Monster Energy Supercross : The Official Videogame 3
Starting out, and fair warning, let's state the obvious here and say that Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 will be referred to as Supercross 3. I respect my keyboard too much. On to the review.
As you might expect from a Monster Supercross game, you're racing as powerful Supercross bikes over mud-soaked tracks. I'll try to keep it fair, as last year's Motocross game on Switch brought some bad memories.
So, the last game in the series that I played was on the Switch late last year and well let's be kind and just say it was a total unplayable mess of a game. But, here we have the 3rd iteration of the series and one that you would hope the developer Milestone would start to get a hang of by this point in time? Keep reading to find out.
With trepidation, I put the PS4 download code in, download it, and pray.
My main problem with the series to date, and the simple fault, is that it's very fast and twitchy like the old Supercross games from years gone, but here the developers have really pushed away from the arcade handling that was prevalent back in the early 2000s. Milestone has made the bikes super twitchy but also added a realistic handling model, so to get around tight corners not only do you have to get the brakes on point but you have to also make sure your rider is positioned correctly on the bike and this also counts in the jumps and landings.
The good news is that Milestone has improved the feeling from the physics system and now if you crash or miss the apex of that corner it really feels more your fault and not because the game didn't do as you wanted. Milestone must be commended here as this has improved the game as a whole and, without getting ahead of ourselves, has made this to be the best in the Supercross games under the eye of Milestone. In other words, Milestone hit their Milestone. Let's hope they can top it NEXT year.
That previously mentioned much-improved physics system helps make the core racing gameplay so much more robust than it has ever been in a supercross game. A minor quibble for me is that you are moving at speed with aggressive riders all around you and everything feels and looks great .Then, you crash and I'm not sure what's happened here but it just seems to lack the brutality that you'd expect in visual design and audio it just simply lacks impact.
Here moving on with some game modes and again Milestone has again added to the series and we can find racing events, online multiplayer, a vastly upgraded track creator. Customizable male and female riders and the campaign mode. This makes the game feasible for players of every type. Solo players get a campaign and a way to play with their friends. Competitive gets online MP, and share tracks with friends.
Unfortunately, the campaign mode is basic and will need a complete rethink in this humble reviewer's opinion. What we have are races that take place in the official 2019 AMA Monster Energy Supercross season and this just means you race across a range of different tracks within different stadiums, with a basic XP system that you can use to unlock new outfits and so on. But it's just a series of linked races so in this area much more like the early PS3-Xbox 360 style racing games. It could have been a little more fun to have more of a narrative linking races together and some rival racers along the way. There have been plenty of race games with a career mode and story implemented into it.
But for me, one of the most important upgrades to the game is the frame rate is much more stable and this is technically very impressive with all the riders on screen at the same time. The graphics again have improved with great detail, the track deformation needs special mention. The animation has been improved upon with little details added to make the rider both look and feel realistic. I have to say the particle effects throughout the game look simply amazing, the pyro lighting and super slow motion as you cross the finish always look spectacular.
Well in the end, what we have is a fairly poor by the numbers campaign mode, but everything else in this game has not just been improved upon but vastly improved upon. We have the core experience of sliding around a muddy track feeling and looking great. We honestly can't wait to see where Milestone takes the series next as the basics of the feel and handling is complete so I hope next they can spend some real time and effort on the campaign, maybe even add a robust campaign mode.