MX Vs. ATV Reflex
About as much fun as a flat tire.
Like previous versions of the game, MX Vs. ATV Reflex on the PSP has a multitude of activities. You can go on free runs, take part in quick races and tournaments, create your own specialty rider and perfect your trick-performing techniques to impress the judges. There's even a multiplayer option for up to four players, either through local AdHoc or online Infrastructure, and both run better than expected.
Unfortunately, it's all for naught without good gameplay. MX Vs. ATV Reflex has bad oversteering, meaning that even holding down the d-pad in a certain direction for too long results in you veering off the road or smashing into an obstacle. After a few laps, we still went off course too often, either racing back to the track (and losing our place) or resetting automatically (which costs precious time).
What's worse, some of the touchy collision problems from the DS game managed to make the jump to PSP. Brush up against an object like a tire and you'll stop dead in your tracks, forced to go around it and regain the speed you lost. By then, the computer-controlled riders have already surpassed you for the lead. Catching back up to them isn't impossible, although there are times the A.I. is too superhuman. You'd be better off racing against friends.
In addition, the jump-loading system, consisting of pressing down on the d-pad and then hitting up right when you're at the peak of the ramp, hardly works at all. A quarter of the time, we ended up getting the air we needed, and the rest, we barely got off the ground, as if an anvil were tied to the bike.
The second part is the useless trick system. Even if you manage to get enough height, pressing certain buttons to execute tricks and then landing properly on the ground is next to impossible.
Reflex also has unlikable audio. Too often, you're drowned out by blaring alternative rock that we wouldn't listen to otherwise (not even blindly on an FM radio station) and loud engine noises that don't sound any different, no matter which vehicle you possess.
The game isn't a total loss, however. The graphics are surprisingly good, with a bunch of detail put into the tracks and realistic-looking riders. The camera views are helpful as well, though controlling the camera with the analog nub feels weird.
Despite its good looks, MX Vs. ATV Reflex doesn't hold up on the PSP. The controls fail to deliver, and the lack of working trick and jump systems will leave you grounded, both on the track and in spirit. If you must take a ride with this series, do it on the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Those versions are better than this clunker.
What's Hot: Smooth visuals for a PSP racing game, multiplayer options aren't bad, plenty to do.
What's Not: Broken pre-load jump system, loose controls lead to overturns and veering off the road, bland audio.