comment

  1. Seems a fair score, about what the average view seems to be.

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