When I was asked to review a game involving motorbikes my first reaction was that of a 10 year old being asked if he wants broccoli with his chicken nugget happy meal. ‘Erruugghhh!’ But then I thought… I used to love a good bash at MotoGP, every time at the ol’ arcade we have to have a pop on the tandem bike games, then back in the day I remember wasting so much time on Road Rash, and Trials Fusion remains one of the best Indie titles I’ve ever played… so bring it on Monster! Let’s see what you got.
So to begin. We got this to review on the Xbox One and it’s been a while since I had a console game to get my teeth into, safe to say I was feeling ready to rock! Game loads up, I expected some heavy rock riffs to accompany me into the menus but I was wrong…it all feels a bit quiet. No adrenaline pumping tunes to rile me up. Just a silent lengthy loading screen which is apparent before all races.
No need to waste time with the tutorials – all text and imagery anyway – because best way to learn is to get stuck in, the game awaits. First thing I noticed as I turn the first few bends – I love physics – getting a bump literally sent me flying which is so refreshing as the main reason I don’t play many motorsport games now is because the arcade racer is dominant. Not here however, although not difficult to play I can see the elitist in me striving to land every single turn and curve with perfection. This is going to devour me, I can see that the skill required will be a worthy lofty goal.
Time attack mode is a good place to start as it’s only you on the course, no other participants to compete with. Great way to get used to the bike physics. As with other current gen racing games there are a few features to tweak, assisted physics for example, the option to have independent brake buttons or for them to be together, as well as adjusting suspension and gear ratios before races.
‘Milestone’ (dev), has done some great work here. Using the Unreal Engine 4 for the first time to stunning effect. Just watching the mud get kicked up behind my tires made the hairs on my arms raise.
Very pleasing was the feeling of speed, motion blur is usually a feature I disable because it’s rarely done right, Milestone have pulled it off with aplomb. The frame rate can stutter now and then but it’s acceptable. Superb texture detail on the track and bikes themselves and realistic body movement from the riders.
We have a shallow career mode of 17 tracks and it carries a few cutscenes which I could do without, they would feel more at home on an Xbox 360, I can confidently say the same about the stadium crowd – they appear as they did in FIFA games near a decade old.
But this can be forgiven, easily forgiven. Because what Milestone have done is focus on the gameplay greatly. The feeling and visuals on the track is exceptional, small details carry the most weight such as the dirt/mud having a life of its own. The race becoming increasingly more dangerous as it goes on, the tire tracks deepening over time, avoiding wrecks and maintaining smooth aerial control by leaning the thumbsticks to manoeuvre the rider.
All the riders are true to life sportsmen and the stadiums/tracks are also official of the sport but the lack of a commentator during the race has left a large open gap in the life of the experience and is the only thing the game truly falls short on.
Multiplayer mode lands you with up-to a 12 man race with optional AI filling the spots if you choose and the ability to turn off collision… so no need to worry about your mate who’s trolled far too much in GTA online, his antics won’t work here.
Ladies, gentlemen… forget life for a while – because we have a track editor, and a robust one at that and this is 100% the reason I fell in love with Trials Fusion. You get full control, no silly slapping a preset jump to a grid. You can create something as crazy hard or as simple as you like.
On the whole, Monster Energy Supercross is a rather pleasing affair. Sort of the underdog you didn’t see coming, sneaks up on you… steals your jam sandwich and turns it into a steak burger. Easy to play but difficult to master with its deceptively long skill curve. Visually pleasing and runs well even though the off track textures feel graphically dated and having no over-hyped announcer/commentator hits you harder than you’d expect it too. As it stands, this niche market is all the better for this release and with planned dlc in the pipeline it can only get better.
OVERALL: 8.1/10 – GREAT
Reviewed by Michael Jones.
(Disclaimer: CONQUEST received a review copy of Monster Energy Supercross, however this does not in any way affect the scoring of a game or our thoughts on the game itself. We believe in total honesty and being transparent with you.)