Before we begin, I should preface this review with the fact that I am a huge fan of extreme sports like the popular X-Games and most Moto-X events. Maybe it’s the combo of mud and fuel burning vehicles that draws men to the sport? So obviously I’ve followed this franchise for some time now. MX vs. ATV Reflex is a total makeover for the franchise and attempts to blend the freestyle and racing aspects of the sport. The first MX game to appear on this generation of consoles had a few major complaints from fans that kept it from becoming something hardcore off-roading enthusiasts could get behind. Luckily this go round has the developers spending more time and putting more work into making sure we have a better game. The end result is something that represents the sport very well and features a lot of different game play modes for single or multiplayer fun.
One of the biggest changes in MX vs. ATV is in the game's title which now includes the moniker reflex is not just another word thrown on the box. Reflex actually refers to the core gameplay. THQ has given full control of the vehicle and the rider which allows for very detailed control and wild race each and every time. Now if you take off from a big ramp and get nudged in the air, or land off-balance, the game gives you a chance to control the rider and salvage the landing. The “rider reflex” can come into play during various aspects of a race and/or freestyle event, which helps steer the vehicle around sharp turns, over some grueling bumps or in the air. This will come into more than you might think because of the insane amount of terrain deformation that is evident in MX vs. ATV Reflex; setting up more than a couple intense moments. The game’s presentation is top notch and includes many aspects of the sport that fans of Supercross will get right away.
Besides the rider’s reflex, the rest of the controls are pretty basic and those who’ve played this type of game before will feel right at home. Regardless of the vehicle type they choose, the controls will feel familiar. Reflex sets up different events to use specific rides to keep the player from feeling constrained or getting used to one specific type. Despite all these vehicles, the trick is mastering the reflex. Once you do this, every ride controls fine. Reflex features more than enough action of all different variations to make sure no one comes away disappointed.
If you want to take a break from playing through Reflex’s career, you can check out the very intense multiplayer via a multitude of different online modes and mini-games. This includes typical and “not-so” typical multiplayer modes such as snake, keep-away, tag, and more of the like.
Visually Reflex is a huge step for the series with some of the best terrain-deformation that we have ever seen in a video game and it actually impacts the gameplay. By the final lap of most races there were so many tracks cut in the ground that we literally were bumping and bouncing all over the place, resulting in some real exciting crashes towards the finish line. The freshly overhauled physics/collision system also helps push the pace during races; helping the authenticity shine through.
The varied locations are inspired by real-world locations which deliver that authentic feel which most fans expect from the series. It’s obvious that the THQ has learned from past mistakes because all even the audio missteps have been addressed. The sound effects and sound track sync up quite nicely in Reflex. With the combination of nice visuals, audio, and intuitive controls have melded into a nice overall off-road racer. Combine the end result of a pretty nice game with the fact that fans of off-road games have a limited number of options on the market and you have a winner. But don’t think THQ phoned this one in just because of limited competition in the console market. This racer takes the checkered flag. It may not be perfect, but it finishes first against this year’s competition.