Milestone is a studio that simply doesn’t know how to loosen their grip on the throttle. Nothing slows them down, and whether it’s an acquisition by Koch Media or their year-long transition to Unreal Engine 4 in 2017, it seems we can rely on them to put out a fistful of new racing games each and every year. They’re absolutely relentless.
2020 will doubtless see a new track racing MotoGP game, a fresh MXGP Motocross racer, and a fourth game in their homegrown Ride series, but Milestone like to start off the year with a long swig of an energy drink, as Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 3 launches on 4th February.
You might easily confuse Motocross and Supercross, but where the former takes you to outdoor courses, Supercross is all about the US of A, drawing crowds to pack muddied up sports stadiums across America. So with two games already under their belt, what can Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 3 bring to the table?
As with Supercross 2, this game is suitably comprehensive. There’s 100 riders across both 450SX and 250SX categories, there’s 15 official stadia and tracks recreated for the game, and an enhanced track editor if you fancy creating and sharing one of your own. You can head out on track with the usual mixture a mixture of single races, time trials, career and multiplayer to dive into. It might be a little late in doing so, but there’s the full 2019 Championship in the game now – I guess that’s why it’s numbered 3 and not given a year.
The two biggest changes to the overarching game come from the ability to race as a woman, creating a custom avatar to show all the men in the game how it’s done. Sadly we didn’t really get to play around with this feature in our preview build of the game, nor did we get to take them into the career mode, which now lets you join an official Supercross team.
So how does it feel to race? Well, I’ll level with you, I haven’t played Supercross 2 for making side-by-side comparisons, but Supercross 3 feels relatively easy to pick up and play, especially when compared to my most recent experiences with the MXGP series. The stadium circuits certainly help with that feeling, with a lot of straight lines leading to hairpin turns, but then that’s also where the game’s complexity comes in.
There’s a lot of importance on getting the right speed when going into a jump. Too fast and you lose time as you go too high in the air, too slow and you don’t clear the jump smoothly enough. It’s made that little bit trickier when catering for the track deformation, which can look pretty great when turned to mud as you race in the rain and you struggle to accelerate out from deep water-filled ruts. Supercross’ Air Flow system is effectively a racing line for jumping, and guides you, but unless you’re familiar with the previous games, you really won’t be that fast to start with.
The handling, rider animations, in-air physics and more have all been redone for this game, and it generally feels fluid and intuitive. Turning the handling up to the Advanced mode put some things like rider motion in my hands, and it still feels accessible, but challenges me more with how I position the bike to land, or to be a little more cautious on the throttle when turning (so that the bike doesn’t kick out). It doesn’t feel like a huge step up in difficulty, but for those that want a few more sim-like elements, they are there.
Perhaps the biggest problem that Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 3 will have is standing out. There’s a solid dirt bike racing game here, with fairly easy to learn controls and handling, and a healthy dose of the spectacle of US motorsports, but then we said that about last year’s game as well…