Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 5 Review

Whilst we may be on the 5th entry in the series now, I’ve started questioning for a few years now why we need yearly releases for a series that has very little in the way of change, both with each previous release and with the real-life championship itself. That’s not to say I don’t like a new bike racer to sink my teeth into, but for many, trying to justify a triple-A cost on something that differs only slightly from the year before can be a bit too much to ask. With that in mind, let’s get into my thoughts on Monster Energy Supercross 5 and if there is enough of a new game to recommend you splash some cash.

Chances are if you’re contemplating jumping in with this entry, you know already what these games are all about. On the odd chance you don’t, the idea is that you will be creating a rider, enter into Career Mode and put in performances to earn a contract, push to meet those contractual objectives and ultimately win the championship you are competing in, be it the 250 East, 250 West or 450 SX competitions.

Should you not want to dive in straight away with a full-blown Career Mode effort, there are other options available to choose from such as Single Event, Championship, Time Attack and Free-Roaming, which allows players to explore the compound training area, or any of the games many official tracks for as long as desired.

Complete beginners are also catered to in this year’s edition with the Futures Academy offering various lessons on the basics such as how to control whoops and long jumps, as well as the more advanced skills and tricks like scrubs and whips as well as jump flow amongst others.

If competition is what you are after however, then it’s Career Mode that will offer the meat and gravy of the Supercross experience, whilst Multiplayer is also an option for those who want to race against something other than A.I. opponents.

The final option available doesn’t focus so much on the racing, but rather where you are racing with a full-blown Track Editor that allows players to create any track they can think of before sharing it with others online. This is a returning feature of course, but as someone who spent countless hours on previous titles checking out the Most Downloaded section, this is definitely a welcome return for those looking for something refreshing once you’ve exhausted all the currently available tracks within the game.

Back to the Career mode though and as mentioned already, this is where most of the gameplay will take place. Once you’ve created your rider, the core objective is to push through the 3 main chapters starting with the Futures Chapter, progressing onto the Rookie Chapter and finishing off with the Pro Chapter. Each chapter is longer than the one before it and each one contains new features. The Futures Chapter gets players used to the core racing experience with 3 race events allowing players to earn a contract and very little beyond that. Rookie introduces workout sessions, extra events and training besides the additional races on offer.

Workout sessions are used for recovering from injuries sustained in races and for me were a personal bugbear through my time with the game. Each workout session comprises 3 objectives set within the compound map area, one is to collect all the letters of the word SHAPE from around the map, another is to earn a set amount of prestige score through landing different tricks and jumps and the third is to perform a set number of specific tricks, such as 3 scrubs, 1 backflip etc. This was a bugbear for me due to just how little time you are given to do it, with 3 minutes given to do everything, and should you have any collisions you’ll soon find your time being pushed to the limits. In my current 20 or 30 attempts I’ve only twice managed to actually get all 3 tasks done in the time limit, one of which had a minute to spare, the other with mere seconds, whilst every other attempt has seen just 2 tasks completed, and whilst this is often enough to heal whatever injury you have (which itself doesn’t make sense as surely rest is what fixes such an injury), it would have been nicer to have had even an extra 20 seconds to confidently be able to do each task, especially when restarting isn’t an option.

As for the extra events, these can comprise of races, or trick events and these are ways to earn additional credits besides your main career events. None of these is particularly difficult and if anything they seem to serve as a little extra padding to help flesh out the career a little more.

Training events are an interesting aspect of the Career Mode and these are essentially mini-games with set goals to achieve in each. There are 5 training sections to complete throughout, with each containing 10 levels, and three stars attainable for each level. Some of these are noticeably harder than others with one asking players to simply overtake opponents to earn points before the time is up, whilst another asks players to follow an exact flow over jumps, maintaining the correct speed and trajectory throughout which is substantially more challenging. Each of these training events requires will ask the similar tasks throughout each of the 10 levels with a slightly harder challenge being offered for every level.

