Review of MX vs. ATV Legends – Middle of the Road
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to be noticed in a sea of racing games. It’s hard to make a difference in a sea of racing games, from the classic F1 22 or MotoGP22 to the simulation-level powerhouses like Gran Turismo7. Arcade racers are the only thing that has made a difference in 2022. They focus on off-roading, easier handling, and more fun than skill. MX vs. ATV Legends is here to help.
THQ Nordic’s latest entry in their long-running franchise is eagerly awaited. The previous entry was released four years ago. It doesn’t reinvent the wheel but provides a solid offroad experience, even though it doesn’t revolutionize the franchise.
Hardcore fans of MX vs. ATV will love the more ambitious career mode and a seemingly endless range of races. However, it is rough around the edges to lure gamers away from well-known hits like Gran Turismo and Forza. MX vs. ATV will be back, but not as strong as you might like.
A New Career
MX vs. ATV Legends’ standout feature is the revamped career mode. It is unlike anything else we have seen. The narrative is emphasized with the opening cutscenes introducing your character as a rising star in the racing scene. Then you will drive across the map in a moderately-sized open sandbox to interact with NPCs and find collectibles.
Although it isn’t a game-changer, seeing THQ Nordic try something new with the career mode is refreshing. Although it draws inspiration from Forza Horizon 5, the open-world world isn’t nearly as fun or detailed, and the concept should be recognized. This is a great way to learn about your bike and slowly get into the many races. There isn’t much to do between events besides a short chat with NPCs. You’ll probably just be going to the menus to start racing again.
The chances are that you won’t become invested in the career of your racer. Although the narrative isn’t very compelling, it isn’t trying to tell a story. It’s more of a glue that ties together all the race modes and events. Although you may not feel particularly bothered by the increase in your fan base, you will still want to participate in the next race.
Two or Four Wheels on the Track
Ironically, the racing in MX vs. ATV Legends has a problem. But it’s a good problem. What is the problem? It’s not something you want to do, but it is possible. It’s so much fun to be in the middle of the pack and fight for overtakes or stay on the track.
The game is divided into three gameplay types, and each is handled very differently. These are motorbike races on two-wheels in MX, quad biking in ATV, and UTV dune buggies. This option is the most fun because of the smooth handling of the buggies. They soar through the air and then clatter back onto the ground. Quad bikes can be a little less fun, are often too quick when handling, and don’t offer the challenge of mastering the more agile motorbikes or tanker buggies.
It’s not surprising that the MX modes are the most detailed in MX vs. ATV Legends. The career mode has more MX races than any other option, with hundreds of races available single-player across all three. Although there is a lot of variety, it can sometimes be overwhelming, especially in the beginning stages. Some races can be too easy. I could breeze through the first few races in the ATV series almost one minute faster than the second-place driver. Being out there alone is not as much fun.
The inherent verticality of motorbike racing and the stunt-based gameplay loop make it enjoyable. You soar up ramps and attempt to land safely. It’s a welcome return to the series’ bizarre ragdoll physics. It would help if you planned your positioning before you hit a ramp to get the longest distance. This series is more profound than other racing games, which is always lovely.
There are many other options for gameplay, aside from the career mode. Split-screen and exhibition modes are a few basic ones, but online options are much more advanced. The Squad Compound is a hub world where you can explore with friends. However, it has the disadvantage of not having many things to do. Most notable is the online racing mode, which consists of random events on various maps.
However, the online portion has its challenges. When I first loaded into Quick Race mode, I was placed as a spectator at a race’s start. This felt very strange. I was again spawned into the hub world alone, but this time not in an actual race. It is worrying that the game has difficulty finding slots in races. The fact that I could not get into any online games on any of my attempts does not bode well for the game’s survival as a live-service racer.
These issues with online services are incredibly disappointing as MX vs. ATV Legends is technically superior to other games. Although it is not as visually impressive as triple-A racing games, the game runs smoothly on PS5 at 60 frames per second and loads very quickly. Although some cutscenes can be choppy and render poorly, the game’s in-game performance is excellent.
It’s difficult to see the positives in MX vs. ATV when so many problems are apparent. It doesn’t make sense to have a fun racing game when it’s nearly impossible to do so online. This is a shame because there are some great mechanics and races that you will enjoy. However, it’s hard to recommend better packages when the issues linger.
It’s unlikely that MX Vs. ATV Legends will be a racing game, given the existing alternatives. The core gameplay is fun, but the lack of online functionality and other gameplay options means there’s not much happening under the hood. While the series’ attempts to add narrative and sandbox to it deserve praise, once you’ve completed enough career mode races, MX vs. ATV Legends will have little to offer.