Face full of dirt.
It has been a good long while since I played an MX Vs. ATV game. I’m talking maybe early 360 days. In fact, aside from RIDE, this is the first non-car racing game I have played in almost a decade. As I always say, I’m willing to give anything the old college try, even when MX Vs. ATV Supercross: Encore wasn’t well received on PlayStation 4. Now, it comes to the Xbox One and I try it out. While it most certainly has it faults, I can see some people really into this genre of motocross could find some enjoyment out of it, but at the same time, it’s not going to impress anyone outright.
Encore is basically a new remake of the game that was made back in 2014 for the 360. It features a number of motor vehicles in the form of…well, dirt bikes and all terrain vehicles. I found the customization actually pretty vast. Players can unlock performance parts as well as cosmetic upgrades for each and every vehicle in the game. Along with that, there is a halfway decent color and gear variation for that actual rider as well. Nothing too spectacular in this category, but it is there.
Platforms: PS4, XB1
Price I’d pay: Maybe $10
Players can take on single races, free rides, and a career mode that plays out like a tournament series where racers earn points depending on the position they finished in. The modes felt barebones and never really added much to the game. I could just race a little or a lot depending on what I felt like at the time.
The racing itself wants to lean more towards the realistic side, but due to some really wonky physics, it comes off all wrong. This is the game’s biggest downfall. It all revolves around positioning and leaning when it comes to turns on the track as well as landing from a big air jump. Using the right analog stick, players must shift the weight of the rider to reposition the vehicle, as well as worrying about turning the vehicle with the left analog stick. This takes a lot of getting used to, especially on the higher difficulties. I take a turn too hard or without leaning enough, I’d eat dirt. The same goes for when I would lean too much. It’s a fine balance, and one that took far too long to find. On top of that, retuning my vehicles or gaining a new vehicle altogether would force me to relearn the mechanic again due to the handling changing up.
The wonky physics comes into play with pretty much all jumps. Obviously, players wouldn’t want to land their bike sideways when they came down from a jump. That would obviously cause a crash. Well, sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t. There were times I would land in a way that should have been a crash and the game would autocorrect it, making it look like I was some kind of motocross wizard, while other times I would land almost perfectly and would crash making me look like I was some kind of incompetent crash test dummy. It was highly inconsistent, and when trying to learn the controls, seeing these inconsistencies didn’t help things.
There is also online multiplayer, where racers can compete head to head on the tracks full of high octane action at break-neck speeds. Well, in theory. You see, there are zero people playing this game online. In fact, I will go as far to say I don’t know if anyone even owns this game besides a handful of people, and either they are not playing when I am trying to or didn’t bother playing the multiplayer.
Along with all of that, the game is just not that nice looking. I’ve seen some rather impressive racing games in my day, even some motocross ones, but Encore is just a bland looking game. The presentation is on par with the visuals. Mix that with a forgettable and uninspired soundtrack and I found myself playing a rather mediocre game altogether.
MX Vs. ATV Supercross: Encore is not a very well done game. While it has a few redeeming qualities, the actual racing and controls (the part of the game that really matters) is just far too inconsistent and just not that fun to play. Along with the bland presentation you have a mediocre game that doesn’t play as well as it should. It’s sad to see because I can remember a time when the series was highly praised, and it wasn’t that long ago. Unfortunately, now is not that time. I’d say skip this one, or at the very least, wait for a significant price drop.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.