Don’t let the bright lights, loud music or big explosions fool you, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 leans more towards a riding sim than the arcade style fun fest that it appears to be.
There’s plenty to love in here for fans of Supercross, and you can sense that there’s a lot more streamlining of the game since the last release, with a healthy dose of the MXGP series for good measure. Yes, the official title of this game is a bit of a mouthful, but Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 has enough fuel and fun where it counts to be an enjoyable experience.
At first glance it feels like you can just pick it up, choke out the throttle and hit the track, but the subtleties of feathering the gas and brakes, and preloading your jumps, are only the beginning of what it’s going to take to control your chosen beast of a bike. Even the 250 class will feel out of control when you try it for the first time. The sheer number of things you’ll have to manage to keep the rubber side down is mind boggling. Luckily the handy rewind feature is back, so you can replay those little moments where you’ve bumped bars with another rider and gone flying into the advertising boards.
There is an incredibly steep learning curve here, which is not made any easier by the less than intuitive controller layout. You’ll be kept busy using the entire controller just to keep yourself on the track. That’s not to mention the added confusion of 21 other riders on the track and trying to maintain a good jump rhythm. Mistime a series of jumps, or hit a turn too sharply, and the AI will be all over you like a bogan on a free t-shirt.
Each race isn’t so much a timed event as it is a hectic, muddy rollercoaster of mayhem, ready to roll right over the top of you. There are many times where you’ll feel more like a passenger than a rider in control of your own fate.
The game really does nail the look and feel like one of the real-world events. From the fireworks and music, right down to the faithful recreations of the stadiums, you can almost smell the octane through your screen. You’ll hear the crowd react to spills (mostly yours) which adds to the sense of occasion. It’s an immersive experience that really has captured the chaos and allows you to experience it from your injury-free couch zone.
You’ll also be able to enjoy the super fun “Compound” area, where you can get your whips on and explore a free roaming space. It’s made up of a collection of small tracks that you can try out in timed events, or you can just ride and jump to your heart’s content. Although they’ve inexplicably managed to put in some construction equipment in the middle of this paradise of dirt for you to run into. While it’s all within the context of the environment, it seems like an odd choice to include what amounts to scenery in the middle of your playground.
On the downside, you’ll still experience a lot of inconsistencies when it comes to out-of-bounds resets and interaction with track markers or other riders. Sometimes you’ll be expecting contact and just glide right through an object, and other times you’ll end up underneath your bike, which we’re told is not a technique favoured by professional riders. They’re all subtle little interactions that can take you out of the otherwise immersive experience. It should be noted that the rider physics are much better than they were in Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3, although there’s still room for improvement.
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is a mature progression for developer Milestone s.r.l. They’ve learned from their experiences last year, removed some of the elements that weren’t working, streamlined the career mode, lessened the load times, and the game is much better for it. While this is more of an improvement by omission than it is a serious step forward in the development of the series, it’s good to see the focus shift back to where it’s needed the most, on the track.
If you’re looking for an experience that puts you right in the boots of the fastest dirt riders on the planet, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is the game for you.
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.