Monster Energy Supercross 3 – Review
I’m going to take a step back from reviewing Monster Energy Supercross 3 on the PS4, and let my 3-year-old give her thoughts on the latest game in the series from Milestone.
“The obstacle course looks beautiful!”
Insert “track” for “obstacle course” and you can see where she’s coming from. The game is a looker, as each of its predecessors has been. The tracks look great from the beginning, whether you’re indoors or outdoors, under the lights or in the daytime. The sheen when it’s rainy also looks stellar.
The tracks’ different surfaces stand out, from sand pits to darker or lighter dirt. The riders and bikes look good, and the presentation package around the races is top-notch. When the announcer talks about your rider as a favorite, while fireworks blast off, it’s easy to get invested in the game.
“Why you jump so much?”
Hey. She’s 3. She is actually quite verbose, but doesn’t always use all of the words. But this takes me to gameplay.
Within the world of Supercross, there’s nothing quite like the feeling of really nailing a series of jumps. Racing is all about momentum, and while high jumps look cool, the quickest way around the track is with two wheels on the ground. I’d classify myself as being less-than-great at the Monster Energy Supercross games, but I still love the feeling of really nailing a lap.
But when you get caught in some particularly gnarly bumps, it can feel like you’re just crawling along. Often, I’ll get off to a great start in a race, only for the computer to come roaring back late in the race as my rider catches all the jumps, and the computer starts hitting everything just right.
Now — I get that this is user error. Racing games take practice to perfect the right lines. Supercross also lets you tune your bike in various ways. What it’s missing, however, is a “noob” tuning model. For what is essentially an arcade racing game, there just isn’t enough direction when it comes to tuning your bike.
The handling model does feel improved from past entries, but there are still plenty of goofy crashes some floatiness. Also: Don’t run into the blocks on the side of the track. Sometimes, you’ll roll right through them. Other times? It’s like running into a brick wall, and you’ll send your rider flying. (Side thought: adding driver injuries to the career mode could make things more interesting.)
“Why does is sound like bees?”
The engine sounds are… not fun to listen to.
“What about the modes?” (No, the 3-year-old doesn’t care about the modes. I made that one up.)
Aside from exhibition races, Monster Energy Supercross 3 has a few main ways that most gamers interact with the game: Career; online; and track creator. I’ll talk about them in reverse order.
The track creator is still cool, and it essentially means that you have an endless array of track layouts to try. I’m no good at creating things, but the system is pretty intuitive. Track curation is a little rough, as it can be hard to find great tracks — are they played the most because they’re good, or because they’re listed first? Also, despite a variety of layouts, there are ultimately only a handful of environments that you can race in. Everything starts feeling a little same-y.
Online racing is fine. Things ran well enough, but, well… I’m not the greatest at the game, and there doesn’t seem to be skill-based matchmaking.
The career mode is fine, if uninspiring. While progressing through different modes gets you more customization options, there doesn’t seem to be much point to career mode aside from just racing. There is not driver or bike progression — the bike you have is the bike you have. Other racing games, like NASCAR Heat or the F1 series, have some sort of progression baked into the system.
Thankfully, the on-track racing is fun and at times frenetic. Pulling off a pass into the final corner is exhilarating, and the variety in tracks keeps things fresh. There’s also the ability to create custom seasons with created tracks. But beyond the racing, there’s no real incentive to play the career mode over anything else.
Monster Energy Supercross 3 is another solid entry in the series. But if you’ve played the earlier games, you’ve basically played this one. There are a few improvements and additions — such as the expanded compound — but there just isn’t enough here to recommend buying if you’ve already got the earlier entries. But if you enjoy dirt bike racing, and you haven’t played the series yet, this is as good of a game as any to start with.