MX Vs. ATV Supercross Encore: Review

The MX Vs ATV series has been around for a while now however a nice new version for our current generation of consoles has so far eluded us. Back in 2011 Rainbow Studios released MX Vs ATV Alive on the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. This was a great game that fans enjoyed for its high end graphics and unique but desirable controller scheme. MX Vs ATV Supercross was then released in 2014 but was met with disappointment based on the indoors only approach to the tracks. It lacked the large outdoor tracks and free roam options of its predecessor. It would appear that the intention of this latest iteration is to review the past and make things right for rough road riders and fans of the series.

Encore takes what Supercross did last year and adds in those outdoor tracks that we all loved from Alive back in 2011. Along with those tracks, more game modes have also been entered into the mix. Now, in addition to the Supercross tracks, you will now be greeted with a Waypoint, Free roam, Nationals and Rhythm Racing modes. 

Supercross is as it always was with a competition based on indoor arenas. Waypoint places you in a large open world environment where you get to specified points on the map as fast as possible. Free roam leaves you to your own devices in the beautifully crafted open worlds from Alive in 2011. Nationals allows you to take part in a competition completed constructed of outdoors tracks once again from 2011's Alive. Rhythm Racing is a new concept to the game which gives you a straight line track with bumps and jumps where the main aim is to get a good rhythm together to keep your bike at speed.

Encore offers a lot of customization for your career modes whereas you can select different engine sizes for your MX Bike or ATV. You can also choose whether you want to race only with MX or only with ATV, or a good old mixture of both. Along with customizing your career you can also make changes to the appearance of your rider and bike. Not all changes are cosmetic, as some will alter the performance of your ride. If you're the casual rider though, it's very easy to leave all of this untouched and still be competitive in a race.

Encore offers online multiplayer which to my surprise, it actually works quite well. It has been my experience with a lot of these remastered games from small developers to have massive online issues where the servers appear to be completely non-existent. I did expect the online for Encore to be horrible, but it just wasn't. I got into matches after relatively short wait times and got into racing (losing) immediately. 

If you're not familiar with how the controls work for Encore or the previous game Alive then allow me to explain because as I mentioned earlier, it is a very unique but rewarding control scheme once you get used to it. Normally with any game you would use the left stick of the controller to lean and steer. Well with Encore you need to use both the left and right analogue stick to perform your turns and lean. Pushing the left stick will lean the bike to a certain degree, like turning the handlebars of a real MX bike. The right stick will lean your rider in the direction you push. You can lean to the left, right, forward and back. You must do this to lean into your corners as well as place weight over the front of rear of the bike. Before you get the hang of it, you will likely see yourself under-steering off the track or even over-steering into a total 180 degree turn. Neither of these is good news in a race but once you master the deceptively simple controls, you will find that you can craft your way around jumps and turns with precision. 

On top of learning the leaning controls, you also need to take into consideration the load on your springs. This is how you will maintain control of the height and distance of your jumps. By leaning forward into a jump, you will pre-load your front spring and minimize the lift out of the jump. This is useful if you want to keep your tires on the ground. After all, you can't accelerate in the air. Leaning back into a jump and pushing forward just before you launch will spring you high into the air and assist with landing on the back end of the next jump if you're good enough.

Now onto the word remaster. It has been thrown around that this is a remaster HD of the previous Supercross game but I beg to differ. I don't believe anything has been remastered and to claim that it is a remaster would mean to me that it was the laziest job at doing so. Nothing appears to be touched up or changed from the original release of the respective content. I would refer to this as a re-release which the games title hints at. It's an encore to what we previously had. It's not a definitive edition or a HD remake at all. The graphics still look like the original last generation game and the frame rate still suffers from a sub 30fps stutter in many places. This is definitely not a "next gen" game as a lot of people like to call them. It feels like a straight port over from its original platform. This doesn't break the game though. It was good back then and it's good now.

To sum up, Encore plays well enough to keep me tied over until a new engine is developed for some really awesome new effects and gameplay. I hope that releasing Encore is a way for the developers to gauge how interested the fan base is to see if creating a new game from scratch is warranted. If you ask me the answer is yes. Give me more dirt, more mud and more spectacular stacks.

Aussie Gamers Express.

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