Monster Energy Supercross is attempting to break into a genre that tends to operate at the extremes, offering either fantastic, adrenaline-pumping simulations like Forza Motorsport 7 or truly terrible efforts like LocoCycle. With a clear focus on the dirt jumps and tight turns of supercross, Milestone’s (long-time developers of the MotoGP games) latest effort is clearly trying to bring a neglected part of motorsport to your console and supercross fans will no doubt be impressed by the attention to detail on show here.
Things kick off with an informative text-based tutorial that then leads into a warm-up race that lets you take control of one of the sport’s most famous riders and gets you up to speed with the game’s controls. While the game features single races, online, time attack mode, and a track creator, the real attraction is its extensive career mode. Here you create your own rider from a bunch of presets and compete in races and events that take you all over the US – with Dallas, Oakland, San Diego and Anaheim just a few of the stops along the way. These featured locales are all nicely recreated here and the graphics are generally very good throughout, even getting an extra boost on the PS4 Pro. The detail on the riders is impressive, and the way the dirt comes off of the track is simply brilliant, especially immediately after drifting around a corner.
Each difficulty level is well tuned in Monster Energy Supercross. For serious racing fans, the difficulty errs on the gentle, forgiving side, and you’ll want to switch it up to hard for a true test of skill in career mode. The biggest surprise that hit me was the depth of the career mode – it’s packed with content and will keep players engaged for a very long time. The customisation options available for the bikes and your riders’ outfits are also quite impressive, but more depth in the actual rider customisation would be nice, especially as you’ll end up staring at your rider a lot as they celebrate on the winner’s podium. This is not, however, a major failing, merely a sign that Milestone rightly focused on gameplay rather than a plethora of customisation options.
Speaking of gameplay, there a few blemishes that undermine what is generally a fun racing experience. At the outset, the learning curve is very steep, and the first few races were incredibly frustrating. The controls are often twitchy, with the slightest nudge of the analogue stick sending bike and rider flying off the track and losing you several spots. When this happens once, its frustrating, with multiple occurrences the gateway to controller-breaking fury. Collision detection is also unpredictable, with riders sometimes unseated by a mere bump in the track and sometimes able to plough into other riders and come away unscathed. Oh, and to complete the trifecta of annoyances, riders often get stuck on the bollards that line the track.
While, despite these problems, the game is fun for the most part, it also suffers from the fact that, other than the career mode and track editor, there isn’t much to do. The online mode for example is almost redundant as it’s next to impossible to find a full grid of opponents. Overall then, Monster Energy Supercross is worth checking out but, with so many fantastic AAA racers on the market, it’s only a must-buy if you’re a serious supercross fan. Everyone else might want to wait until the price drops.
Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Publisher: Milestone S.r.l.
Platforms: PS4, Xbox One, PC
Release Date: 13th February 2018