MX VS ATV: Legends - Frustrating and Broken
I have a story to tell here. My eldest son is rather into dirt bikes. He goes riding with friends and has been nagging me for one for years, despite my insistence he is never going to get one. So obviously the next best thing for him is a virtual version of a motorbike to hoon around the countryside. With that in mind he, in his most pleading tone, asked if I would get the new MX vs ATV game that was coming out. Thinking like all good reviewers, I thought “sure, you get the game, I’ll get some content. Win-win.” Let me tell you, folks, it was not a win for either of us. There are no winners here because MX vs ATV: Legends is a disappointment on almost every level.
The first thing I noticed was the graphics, in fact, it is hard not to notice just how bad the game looks. Legends looks like a late-era Xbox 360 game, not a title that was released in 2022. Little detail in both the vehicles and the riders, muddy textures and rough scenery, it feels like this is a game from the 720p era, not an age of 4K HDR. This dated look permeates through the rest of the game, from the menus, to the hub world, to the tracks and bikes themselves and it is hard not to look at this as anything other than an ugly game.
With all that said, I can happily look past graphics in favour of gameplay. If the developer has a limited budget and decides that gameplay is king, well I am all for that. Sadly that is not the case here. Racing in this game is simply not fun. I never felt in control of the vehicles, there were strange physics in play (bikes bouncing like they were on a trampoline or shooting off wildly in different directions) and the AI followed no known human thought pattern, often wandering off in random directions or simply attempting to run over me. These issues all added up to a frustrating experience that had me swearing more often than not. I had some hope that a launch day patch would fix some of these issues, especially the AI and Physics. I even held off publishing this review for a few weeks to give the developers a chance, but alas it wasn’t to be. The game is simply broken and with little word from the developers I am holding no hope that it will ever get patched.
All this is a giant shame because there is a lot of potential here for fun with Legend’s structure. The season mode is set up in a way that I had to master three different disciplines (Motorbikes, ATVs and Offroad buggies) over a season, choosing to focus on one or dabble in all three. There is a robust (if poorly explained) upgrade/customisation system and the multiplayer modes seem like they could be a blast. There is a core here that could be turned into a great MX game, something we haven’t seen in the longest time, it is simply a sad story that the developers didn’t have either the skill or resources to pull it off.
I think part of the major issue of the game is its lack of identity. It really doesn’t know what it wants to be. Does it want to be a serious representation of the off-road disciplines it represents or does it want to be an arcade-style blast? I think the developer’s desire to include more of the simulation elements is one of the biggest problems. Managing extra systems in-game seems to have stretched them beyond their capabilities. I appreciate what they have tried to do with twin-stick steering, clutch techniques and other more advanced riding systems, but they simply got in the way more than they added to the experience. This focus on these systems were at odds with the arcade nature of a lot of the game, resulting in a bipolar experience that couldn’t walk either styles very well.
So despite the game’s potential, I am left with nothing more than a sub-par experience that leaves a bad taste in the mouth. There is just too many problems here for even the most die-hard or desperate MX/ATV fan to even consider this title and with radio silence from the dev team there is very little likelihood of it being fixed in any meaningful way. MX vs ATV: Legends is a game best avoided and one that will likely be forgotten by the time the month comes to the end. Now if you will excuse me, I am off to tell my son that he has lost all video game selection privileges for the foreseeable future.