The Scotsman Games review: MX vs ATV Supercross

A WELCOME if merely competent return for an old THQ franchise
The return of the MX vs ATV series is welcome but it has some way to go. Picture: ContributedThe return of the MX vs ATV series is welcome but it has some way to go. Picture: Contributed
The return of the MX vs ATV series is welcome but it has some way to go. Picture: Contributed

MX vs ATV Supercross

Platform: Xbox 360 (reviewed) / Playstation 3 / PC

Score: 6/10

THE unfortunate collapse of THQ’s empire saw Nordic Games acquire several well known franchises. While all the talk centred around the likes of Darksiders and Red Faction, the studio also took control of a less heralded property in the form of MX vs ATV. Although the series has never achieved mainstream success, it enjoys a cult following and Nordic’s decision to give it priority is as welcome as it is surprising. The result is not dissimilar to the THQ titles: a solid, entertaining racer.

For players who have put in the hours on the previous instalments, Supercross will be a familiar experience. Although the turning circle is at times too sharp, the bike and ATV physics generally feel appropriate and responsive. The key to success is finding the necessary rhythm to navigate the undulating courses without losing velocity or momentum. With the left thumbstick steering, the right thumbstick is reserved for positioning your rider so that they gain the maximum air for jumps and land in a position that allows them to hit the ground at full pelt.

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The controls punish mistakes although the trick system feels redundant

It is a system that sounds simple in a description but is deceptively tricky to master for novices. At first, your rider will feel sluggish in comparison to AI competitors and the game punishes even the one mistimed ascent or descent; screw up your take off or landing just the once and chances are you will be hindered for the six or seven jumps that follow, with relief coming only in the form of a flat straight that allows to compose yourself and start anew.

There is a trick system, too, but it is underutilised and feels superfluous during races, putting your rider at unnecessary risk with no reward should you pull them off. In the competitive arena of multiplayer, the use of the fancy moves is a better fit. Impressively for a budget title, up to 12 players can play simultaneously, although it would have been nice to see more freeroam style options incorporated into this area of the game, rather than straight out racing.

A general lack of variety and detail gives the game an indistinct feel

As with Milestone’s MXGP game from earlier this year, the presentation of Supercross feels minimal while the lack of detail or variety in the locales discourages lengthy sessions. No matter where you race, it feels like the one setting that has been tinkered with using a track editor. The crowds, too, feel like an indistinct mush befitting a game at the beginning of the 360’s life cycle, not one released toward its end. In the developer’s defence, the game seeks to reproduce official tracks in its bid for realism, and this it does well. You get the feeling, however, that some artistic, arcade-inspired creativity might have given the reboot the zip and variety it so badly lacks.


1) It is tempting to try and ride at full speed but sometimes you will handle jumps better if you slow down a little to ensure you land on a downhill slope rather than its apex.

2) Be gentle with the left thumbstick when trying to turn at a bend. The control is sensitive and you may find yourself careering off the track.

3) Don’t sit back and twiddle your thumbs while your rider is in the air - you can still control him and, importantly, position yourself for a good landing.