Games have come along way since my all time favorite Excite Bike on the NES but with todayâ€™s consoles pushing out more power than your moms microwave, there is no wonder companies like THQ are coming up with awe inspiring graphics, excitement and realism while being so immersive.
Like many of you I’m sure, I have spent countless hours playing the demo of MX vs ATV reflex. I know Sugar Ridge better than my local track and even started dreaming about nailing the elusive quad after the rolling whoops. When I finally received the final version I was excited to get to play a couple more tracks and get online to battle some of my moto rivals. The first part happened but second fell well short, but more on that in a minute.
When you fire up the game for the first time you are given the opportunity to customize your rider and run through some pretty standard rider training programs to keep your rubber side where it belongs. If you played the demo as much as I did, you skipped the foreplay and headed straight to Moto Career to unlock some of the new tracks. It takes a little while to work your way through the various tracks and different formats but it’s good fun and entertaining. The new â€œreflexâ€ rider/bike separation is a big improvement and after a couple laps its fairly easy to get the hang of. Another really cool feature which added to the realism is the real-time dirt and track deformation where ruts and lines are formed based on where you and the other competitors actually ride. This adds to the excitement and adds a level of unpredictability to each lap. Crash prevention is another new feature which makes the game easier to play, when you are about to crash it displays a directional arrow on the screen which you have to press on the controller to avoid a crash, it works 90% of time but can also cause you to crash if there is an obstacle in the suggested direction.
The new freestyle mode is pretty cool too, with improvements made to the controls and the wide variety of tricks. Besides the motocross and supercross tracks other track and game types include waypoint, freestyle, champion sport track, free ride and omnicross. The game also has a couple arcade style modes which are fun including tag, snake and target practice. In total the game has 41 different tracks and courses which is really impressive. Winning events earns you cash and gives you the ability to unlock tracks and also make purchases of vehicles, parts and gear.
The biggest disappointment of the game comes from a problem well known to most users and Rainbow studios. I have spent countless hours riding around the practice track waiting for other players to join with no luck. You need the ability to create and join rooms prior to the game starting. Another issue with online game plays is that you cannot choose how many laps to race (3 is default). It sounds like Rainbow are trying to fix the issues but we will have to wait and see what comes out of it.
To date they have already released a down-loadable content pack with new tracks, gear and vehicles. They have a second pack which was released on February 4th.
Overall, MX games have come a long way since Excite Bike and this game is no exception. For me its hands down the most realistic MX game to date and I hope that Rainbow Studios continue to develop the title for improved future releases. To me the title would get 5 out of 5 but due to the online issues it gets a 4 out of 5.
Go to thq.com to get your copy and for more info