The series responsible for one of my favorite games of all-time, ATV Offroad Fury, races onto the next gen scene with MX vs ATV Supercross Encore, developed by Rainbow Studios. The series has truly fallen from grace, as I went into this title expecting to be disappointed. Supercross Encore is at best, mediocre even with a surprising amount of content, and at worst nearly unplayable because of its frustrating handling. With dated visuals and poor controls, the future does not look bright for this once beloved series.
The game is split into various modes: the standard Supercross, Nationals, Rhythm Racing, and Waypoint. In Waypoint, players are tasked with racing from point to point–a mode seen in many games of the genre. This is similar to National races, although the checkpoints are stripped away for a more traditional race setup. In Rhythm Racing, players are tasked with landing on dirt ramps with the objective of carrying your momentum towards the next jump and the next successive landing. Chaining multiple landings creates the illusion of rhythm, hence the name of the mode. The problem here lies within the controls. I fought tooth and nail to hit the apex of the oncoming hill I was rushing towards, only for the game to deny me my safe landing.
From an audio/video perspective, Supercross Encore looks immediately dated with stiff movements and dull textures. Pop-ins are regular fare, and the color pallet is made up of bleak grays and worn out browns. While the soundtrack is decent, it gets tiresome quickly, and the poor vehicle sound effects don’t allow the player to be immersed in the experience. In terms of the UI and presentation, menus can be navigated with ease, though not without performance issues; and the customization options are plentiful, though a little light on avatar choices. I would have also liked to have seen more variety in vehicle parts as the exhaust and tires section, for example, have limited scope in choice.
Focusing on the gameplay (stiff and awkward controls aside), there’s a trick system available in Supercross Encore. Unfortunately, its use is limited and doesn’t benefit the player. Once performed, tricks don’t give you a boost or unlock content further down the line like completing trick challenges does. They are also frustrating to complete, as sometimes I would land a trick successfully that the game would not register as complete, my avatar consequently face down in the dirt as hundreds of fans watch. Additionally, the handling seems to be random at times and I constantly struggled with the controls to perform certain moves. Thankfully, the online play is stable; lag in addition to the bad controls would have been a nightmare.
Despite THQ’s bankruptcy and what was surely a messy affair getting this game onto other platforms with the help of publisher Nordic Games, it doesn’t excuse the low level of quality that is present. Fans of the series are not going to be happy with the latest entry whether it’s because of its overall lack of innovation and drop in quality from past games, or its frustrating controls and poor visuals. MX vs ATV Supercross Encore is the lowest point in series history and could be the last.
A PS4 copy of MX vs ATV Supercross was provided by Nordic Games for the purpose of this review