Makes you super cross?
Bike racing isn’t on my personal sports radar all that much (I prefer 4 wheels, thanks for asking), but I guess it must be popular, with Ride 2, Moto GP, MXGP, Superbike and various Road-rash style games all being released in the last 12 months. Can “Monster Energy Supercross” make a splash in a crowded genre?
Fans expecting anything other than one of Milestone’s half-assed career modes won’t leave disappointed here. You get to create a rider from one of 10 PS2-era faces, before you thankfully cover it with a helmet for all but some podium cut-scenes and menus. From here, you can buy new gear for your rider, tweak settings, bikes and sponsors, but it all feels disconnected from reality. There’s a bad fake social news feed which is easy to ignore, but nothing about the career mode feels like a rag-to-riches tale.
Supercross throws you straight in at the deep-end with a sort-of tutorial race before you even hit the main menu. Unfortunately, the game just superimposes the controls on the screen, without highlighting any of them, pausing to introduce new controls or techniques, and then doesn’t care where you finish or how you perform. Nor does the game then suggest a difficulty based on how you did. It all feels very tacked-on, as do the in-game tutorials, which don’t actually let you play (a real pet peeve of mine).
The actual controls and gameplay are taken straight from the MXGP games, which I can’t really tell the difference from Supercross, other than the fact that the latter appears to take place at night and in a stadium. It all feels a bit familiar. Thankfully, for those that like a generous game, there’s two classes of bike, 3 championship types, and an awful lot of tracks to race around. You can also fiddle with the settings to your heart’s content, and the result will make your experience more authentic, with the bonus of more credits to unlock more sponsors and outfits for your rider. There’s plenty to do, but with dull AI and no new features over other dirt bike games, it all feels a bit ‘me too.’
The main area for praise is the track creator (introduced with a decent video tutorial), which, taking inspiration from Excitebike games of the past, allows you to make your own stadium tracks. It’s simple enough to use, but the best feature is the fact you can share your tracks and have others download them for use, which will certainly extend the game’s lifespan and add variety, especially as there are 8 pre-set stadia to fill with your creations of varying sizes and shapes.
Milestone offers races for up to 12 online, but the matchmaking and options are pretty basic, and like all of these games, good luck finding a full lobby unless you somehow have 11 other friends (all with a copy of the game) who want to play.
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