Since the end of the seventh console generation, the MX vs. ATV series has been foundering. Both of the titles to hit the PS4 were generally maligned, and things aren’t looking much better on the PS5.
The main part of the game – races with dirt bikes, ATVs, and UTVs – functions as both a blessing and a curse. Offering multiple racing disciplines in one package is certainly an alluring idea. But what this means is that rather than getting one focused experience, you wind up with three diluted options, all of which you must use to progress the campaign.
ATVs handle the best, offering fun, arcade racing, and adequate controls. But dirt bikes and UTVs need a lot of work. The UTVs control so poorly that driving in a straight line becomes a challenge. They also get caught on environmental objects easily, abruptly halting all momentum. The game would actually have felt more rewarding if UTVs were simply not present in the game, that’s how unpleasant driving them feels.
The dirt bikes, while better than UTVs, also leave much to be desired. One of the new features of the game is a newly refined physics system, but cornering and picking your lines in the tracks feels weightless and awkward. A more elaborate use of the DualSense’s rumble features could have helped with tactility, but the fact remains that the bike handling just feels wrong.
Collisions don’t help either, as many obstacles you should avoid have no noticeable impact on your rider, making for a start and stop experience filled with heavy reliance on the reset button. The reset button itself doesn’t feel good to use either. Auto resets vary in time from instant to long enough that you might think the game is broken, with no discernible pattern. Meanwhile, the manual reset button takes an eternity to activate, so it’s a coin toss which option will get you back in the race fastest. Unless, of course, you respawn and get flattened by an AI rider, many of which seem to think crashing into a wall is the only way to successfully make a turn.
If there’s one bright spot, it’s the new “trails” game mode, a checkpoint-type race that has more varied terrain. It’s quite fun, and very chaotic, serving as the high point amid innumerable lows. And that about sums MX vs. ATV Legends up: at its core, this is a buggy, flawed mess that falls far short of other racers on the market.