Monster Energy Supercross Review – Getting Dirty (PS4)
Italian developer Milestone S.r.l. has a pretty good track record with racing games, and plenty of experience with motorcycle games in general. As far as licensed games go, they have previously worked on both the MXGP and the MotoGP series. So, it wasn’t surprising to hear about their AMA and FIM Championship tie-in, Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Video Game.
For those who don’t know the difference between Motocross and Supercross, the main difference is that Motocross tracks are generally created outside while Supercross tracks are created in stadiums and arenas. Supercross does have a little brother called Arenacross that uses smaller tracks, and this is where Supercross riders learn the ropes. That said, only Supercross is covered in this game. I’m a fan of all three types of racing, so it was exciting to see something new.
For those of you who are new to dirt bike racing games, the tutorials are lacking as they are only text based with images to look at. That means the best way to get acclimated to the game is to just jump right in. You have several options to start with, but the easiest mode to get the feel for the physics of the game is the Time Attack mode. It’s just you, your bike, and the dirt. The riders are all real-world folks from the Supercross circuit, riding the same sponsored rides, so Supercross fans will easily recognize the names and the bikes.
Your race options will determine how easy the bike will handle as the physics can be either assisted or normal, and the brakes can be set to either work together or separately. Both of these options can impact you differently depending on your skill level, and these settings will also determine the rate at which you’ll earn experience in-game. Once at the track, and before the race starts, you’ll also have a chance to adjust the suspension and gears on your ride as well. There’s over 20 save slots for those who love to tinker and try the same settings with different bikes or for those that want to use specific settings for a certain track.
Race Length is Up to You
When you’re ready to jump into racing, you can choose to start a career in the 250 class (the 450 class becomes available after competing at 250) or you can just take on a full championship season, race by race, as any rider you choose, with no class restrictions. How long an event lasts can vary depending upon how much time you want to spend within each one. You can opt for the shortest event type and go with the One Shot setting, but know that you’ll be in the farthest gate on the track and start out dead last. There’s also the Semi-Pro setting that will allow you to take part in the qualifying sessions before the race, which also means you may get a much better spot in the starting gate.
For those who want the full experience of a Supercross event, go for The Real Thing. You’ll start out qualifying, and then move into a heat, then a Semi-Final for the 450 class, and then a Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ) all before the main. Once you get to the main, there’s a race length setting to determine how long the main event will be. The races can last between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on your choice, which also determines how long a qualifying session will last. This is a nice feature for those who may not always have a lot of time to run a full length championship, and just want to get in the mud and go. Once you’re on the track, for offline races, you can have the Rewind feature enabled, which will allow you to back up a pretty good ways, if needed, and retry a section or corner you may have taken badly.
Did Someone Say Mud?
The tracks for the game are based upon real world tracks, in real world arenas and stadiums, most of which are open air. AT&T Stadium in Dallas does have the roof closed, so no worries there, but Oakland, San Diego, and Anaheim, to name a few, just may have rain falling, and dirt does not remain dirt in the rain. The gaming engine allows for track changes based on the current race weather, and the bikes definitely handle differently in the mud. All of your practice and memorizing of the track can go right out the window once the rain starts falling, as the track turns into a brand new beast. The track when dry already deforms as a race progresses, but add water and the deformity worsens almost exponentially.
Racing ran smooth and flawless for me, with no glitches, no screen lag or blur, even with a full rack of 20 riders diving into the first corner and piling up in a heap. The bikes are incredibly detailed, staying true to the manufacturer’s real world counter part, with badges and branding that comes right out of the Supercross world. The riders themselves, as long as they have a helmet on, look great, but once they are on the podium, they could have used a little more detail and polish.
The Track Builder
The track builder is probably the biggest star of the game. I recently wrote about it at length, and it is an impressive in-game feature. Not only can you build and save ten local tracks for yourself, you can also upload and share them with the world, and you can try out tracks others have created as well. Once uploaded, these tracks can also be used in time attack, single races, and multiplayer. The game already ships with 17 official Supercross tracks, but with the track builder, you’ll have an endless supply of new tracks to try out, ready and waiting online.
The game does have a multiplayer mode that allows for up to 12 racers and can use any and every track available, official or online. You can opt to have AI fill in the empty spots, or just go with the number of actual folks in the room. I had no issues finding full rooms over the weekend and almost all of the races ran flawlessly. It was obvious that a few racers had problems with their internet, and that is to be expected as not everyone has a great broadband connection. As for me and my fiber, I had no issues online. Not that I won very much, but still, that’s on me, not the game. One very nice feature for online races is the ability to turn off collisions which means you don’t have to worry about some insane rider taking you out by going the wrong way, or some overly aggressive rider knocking you off the track.
Developer Milestone S.r.l. has been making racing games for so long, it comes as no surprise how nicely Monster Energy Supercross turned out. From the detail in the dirt, to the details in the bikes, this is not only a great looking game, but a great racing game too.
Monster Energy Supercross review code provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4 Pro. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.