Supercross games are a bit of a niche genre that are mostly loved by fans of supercross only. Many attempts have been made over the years to get the general public hooked on the sport but unfortunately these failed miserably, I’m looking at you MX vs ATV!
Monster Energy Supercross is the official video game to accompany the real-life events held across America. The sport attracts hordes of people to its events and its high octane excitement has people going mad for the sport, does their interest cross into the virtual world though?
The career mode sees you starting off creating your custom rider. This serves very little purpose to be fair, because you wear a helmet for most of the game so why do you need to make your avatar good looking? The customization options are very limited so it’s best just to stick with picking a cool nickname, font and number for the back of your jersey, at least you’ll be able to see these. The graphics for the avatars are a bit poor and all the NPC characters look like they have had their mouths surgically replaced with permanent smiles, like something out of the Thunderbirds. Graphics, on the whole, are fair, there is, however, a haze to the game that reminds me of a PSVR game that lacks detail. I just think given the fact that it’s Xbox One X enhanced, the graphics should have had a ‘wow’ factor. The subject matter is motorbikes, mud and flimsy jerseys, there’s loads of scope for physics and lighting amongst that lot.
The developers are Italy based Milestone, they are no strangers to racing games and have such titles as Gravel, Moto GP and Ride under their belt so some credit has to go to them for stepping up to the mark and creating a licensed game with such a dedicated following. Having never ridden a Motorcross bike or been to any Motorcross events I’m guessing that they are loud, smelly and hectic events, and unfortunately, that atmosphere doesn’t come across on this game at all. Loud? Yes, the smelly bit I can forgive but the whole big racing event atmosphere is lost. There is an opportunity to really build up the races with loud aggressive music, sharp snappy cutscenes, loud aggressive announcers, fireworks, crowds cheering and grid girls, yeah well maybe I got a little carried away but there is none of that. There is a generic cutscene to start each race and then you’re placed on the line only to use your psychic powers to tell when the race starts because there’s no green light to give you a clue.
The menus are very busy and I lost interest in them very quickly, I finished a race to then be greeted with the smiling NPCs on a deflated podium, I collected my rewards and skipped all the way to the next race. There seemed very little in between to actually grab my attention. You do get points for airtime etc. in races and also for winning. I’m sure these can be used for something but there was little incentive to find out what and to build up your balance for bigger things. I’m guessing you can blow your winnings on bike mods and new gear but again there seems little point because it makes almost no difference to the game. If you like that extra challenge though you can tweak the options a bit to gain more points by turning off physics assist etc. this will build your balance quicker if you’re into that sort of thing.
So it sounds like I’m giving Monster Energy Supercross a bit of a beating but to be fair where it really shines is in its gameplay. When I say shines I mean compared to everything else I mentioned. When you’re launched into a race, you and the rest of the riders are ejected like a scene from Whacky Races and you all reach the first corner at around the same time, leading to inevitable carnage. If you survive the first bend then it’s every rider for themselves for the rest of the race. Unfortunately, the physics of the game are a little sketchy, to say the least. I often found myself being catapulted from the bike for what seemed like no real reason, and if a rider was close on my tale the camera would flicker making the screen rather confusing. The pads that mark the course are also very unforgiving, I’m not expecting you fly through them because they are, in effect, an obstacle but they cause so much stress because your rider just can’t get over them, it’s actually hilarious. I have found myself being ejected from my bike numerous times because I have taken a corner sharp or even slightly wide and once you’re off it is one hell of a struggle to regain your position again.
With the addition of a track editor, it gives the player a chance to create their own course and share them with the wider community. The editor is a little clunky but after a short while you can pretty much get the hang of it. There are a few game modes to try too: Tike Trial, Championship, and of course some multiplayer too. I’d say that given a massive patch update to fix little bugs and some frame rate issues Monster Energy Supercross has the making of quite a good game, it could have been so much better out of the box and for a game that is full price at the moment it seems a bit of a big ask for people, even die-hard fans, to part with their hard-earned cash. I’m not going to rubbish the game completely because that would be unfair, when all is said and done it’s not an easy task bringing a game out and especially one that has such a well-known brand plastered all over it. A decent patch and few tweaks here and there and I would definitely give it another go, for now though I’ll wait for the patch patiently.
Thanks to Milestone and Xbox for supporting TiX