I’m going to stray from the normal way I write my reviews and give my overall opinion first and then if you care to read on, be my guest. If you’ve never played a Supercross game then by all means pick this one up. It’s not a bad place to start and the game holds its own in comparison to previous titles. That said, if you have played one of the previous Supercross games from Milestone, there is little here to justify purchasing this right away. You’d be better off waiting for a sale if you feel you must upgrade, or skip this one altogether.
Visually, the game is virtually indistinguishable from previous iterations – though that’s hardly a knock. It looks great, with lighting and particle effects that are as impressive as ever. Stadiums and arenas are spot on too. Sadly, rider customization is only just okay. If you are going to offer customization, you should go all in, or leave it out altogether. As it is, there isn’t enough there to waste too much time in trying to create a realistic version of yourself.
The audio is, as usual for a Milestone Supercross game, very well executed. The sounds of the motorcycle engines are terrific. The ambient noise of the crowds in the arenas as well as the pyro effects and explosions is just like watching on TV. I could do without the commentary after awhile as it does get repetitive, but I’d also probably miss it if it wasn’t there. Maybe if they could tailor the comments to have more context to the actual game than being so generic. Perhaps have the announcers talk about your riders results in the previous race or overall standings. As it is, you might find yourself turning the commentary off after a while.
Where I have the hardest time giving praise is on the gameplay itself. That’s not a knock on Milestone or Monster Energy Supercross 3, but on the dirt bike sub genre as a whole. No matter what dirt bike game I’ve played the controls just never feel natural to me. In that regard, the Monster Energy Supercross series as a whole is consistent with it’s competition. I’ve always felt that motocross games suffer from some horrific physics and Monster Energy is no different. You can sometimes bully your way through a crowd of AI unscathed, yet at other times a single opponent can send you flying. If you come down right on top of another rider more often than not you both will continue on as if it never happened. Which makes the odd time you wipe out all the more frustrating as the rider you landed on leaves you eating dirt. I’ll admit that I’ve never ridden a dirt bike so my own understanding of the actual physics involved with how these machines handle is lacking. But I do understand how gravity and inertia work.
A lot of track sections require timing and rhythm to navigate quickly which I have a hard time with. I did get lucky a few times and had some really decent lap times which is quite satisfying when you do nail it. But there’s more to Motocross than opening the throttle full blast which is something I struggle with.
The compact, dry sections of track are appropriately quick while sections of mud or loose sand can slow you down. Mud puddles look gorgeous by the way, but unfortunately have no visual reaction to bikes riding through them.
Like previous entries in the Monster Energy Supercross series, there is a track builder that effectively gives you an unlimited amount of courses to race on which really boosts the replayability. And therein lies the problem with the annual or semi annual release of sports titles. I know I’ve said this before and I’ll keep saying it until the end of time. In the digital age, where games are patched post release and DLC offers additional content, just make the games as perfect as possible and then support the game. Continue to make tweaks to enhance the gameplay. Offer roster updates as DLC. The constant barrage of releases every year just seems like a cash grab and in my opinion hurts the industry. That’s why it always feels like the same old thing. I’m sorry, I went off on a little bit of a rant there.
To reiterate my statement at the top of this article; if you’ve never played a Monster Energy Supercross title, go ahead and get this. It’s every bit as good as previous versions. But if you’ve played either of the previous entries in the Monster Energy Supercross series, you’re probably best off waiting for a sale or skip this as there just isn’t enough to warrant a full price purchase.