Matt reviews the dirt filled mayhem of this fairly average, mid-priced release.
MX vs. ATV: Supercross is the latest release in the MX vs. ATV series. Once upon a time the games were made by Rainbow Studios, a sub division of THQ Digital Phoenix. Many fans thought that the series was doomed forever when THQ closed THQ Digital Phoenix, however Nordic Games have now bought Rainbow Studios and this is their first release since.
I’m a big fan of racing titles and was really looking forward to playing this game; I had previously played 2005’s MX vs. ATV Unleashed on the PS2, but must admit to not having played any since. Unleashed was great fun and for the time had really good graphics as well as addictive gameplay.
I’m sad to say that the series has barely changed since 2005, in fact it’s practically identical, which is disappointing. The gameplay hasn’t really moved on and the graphics are only basically better. That’s not to say that this is a bad game though.
You start off as a rookie, challenging the greats of Motocross to become number 1. There are a few career modes, including 250 East, 250 West, 450 MX, 450 ATV and 450 MX vs. ATV. During the career modes you will be able to change your clothing and upgrade your vehicle. More than 80 Motocross companies have added their logos and products to the game, giving authentic clothing to your rider. There are also quick game and an online multiplayer modes too.
The character progression isn’t much to shout about if I’m honest, there are no skills to learn and your riding doesn’t improve as it might on some other games. You simply unlock more clothing to alter your rider's look.
As well as unlocking clothing you also unlock new parts for your vehicle; this is where my first real issue came in while playing this game. The upgrades are extremely basic - buy some new tires, new brakes and so on. The upgrades do alter the appearance of your vehicle, but the handling isn't noticeably improved, although I’m sure if you played the game through it may get better. Again, it isn’t that the options are bad, more that by comparison with other recent games it's behind the times. In 2005 the options would have been impressive. But now? Not so much.
Whilst these points are important it's also worth noting that this is a mid-priced release, generally retailing at around £25, and so it hasn't been made to compete with the likes of Drive Club or Grid 2. So what is most important with a game like this? Well, mainly it has to be gameplay, so let’s move on to that.
At first the gameplay seems basic, a simple accelerate, brake and steer racer. Nipping along the indoor dirt track, bumping into your fellow racers and attempting to make the multiple jumps were fun to begin with, but I’ll re-iterate, it’s basic. There is a trick system, although after several hours of playing I still haven’t worked out how it functions. Admittedly you don’t get the booklet with a review copy, and the basic control guide in the game doesn’t tell you much, so perhaps it will be easier to work out with time. The game does give you hints and tips on the loading screen, but they're very poor. Simple hints such as ‘try to land on the downslope of a jump to maximize speed’, or ‘perform tricks in the air to wow the crowd’, really don’t tell you much.
The more I played this game the more disappointed I became, the gameplay is a bit clunky and the tracks all seem the same. There is a general feeling when playing that no matter what you do, you have very little control. Whilst going around the track you bounce off in random directions for seemingly no reason. Jumping seems to be random as well, sometimes you hit a jump at full tilt and really fly, whereas other times you just flop over the top. Add to this the very annoying high pitched whine of the engine, which reminded me of playing F1 on the Atari, and the game soon gets tiresome.
Next we get to something that, for me, is a massive failing in this game. It may seem petty, but I have a big issue with the music. It’s not the music itself that’s the problem however, in fact there are some brilliant tracks on here, ranging from Metalcore to Skate Punk, but I don’t know what they are. This game has no function to edit the playlists or even to see what the tunes are called, or who they are by. Now, in this day in age that is extremely poor, even Tony Hawks Pro Skater had a music menu. This is a very basic function found in most games these days, so to overlook this seems unacceptable.
Whilst all of this seems very negative I’m sure there is an audience out there for this game. Whilst I was hoping for something more in depth, I’m sure that I’m not its target market. Hardcore MX fans and younger gamers will no doubt love it. Maybe I’m being harsh, and perhaps we have been spoiled by the depth of the latest racing games, but there is certainly some enjoyment to be found in MX vs. ATV: Supercross, just don’t expect to be amazed.
My final verdict on MX vs. ATV Supercross is that the game can be quite fun for something you'd want to just dip into now and again, when you fancy a quick race, rather than something you would play for hours on end.
HITC's Score 5/10
MX vs. ATV Supercross is out now for Xbox 360 and PS3.
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