The MX vs ATV series has been around for quite some time with developers Rainbow Studios, no stranger to the genre, having originally created ATV Offroad Fury for the Playstation 2 way back in 2001, fourteen years have passed and now the next gen consoles finally get a taste of the fast paced action that comes from an exciting form of motorsport that is loved all around the world. Essentially a remaster of MX vs. ATV Supercross, which was originally released for the PlayStation 3,Xbox 360 and PC in 2014, with a nice shiny new name but how does it hold up on the current consoles and are the thrills and spills of off-road racing still appealing.
MX vs ATV Supercross Encore: Playstation 4 [Reviewed], Xbox One, PC
Developer: Rainbow Studios, Nordic Games
Publisher: Nordic Games
Release Date: 27 October 2015
Price: £24.99 [Disclosure: Game copy supplied by Publisher]
Differences between the original title and the remaster are quite apparent as the development team look to reignite the racer in us all. Several new game modes have been added to Encore, as well as tracks previously missing in Supercross. While Supercross restricted players to an indoor experience, Encore steps outside the fan packed arenas to deliver a more exciting outdoor experience, the mixture of indoor and outdoor racing is a vast improvement on it’s predecessor.
For Encore, Rainbow Studios have added some tracks from another former title in MX vs ATV Alive to stretch out the games content but it actually works quite well with some beautiful scenic tracks to experience, when the novelty of indoor racing eventually wears off and it will, there is only so many times you can race around the various Supercross circuits before they all begin to look the same, this can be worrying if there are no further options to explore.
As well as Encores Supercross mode, which consists of a whole host of tracks from around the states there is Nationals, Waypoint, Free Ride and Rhythm Racing, which is a new introduction to the series. The National races are firmly focused on outdoor racing with Waypoint acting as a point to point sprint. Free Ride does what it says on the tin, with every track available to hone your skills. Last but not least there is Rhythm Racing
Career Mode is a mixture of the original game with the new content blended together, allowing players the choice of vehicle to take to the tracks with, whether that be MX or ATV, with MX vs ATV another option. There are customise options which are aided by unlocks through completing races on the tour. Almost every aspect of the chosen vehicle can be upgraded from the brakes to the engine, to better equip you for the races ahead, colour change is another option if you don’t like the original take. There is also the option to edit the rider to tailor your wants with a range of different clothing and helmet, which you can add the name and number to, if you so wish to do so.
Encore is a fun game, don’t get me wrong but the games entire control system is out of tune, heavily reliant on Rider Reflex the handling is loose and clunky at best, lacking the precision required to make it work. Time and time again I was forced to rebalance my rider in mid air to prevent him from swerving into a barrier and off of the track, forcing me to rejoin and costing me valuable time, I often found myself upside down and out of control and this is mainly down to the changing/remapping of analogue sticks, with previous games relying on the left analogue stick, it didn’t need altering and has a huge effect on the way the game plays out.
I also found the landing to be a problem with missed jumps causing my bike to slow down to an almost stand still, it made the races all the more harder and punishing.
Then comes the needless trick system which on a whole serves no real purpose, for a start it’s damn right hard to pull off, with a combination of holding down R1 while attempting to manoeuvre the analogue stick in numerous directions, all within a short space of time presents so many problems and even if I was able to pull off the odd trick or two it didn’t leave me with the satisfaction it maybe should. While I get that these kinds of vehicles are more then capable of pulling off unique tricks in mid air, this isn’t a Tony Hawks game.
MX vs ATV Supercross Encore does have a multiplayer element, which I took time to experience with no connection issues suffered I was free to take on other players in a range of events, which I enjoyed for the better part. Local Multiplayer is added, which for me is a great thing as it allows you to enjoy the experience with a friend in the comfort of your own home.
Visually, I found Encore to be on par with what I would expect from the older generation consoles, certainly not fitting of a Playstation 4, with drops in frame-rate that appear to fleet in and out but never really surpassing 15 frames per second, which in my opinion is unacceptable of a remaster in this day and age. While the game boasts some nice outdoor scenery, I couldn’t really admire it as I spent a large portion of my time frantically trying to grasp the control system to keep myself out of the dirt.
Overall, While MX vs ATV Supercross Encore has a long successful history in video games, the latest addition does very little to add to the history, it lacks so many vital elements required to make it a success and gives off a rather sluggish feel, when I should be excited flying over the numerous mounds in the tracks, I would often career off track through the feeling of being unbalanced. There is plenty of content to experience and if you can find your way past the disjointed controls then maybe there is a half decent game to be had, sadly for me this was not what I have come to expect from a franchise that usually excels.