Less dirt, more slop.
On one hand, I am shocked that Rainbow Studios is still doing MX vs. ATV games. I can still remember the first time I played one of their physics-based racers; I fell in love, but that was well over a decade ago. One would think that by now the team would have run out of ideas, or at least be inspired to create something else. Still, here we are, and the first MX vs. ATV game is hitting the new consoles. Sadly, it is not really a new title, and instead just a port of the last one to hit 360/PS3, but hey, at least we have some dirt to deform.
While the core game from the previous entry remains intact, Rainbow did add some new stuff to pad out the experience. For instance, there are now outdoor tracks in addition to the indoor ones already available. There is also a free ride mode, which was one of my favorites from the earlier entries in the series. A host of new modes and race types round out the new additions, making it feel like a true MX vs. ATV game. Vanilla Supercross felt extremely bare-bones.
Platforms: PS4, PC, XB1
Price I’d Pay: $9.99
One of the things that made the originals so much fun was how they controlled. The physics-based racing led to some awesome jumps and hilarious crashes, plus it was fun to master. As the series went on though, they made changes to the style to make it more realistic and sadly less fun to play. Over the years I have grown to dislike the handling of the bikes as my point of comparison stems back to the originals, including the exclusive ATV Off-Road Fury on PS2, which was stellar.
With the new weight system I find myself constantly going off-track and losing ground in every race, even on easy. There is at least an option to tune the way the bike handles, but it only helps a little. It saddens me that Rainbow seems to have forgotten what made these games such a hit with players so many years ago.
Controls are a mess, with both analog sticks being used in the Rider Reflex system. The problem is their sensitivity is insane. Holding the right analog stick too far causes the rider to spin around. There is also a trick system which is convoluted, and well, pointless. There is no good reason to even use it during races, as it is likely to just cause a wipeout anyways.
The upside to the game is if players can get past the awkward controls, there is a ton of content here to enjoy. As I mentioned the entirety of the previous game is included, along with the new modes and race types. These have even been integrated into the career mode, which is chock full of customization.
There is also an online mode, including my favorite Free Ride. Sadly, none of my friends even bothered with the game since it has slowly died over the years, and frankly the online community in general is pretty sparse. When I did manage to get a game going though, it was at least smooth. Local multiplayer is also here, which is a nice touch, although it highlights yet another nagging problem with Supercross Encore.
This game doesn’t look great. Some of the textures are downright embarrassing, and to top it off, the frame rate is all over the place. Splitscreen suffers as one would expect, but even solo the game has a hard time maintaining a constant slip, which is a huge misstep for a racing game; especially one that looks this bad. The music is grating, and nothing about the presentation screams quality. It is just a depressing package all around.
MX vs. ATV Supercross Encore is a bad game. This hurts me considering I have been an avid fan of Rainbow’s titles since the PS2 era. They were always dumb fun with friends, and now they have slowly become an attempt to cater to an audience that really doesn’t care either. I wish they would go back to the more arcade-style racing and focus on fun more than realism. Now excuse me as I boot up my copy of Splashdown: Rides Gone Wild.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.