Scott Watson reviews Monster Energy Supercross 3…
Milestone don’t half have a lengthy history of racing games behind them, from as far back as the Screamer series (which I have fond memories of), to the likes of more recent MotoGP and MXGP series. You would think then, that the third in their Supercross series would be in reasonably safe hands.
While the game has a ton of bling, boom, and bluster, the actual mechanics of riding a motorcross bike across the dirt tracks around the US can prove incredibly frustrating at times. So often I felt myself wrestling against the controls to try and keep my bike on track, and not bail from the slightest misjudgement of a turn, a brake, or a clip against another rider.
Somewhere in here there is the core of a solidly entertaining racer here, if only the constant fight against the controls, and the absolutely merciless AI opponents, and the physics didn’t keep wearing you down.
Milestone to their credit have tried to cram in as much as they can into the game, although to be fair it is pretty standard racing game fare; a career mode where you start from a rookie up the ranks and through the seasons, single player events, time attack modes, challenges, and championships, as well as a track editor that once you get started is pretty intuitive to use and fun to create in
The game tries its best as well to educate players such as myself who haven’t touched a Supercross game before. There’s a good few tutorial races that allow you to try and find your feet before delving fully into the game, but even then I found myself feeling fairly down hearted at coming last out of 22 riders every single time I went through the tutorial, in some vain hope that I would be getting better, that some kind of muscle memory would kick in and get me into the Supercross groove, but alas, just as you think you’re getting the hang of how it handles, you’ll take a turn wrong, a jump wrong, catch another rider, and all confidence you had in your abilities is gone. It becomes an infuriating lesson in being schooled by the AI who seem to zip across the tracks with reckless abandon and very little fault.
Even beyond the training and trying to kick into career mode you feel persistently helpless in the races, and it’s been a long time since I’ve wanted to chuck my controller to the ground in disgust, but this didn’t half push me close!
Yes, it may have the 2020 roster of Supercross riders and tracks, but don’t look too closely at their dead eyes and faces. The bikes, the stadiums, the tracks, the animation may all look the part, but the core mechanics don’t seem to give room for the player to breathe and grow into the game. It’s all packaged up in a completely unforgiving game that really is one for the purists out there. If you’re a fan of the series then perhaps this is what you’re used to, but for me, I think I need a racer that’s a little bit more welcoming!
+ Bikes, rider animations, and arenas all look spectacular
+ Track editor lets the creative juices flow
+ Lots of customisation of bikes and riders
– Painfully unforgiving physics
– Painfully unforgiving AI even at the easiest level
– Never feel in full control of the bike
– Races feel overly long at times
Platform reviewed on Xbox One X