Monster Energy Supercross – The Video Game is exactly what it says in the title. It is a Supercross game with the Monster Energy brand slapped in every single frame and second of it. It looks fantastic running on the Unreal Engine 4 and could be one of the best looking Supercross games ever made.
Mud and sand look great kicking up in the air behind you and the stadiums are expertly lit and truly come to life on the PS4 Pro with HDR enabled. It is an all-around decent package that merges an arcade feel with a hardcore racer. It is tough to get into and without a tutorial hard to master but once you are leading the pack then you are pretty much set for the rest of the race.
Monster Energy Supercross throws you into the action right away. While I was expecting a tutorial of sorts the opposite actually happened. There was nothing. A race loaded and I was tasked with getting to the front of the roster as fast as possible before the end of three long laps around a track, which I did. It has been a long time since I picked up a racer and mastered it in one race, so unforgiving introduction to Monster Energy Supercross could have been the best thing it ever did to me.
The same approach carries over throughout the game. There is no free play mode for you to just head into and mess around trying to pull off a 180 in the air without tumbling to the ground and snapping your neck. You can play through the career, championship mode, single event, or time trial. Everything is black or white and as I completed a few races across the various modes I became better and better at the game.
Championship allowed me to choose from a handful of racers and compete in a season but the true highlight of the game is the career mode which let me create my own character and see him rise to fame through different speed classes ranging from 250SX to 450SX. The career mode is short but sweet and once it was done I could do it all over again at a higher difficulty. While the character creation sounds great on paper it is very limited in what it offers. Almost as if it was a beta selection of customization options.
A handful of faces and preset body types limits the unique approach the game is meant for you to have but you wear a helmet most of the time so it matters not. Where it does expand is in its gear options as you can wear quite a number of helmets, boots and other vanity items. As you play the game more options will be unlocked and as you earn more sponsors more gear will become available for you to wear. The same goes for bike skins and shaders too. You can also buy new bikes from a range of six different types but you need to make sure you have enough money to do so.
The issue I had with most of the game is that, while the lack of tutorial was a great way to drop me into the deep end, many of its gameplay features were hidden unless you really go out and find them. I had no idea I could tweak certain things of the race as I had to go into a menu to find another menu. There was no prompt to let me know it was there so for half my game time I just raced using a standard layout on a standard track using a standard bike without tweaks. The systems are so great so why hide them away from everyone?
At least racing is simple. You accelerate and brake with the option to use the clutch and change your camera too. There is nothing overly complicated about it which was a big positive for me, someone who hates reading into the mechanics of traction and heat absorption in my tires. Not my problem I always say. Brakes were also seldom used as I felt that simply letting go of the accelerator when turning did the job. I could also adjust my character's weight distribution between front, back and the middle but that too was never a must at all. Racing was simple and getting to the front was mostly easy when playing on the starter difficulties. Make sure you turn when you need to, don't over accelerate, and don't hit the dam objects on the sand that highlight the track. Some of them move but some of them are dug right into the depths of hell with no way of ever nudging a bit.
If I did mess up the rewind was my best friend but I felt that I used it less than I do in games like Forza, which is a shame as there is no penalty for using it in Monster Energy Supercross. Luckily the driving is not as hard as it comes across. You just have to make sure that your weight is correctly positioned when landing, and don't land on your side. There were a few odd moments where I tumbled off the bike with what I felt was no reason, and it did come across as if it bugged out.
Then again I know nothing about Supercross so it could have been my fault too. Regardless, racing is fun and rewarding and airtime, pulling off tricks and coming in first all earns you Prestige Points and Credits to use in the game. It is an ecosystem that works pretty well. Race a bit, do some tricks and you will soon be able to buy more cosmetic items and work on your bike. If things get too hard you just turn off the manual transmission and turn on assisted braking and physics and you will be okay. There are some point deductions for the various setting tweaks but nothing that will alter the game's progression too dramatically.
Then we come to the online mode which, before I carry on, is P2P based which means there will no doubt be some nasty connection issues. The standard race sees 12 players face off on a track together. There are options to search for competitions and single events which will keep things fresh and there are qualifying rounds that determine the position of the starting grid. While I did suffer from a few connection issues the overall experience online was great. For those of you who prefer to stay away from online races then there is the track editor which is another great feature. It is probably the only mode that delivers a tutorial in a form of a short video.
The track editor is a fun way to experiment with the game, make tracks of your own and share them online with friends. As long as the track has a starting point and an end point it will work and whatever you fill in between the two is up to you.
Monster Energy Supercross – The Video Game is not the greatest Supercross game ever made but it is a decent attempt at one. It needs a bit of spit and polish on its UI and some quality of life changes here and there but it is a damn good Supercross racer and that, at its core, is good enough.
This review was based off a code provided to us by Milestone
Available On: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch | Reviewed
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