Monster Energy Supercross is the official Game of the AMA Supercross championship, an official FIM sanctioned World Championship season, featuring iconic racers such as Chad Reed and Ken Roczen, and both 250SX and 450SX classes. The game features bikes, parts and apparel from some of the most prestigious brands in the genre, with the likes of Yamaha, Suzuki, Fox, Pirelli, aplinestarz and many, many more making an appearance. The game’s events are set inside some of America’s most famous stadiums, on purpose built dirt tracks for each event of the season.
One of the first things you’ll do when you start up the game is excitedly go into the rider customisation, only to be left underwhelmed by the small selection of premade faces to chose from. It would be nice to see some proper customisation here, to make the character feel more personal, as opposed to some randomer with your name. You’ll chose your race number, your desired font, and most importantly, which manufacturer you wish to be associated to. You’re not locked into this mind, as you can later purchase new machines for 200,000 credits as you progress through the game. You’ll be able to upgrade your bike also, with parts from big name brands such as Pirelli, Brembo, Blisten and many more popular names in motorcycle performance all featured within the title. These performance parts do actually offer a performance bonus which is nice to see, as well as each having their own unique look.
You can also make purely visual customisations also, by changing handlebars, guards, bar pads ect, as well as custom paint options on several parts which is really nice to see. This level of customisation also carries over to your rider’s attire, with full customisation of suit, helmet, boots and even neck brace available, again featuring a multitude of brands, Fox, Alpinestars, and aria but to name a few. With such great attention paid to this aspect of the games customisation it really is sad that the rider customisation is so lacking. It would be great to have a more full and fleshed out system to really allow the player to create a rider they are happy with, as opposed to being stuck with the same generic options as everyone else.
Monster Energy Supercross has a multitude of modes for players to delve into, with a fully fledged career mode, allowing you to take part in 250SX and 450SX championships, earning experience and credits, that you can spend on upgrading your bike, and buying yourself your 15th different helmet. You’ll start out in either the east or west 250SX championship and work your way through all the events within that season. Aside from advancement into the 450SX championship, the career lacks any real progression, aside from chasing achievements. You can have a fully upgraded bike halfway through the season, which I thought wouldn’t be the case initially due to the cost of the parts, but you earn a surprising amount from each event. You can choose how you set your events, be it a short 5 minute timed race, or a fully simulated event, allowing great flexibility. You can also alter the difficulty of your opponents, and the AI are for the most part, competitive. It would be nice to see a bit more of the rough and tumble of dirt racing within the game, as while riders will crash around you, you’ll be hard pressed to push riders off their line, and everything becomes very linear. The game also features a championship mode, allowing players to partake in a championship outside of the career, single race, allowing players to run their favourite event, and time attack, giving players the chance to go one on one with the dirt, to set the fastest lap time possible.
Monster Energy Supercross also features a nice Track Editor tool, which offers a considerably impressive array of tools and options for creating your dream layout inside any of the game’s arenas. You select your parts from a multitude of options, giving you full control over the track layout.
The game offers a good sense of speed through the use of motion blur, but I can’t help but feel it’s been done more to hide the graphical crimes more than it has to create atmosphere. The game is very inconsistent graphically. The facial expression are lifeless and lack detail, the cloth physics on the riders clothing is questionable at best, and the arenas are lifeless aside from the tracks themselves.
There are some good points however, the tracks themselves look great, with wet to dry transitions looking great as well as the lighting and shadows. It’s a shame that so much blur has been applied to it. Moreover, the general presentation of the game is just a little bit low end. The menu’s and loading screens feel like they were designed by a college student who’s just discovered glow effects in Photoshop. The game shows off it’s Monster Energy brand with a sea of green and black, in every place possible. It does become a little overbearing to say the least. The presentation falls flat when compared to other motorsport titles on the market like Forza Motorsport 7 and Project Cars 2.
Monster Energy Supercross has two major faults that really dampen the experience. The optimisation, and the physics. The game’s loading times are just short of horrific, with the game oftentimes taking 3 minutes+ to load a race. for your time, you can watch a terribly inaccurate percentage bar move across the screen. In Monster Energy green, of course. It doesn’t just stop at the loading times. The game suffers from horrendous frame rate drops, with the game near freezing at the start of every race, and the first corner being a case of pray the game doesn’t seize up rather than pray you don’t get shoved off. A little more emphasis on optimisation really wouldn’t go amiss. Secondly the game’s physics. The game plays well and rides nicely, but you can’t help but feel the bikes are a little too light and get a little too much air for the speed you’re doing. It’s incredibly easy to overshoot corners, and even easier to overcorrect and snap yourself off the bike. I hate to say it but some points feel more like GTA than an actual racing title.
Monster Energy Supercross is a title with promise, that sadly comes up a little short of first place. The game looks good but is limited by increasingly irritating blur and poor facial renders. In desperate need of some improved optimisation, Monster Energy Supercross is a title that will please fans of the series, but might well struggle to find any fans outside of that.