Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 2 is quite a mouthful now, isn’t it? Much like the first iteration, the sequel is said to offer all of the thrills of the Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship, which is no small technological feat. Unfortunately, due to a fair portion of reasons, it only ends up taking a nosedive into the proverbial mud. Now, I never played the first game (thank God for small mercies), but I have played enough racers in my time to know the differences between a top-tier racer, and a glorified cash-grab.
Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 2 is of the latter, despite its best efforts. To its credit, it offers a multitude of modes to select from, starting with a career, right down to a map creator. That’s right, all the trimmings are reliably in place. The career is likely where you’ll spend most of your time. Here, you’ll have the predictable choice of customizing your rider and bike. Sadly, there’s not a great deal of choice to go off. There’s a few head styles, a few beard styles, a few hair styles, and some color changes. That’s that.
When you’ve selected your chosen look, you’ll then be able to put your name and number on your jersey. Additional changes, such as helmets, goggles, suits, and boots, will cost in-game currency, which is earned through completing races and working towards your sponsor’s goals. You’re free to choose your own sponsor once you’ve selected your bike manufacturer. Sponsors make up for the bulk of your journey here, being that you’ll earn lump sums of cash for signing with them, and fulfilling their fairly strenuous demands.
Earning cash is quite simple, however, earning the right amount of cash can be quite long winded. The game’s rider and bike gear tends to be quite pricey, meaning you’ll need to horde money like a squirrel harvesting nuts for the winter. Furthermore, a chunk of gear (typically, the best and most attractive) is locked behind a rank-wall; fame level, and rider level. So as to be expected, there’s a bit of a grind present. There’s three series to select; 250cc East, 250cc West, and 450cc. 450cc is locked until you’ve completed a 250cc series.
When you begin your career, you’ll have a rota to establish. This is where you’ll balance your activities; promo days, media days, training, and challenges. Each of these offer up unique rewards, such as fame, cash, and added ground and extras for use in the compound mode. Excusing the compound, these aspects of play are specific to the career mode. Compound, being the exception, and accessible from the main menu, is a sandbox area that allows for you to practice your racing skills. It’s a neat feature, but doesn’t quite feel well rounded.
Regardless, the crux of the career sees you taking your selected avatar (or an official rider – with over eighty to select from) though the grueling stages of the titular championship. You’ll work your rota to improve your capabilities and skills, slowly trudging towards success as a result. The gameplay itself is taxing and comes with quite a strict learning curve. Being a Supercross-based game, you can expected all the sharp turns and constant bumps that the sport is known for, but it’s just not well relayed in such a way that screams accessibility.
You would, at the very least, expect fluid handling to overcome all that chaotic outlook, but this is where the game loses traction. My frustration was only ever alleviated by the Forza-like rewind function that allows you to undo errors, and let me tell you, I daresay I spent more time going backwards, than forwards. The handling is just far too loose, and to a degree, pretty damn sloppy. There’s also minimal consistency present too. Several times did I make the same jump twice, and utilize the same handling, only to get different outcomes.
It doesn’t help matters that the slightest of nudges can send you flying out of the area at the drop of a hat. The base sensitivity is off too, giving you far too much movement leaning to the left or to the right. I found myself constantly being taken out of action or veering off-course because of this, and when it’s so hard to get back on track, it only makes that aforementioned rewind feature all that more appetizing. Granted, the controls are well mapped; RT to accelerate and LT to break, but even this is victim to some casual mistakes.
Hell, even just to clear a corner I saw myself stopping in my tracks to adjust my positioning. That’s not to mention the ridiculous amount of precision needed to successfully land a jump in such a way that it keeps you grounded for extra speed. This lack of fluidity hurts the experience a lot more than it should. I mean, don’t get me wrong, some time and perseverance will enable you to bond with the mechanics, but for me, it just never really came together well enough. When all is said and done, this is for a very specific crowd.
When you’re done with the career, providing you haven’t fell asleep through the game’s horrendously lengthy loading times, there’s more to tackle. Players can take the competition online, with all the bells and whistles you would expect from a game of this type. Then, there’s single-player races and the map creator. Mercifully, this suite of tools remains well designed and quite clean for the most part. It works quite like a snapping tool, in which you simply connect A to B, several times over, until you can validate your map.
There’s a nice collection of sets to play around with, though, I do wish there was more focus on allowing players to create their own jumps. Nevertheless, this tool alone will ensure that there’s always something to download and toy around with, bulking up the game’s longevity. The game’s visual and audio design isn’t too shabby. Though, there’s a bug present that sees a horrible engine noise persisting post-race. I had to restart the game to rid the annoyance. It’s a small gripe, but a gripe I wanted to make a note of all the same.
With that in mind, the bikes and the effects all sound quite decent, with just enough distinction to set each motor apart from the next. The visuals are not quite as impressive as the audio cues, but serviceable all the same. It’s a simplistic looking game, with some nice particle effects relaying extra character. Though, in honesty, it really doesn’t look all that different in comparison to its predecessor. Perhaps that was a given, but I was at the very least expecting to see some noticeable improvements overall. Make of that what you will.
Considering that it’s a sequel, and despite its efforts, Monster Energy Supercross 2 doesn’t feel wholly refined overall. The game suffers considerably due to its loose handling, its steep difficulty curve, and its excessive loading times. That said, there’s enough diverse content on offer to keep die-hard fans entertained until next time. Just don’t expect the quality to have come on in leaps and bounds in comparison to its predecessor.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.