This chaos tends to spill over into the other vehicle tracks at times because Reflex features a somewhat opportunistic AI. Computer controlled teammates will jockey brutally with each other for the best spacing along the track. Combined with the cerebral task of managing the reflex controls, this highly competitive atmosphere will keep you on your toes, but can lead to problems. Many races will begin with a crazed mosh pit of bikes vying for the best placement, resulting in a messy pileup only a few meters from the starting line. It’s best to give the AI players some room while they crash into each other, and then take the lead once they’ve all spun out.
Reflex has serviceable graphics for a 360 title but the 3D engine does more than just look pretty. Reflex is the first game in the series to feature real-time terrain deformation—each vehicle will cut a path through the muddy track as it moves, and the depth and width of the trenches depends on the size and weight of the vehicle. These ruts persist for an entire race—the terrain will get increasingly jumbled and cut up as you run through the laps, adding a surprising amount of realism and even more difficulty to the already steep learning curve.
The audio side of Reflex has its high points, but it’s about what you’d expect. The licensed music is a decent selection of metal pieces ranging a number of styles. The sound effects are par for the course, sounding very similar to the previous games in the series. My only real issue with the audio is the in-game announcer. THQ got David Lee, the announcer for AMA motocross, to narrate Reflex. It’s a nice touch of authenticity but he sounds a little too enthusiastic about what he’s announcing, like he’s making sweet love to an MX bike. Setting him as the commentator during the events would’ve been ok, but he narrates paragraphs of text at a time—hearing every tutorial and instruction in his announcer voice gets kind of annoying.
Reflex is still a decent refresh for the series. It’s obvious that Rainbow is still getting used to their new engine; the physics are a little jumpy, the controls take quite a while to get used to and some vehicle types are more fun to play with than others. What matters is that Reflex has the same depth of content that the series is known for, and it adds something fresh to the formula. If you’re a fan of the MX vs. ATV series and don’t mind adjusting to the new direction it’s taking, Reflex is a solid buy.
Fans of Rainbow Studios' MX vs. ATV series will find a lot to like in Reflex, as long as they can get used to the new controls. The reflex system is a little finicky but has potential for a lot of depth. The other additions Reflex introduces are a bit uneven but overall the game is a promising new direction for the series.
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