Progress a little further onto the Pro Chapter of Career mode and you’ll be introduced to Rivalries with other riders, but simply beat the set rival, fall off fewer times and maybe nab the Holeshot in a race and you will be guaranteed to beat them every time. Even without paying much attention, this was something I was able to do consistently even on the harder difficulty of Realistic.

The other key focuses beyond pushing for race win each time of course is the Skill Tree and the Journal. The Skill Tree is pretty self-explanatory for anyone who has played a game before and by spending points that are earned throughout career mode you can earn skills to improve things such as cornering ability, bike control, braking, scrubs and physical resistance. It’ll take a while should you want to max out the tree but it’s a welcome challenge.

As for the Journal, this appears to be simply another way of fleshing out was is actually a rather basic and short Career Mode offering with multiple challenges to complete and 4 different levels for each. These challenges include things such as completing a set number of successful scrubs, jumps, seconds in the air, perfect starts, races completed laps without falls and many, many more. It’s more of a tickbox challenge list than anything engaging but it at least offers something to refer to for a little challenge once you’ve won each of the championships available in the Career.

Onto the gameplay itself and when compared to each of the last few releases, Monster Energy Supercross 5 doesn’t offer all that much in terms of difference. There are 2-Stroke bikes included this time around but the direct gameplay itself hasn’t really changed at all. You’ll still need to race around the beloved SX tracks that we all know and love and will need to utilise knowledge of the tracks to know where to push the speed as well as how to manage your weight balance and control should you wish to be consistently successful, but the racing itself is the same as ever.

That’s not to say it’s bad, and my time with the game was very much enjoyed, but whilst things did feel slightly grittier sometimes when landing a jump and a little more sensitive on the controls, the core experience has remained mostly the same as with Monster Energy Supercross 4.

There was one minor niggle I had which came from the at times questionable collision system, and this was thanks to some collisions that would quite clearly take either myself or an opponent off their bikes normally instead resulting in the rider flapping around like a fish out of water along with their bike before somehow managing to stay on and continue as if nothing has happened. This isn’t a major flaw however it can be annoying when you find yourself face planting the floor whilst another rider rides off at all sorts of angles before taking an extended lead over your position.

Next up is the visuals and it has to be said that whilst none of the games in the series has looked disappointing, Monster Energy Supercross 5 does look magnificent. As someone who plays from a first-person head cam perspective, there were very few times in which the game didn’t feel engaging. From the wash of colours, as you enter into a jump with other bikes, to the dirt flicking from the wheels of the bikes and even the glossy shine from the rider’s helmets, this is a game that certainly looks the part in its efforts to recreate the real thing.

The sound is another area in which this series has performed well and as you’d expect, things haven’t got any worse on this occasion either with every bike sounding fantastic as your tear through the tracks and over jumps, and with headphones on the start of a race really does bring a hell of a roar to the game as the race gates drop and the engines kick into gear.

Conclusion

Overall and if you’ve played any previous game in the series, then you know what you’re getting into. Sadly Monster Energy Supercross 5 doesn’t offer enough that I’d recommend dropping launch price cash on, however it’s well worth checking out when a sale drops. For newcomers, it’s hard to recommend starting here when other titles are available cheaper frequently, however, if you want something that looks fantastic on your Series S or X, then this is definitely a beautiful way to enjoy Supercross.

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This game was reviewed based on Xbox S|X review code, using an Xbox S|X console. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.

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Good
  • Fantastic visuals really capture the grittiness of Supercross
  • Futures Academy helps teach the less obvious aspects to the sport
  • Skill Tree with noticeable effects
  • The sound of the bikes as the gate drops
Bad
  • Collision system is questionable at times
  • Journal feels like padding to an otherwise lacklustre Career mode
  • Workout sessions are a bit of a flop
7.9
Good
Gameplay - 7.5
Graphics - 9
Audio - 7
Longevity - 8
Written by
After many years of dabbling and failing in Dark Souls and many other equally brutal gaming adventures, I can now be found in a state of relaxation, merely hunting for a little extra gamerscore or frightening myself with the latest Resident Evil - Sometimes I write about it too!

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