IGN Review of MX vs. ATV Reflex
The console version of MX vs. ATV Reflex, released on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, continues Rainbow Studios' long history of slick offroad racing. It has great controls, fantastic track design and packs enough content to keep you hooked for a long while. In short, it's great fun. The PSP version of Reflex, however, is pretty much the exact opposite of that, generally poor in almost every way.
The first example of this is seen when you're creating your rider. After selecting your name, you can choose a number between 0 and 999 to appear on your jersey. Unfortunately, you cannot hold the D-Pad and scroll through the digits. So, if you want to be number 500, you need to tap the D-Pad 500 times.
The career mode's event list is completely screwy. Different events require different finishing places to progress. So for some, it's OK if you finish third, while others require second or first. This requirement is listed in rather tiny text, so you have to scan the page to find it (and it might take a while before you know it's there).
Worse, however, is that it's not obvious what your best finishing place on any event is. There's no medal or number on each event page to show you how well you've done in the past, or whether or not you "passed" it at all. In order to see this, you need to actually page the event's information over one and look at a checklist. The first page has your best time, but not your finishing place. This design is completely confounding and I'm not sure why anyone ever signed off on it.
Once you're actually in a race, the problems don't end. The controls are borderline horrendous, being way too touchy and sporadic to allow for any precise control. Tapping the D-Pad (the default control) to turn isn't nearly enough, while holding a direction down will quickly cause your rider to turn too sharply. The camera lags behind your movement by a bit, so it's hard to know exactly when to stop turning, so again, you overshoot your intended heading quite a bit. And no, changing your control to the analog stick rather than the D-Pad doesn't help -- it's even more sensitive.
I found the brakes to be generally useless, and even a hindrance. Rather than allowing you to turn tighter or start a tail slide, it just slows you down (but doesn't help you bite the turn like you'd expect). So every time you brake, your opponents just gain time on you. It's better to just hold the accelerator down the whole time and simply steer (poorly, as mentioned).
As with most offroad games, you can preload your jumps to launch higher off of a ramp. The problem here is that the timing on this is really messed up and it's hard to get it right. Even after you figure it out, the whole mechanic still feels way off.
On a positive note, the game actually does look pretty decent for a PSP game and it runs really well. If you were to see it in action for a minute you might think it would actually be pretty good. But once the controls are in your hands...
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