Mx vs ATV: Supercross is Rainbow Studios’ attempt to re-engage the throttle of the MX vs ATV series that many used to love. After the loss of THQ, Rainbow have taken it upon themselves to strip the game down to basics, gone are the open plains and vistas of MX Vs ATV Reflex, a game I thoroughly enjoyed. Instead we get a host of real world locations and stadium based supercross racing. Is this a step in the wrong direction?
For a game that has tightened itself up by removing all unnecessary features, therefore taking you straight to the racing and track with big real world names and sponsors, I feel disappointed with how the game feels. Despite previous iterations of the series featuring numerous vehicles for the devs to program and ensure the physics work, I feel dissatisfied with the physics in Supercross. If an AI rider ‘rams’ you from behind, you seem to fly forward picking up huge amounts of speed, with either party paying very little penalty. Also when riding through the corners, there is little regard for how a bike would react with the mud and the way the rider is leaning. This frustrated me, and from the ‘back to basics’ title that this game supposedly is, I expected more from the physics department. This is especially the case when you consider previous games in the series such as Reflex, seemed to offer a superior physics experience, despite the game being far more diverse and complex.
However, it isn’t all doom and gloom. For the majority of the race you’ll be enjoying passing, jumping and crashing your way across the finish line. From the off, the AI characters provide enough of a challenge to keep the race fun and satisfying. I would even go as far to say that AI seem ‘smart’ and unpredictable, ensuring that each lap doesn’t just seem like a replay of the last. This is the sort of gameplay that made the original series fun and popular. Just make sure you squint as you’re playing, the graphics are a little bit of an eye sore but more on that issue later.
There are several options when playing the game. There is the standard career mode, where you complete a series of races in order to gain points. Personally I found the career mode un-rewarding and dull, due to the lack of any conceivable story. It is essentially the same as the single race system where you race round a track for 5 laps, and then you move on to the next track. This gets very boring very quickly, and there seems to be little benefit to racing via the career mode. There is no dialogue, no cut scenes, nothing that jazz’s the game up and makes it more interesting; this is a pretty huge let down. The multiplayer experience is nothing to shout about, when I managed to find a game I was put straight into a spectator mode, and I sat staring at some nutter driving round in circles and crashing into the signage along the outside of the track. Not a fun experience, and poorly organised. The bike and rider customisation options are interesting and easy to use, however they lack real depth. Overall, the different game modes and options are limited, and feel a step back from previous iterations in the series.
A game as stripped down and basic as this would surely create a platform to really create something decent. Unfortunately this is not the case. It’s very surprising, as the Xbox 360 and PS3 have both been around for many years now, one would think that devs would know the secrets to create a really attractive game. Bikes, riders and stadiums look dull and flat, even the menu systems are boring and basic. There isn’t much more to add on the graphics front, they’re one of the worst I have seen from the last-gen console era and they certainly won’t be winning any awards.
- + Gameplay can be fun and challenging
- + Satisfying at times
- - Graphics
- - Boring career mode
- - A step back from previous iterations