It’s been awhile since I’ve played a motocross game, let alone one I actually enjoyed. The last one I can think of is 2002’s Freekstyle from EA that was a blast to play thanks to its arcade-like controls and fun. While I’ve never played any of Rainbow Studios and Nordic Games previous entries in the MX vs ATV games, their latest remaster of the 2014 release, MX vs. ATV Supercross, titled MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore feels like the tread is past worn on the series.
Note: this game was released on the PlayStation 4 late last year and this is the Xbox One version I’m reviewing.
The title adds a few new game modes and tracks missing from the 2014 release, especially any form of outdoor tracks. Now the ones from MX vs. ATV Alive are included, as well as Nationals, Waypoint, Free Ride, and Rhythm Racing modes. In National mode, the tracks have you racing on outdoor stages, Waypoint mode plays like a time trial where you cross multiple checkpoints as fast as possible, Free Ride mode is just that, you ride around and do whatever you want on any stage, and the new Rhythm Racing mode takes a mixture of racing in and outdoors as you pull off tricks. There’s also the standard Career mode where you can customize your rider and bike as you race your way to the top.
While all of those modes may sound fun on paper, actually playing the game is where things fall apart, thanks to iffy handling and physics. Turning involves using both analog sticks to turn precisely, but if you put too much pressure on either stick, it will cause your rider to spin out and crash. You also have to constantly readjust your rider as they tend to lean every which way than where you want to them to, which grows old really fast while you’re playing. If that wasn’t enough, the physics for landing are off as well. There were too many times when I knew I stuck a landing well, only to have my rider flip over and crash for no reason. This makes pulling off the already difficult tricks even more so, as you have to hold down a button while flailing the right analog stick in different directions in hopes of pulling one off. But since the controls and physics make catching air and landing a pain, you’ll need a lot of luck doing anything outside just racing.
For a game that’s a remaster of a title released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, you’d think the framerate would be a solid 60fps right? Wrong. It runs at 30fps at best and can even drop a bit at worst, rendering some modes such as the Rhythm Racing barely playable. To ease the pain a little, there is online play here for most of the modes so you don’t have to suffer alone. The graphics are music are decent, but the visuals look more like a PlayStation 2 or original Xbox remaster than a last-gen console.
If they had took their time and did this right, MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore could’ve been a fun budget title for those looking for some racing fun. Sadly thanks to muddled controls, physics, and framerate, it’s hard to recommend this to anyone outside hardcore, masochist motocross fans who enjoy riding on the worn tires of this series.