This past weekend Square Enix flew me out to Las Vegas to cover their newest announcement. I had the chance to take the recently announced Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame for a spin. As someone with a lack of experience in motocross sports, I actually had a lot of fun with the game, largely thanks to the satisfying physics and primarily gorgeous visuals.
Monster Energy Supercross is similar to MotoGP in that it’s based more in reality than in any universe where cyclists can shoot missiles or bombs. That’s not to say that the game is 100% realistic (as you can rewind time and crash in a spectacular fashion without dying), but the physics and setting that Monster Energy Supercross prides itself on are quite accurate to real-world racing, with a bit of leeway to keep the game fun for players who aren’t interested in the simulator side of Supercross. The full game will also have a “realistic” physics mode that will parallel real-world physics to a T, perfect for the most hardcore of Supercross fans. This is made possible partially because of the switch to Unreal Engine 4, which will be the standard for all Milestone’s newest games.
The build I played had 22 playable riders (all based on real stars of the profession), and two available courses. Different weather conditions were also available, meaning you could race on a sunny day or during a heavy thunderstorm. These conditions will affect both gameplay (rain makes the track more slippery), and the camera, particularly in first-person mode where rain drops accumulate on your helmet’s visor. As the build I played is still in development, environmental effects and some of the flashier set-pieces (fireworks and pyrotechnics) were rough. The racers’ faces were a bit off as well, but I was assured that these blemishes will look quite a bit better as development goes on. The racers’ real faces were actually scanned in, so I’m looking forward to seeing how they turn out.
“Minor things like the way the rider’s jacket flickered in the wind really sold me on the attention to detail Milestone has […]”
Everything else in the build looked spectacular. The level I primarily raced in, Vegas, looked rather realistic. The rainy weather really sold me on the stadium in particular, as the mud and harsh sky looked fantastic while you drive. The character model looks fantastic in-game as well (with his helmet on), as the details on his uniform were practically lifted from real racing suits. Minor things like the way the rider’s jacket flickered in the wind really sold me on the attention to detail Milestone has, which made me pretty confident the finished game’s visuals.
Monster Energy Supercross plays smoothly, as driving is easy to pick up and difficult to master. I found the driving to feel tight and easy to control. You can actually lean using the right analog stick, so I found myself leaning in different directions on jumps and turns to see how I could best cut time from each lap. Scrubbing, the trick seen below, can be done by tilting both sticks away from each other, and can make turning upon landing easier, so long as you can pull it off without crashing. If you do crash, you can rewind time quite a bit in order to set yourself on a better path. Rewinding seems kind of overpowered currently, as it seems you can rewind for 10+ seconds. It’s a good feature to have, but I hope it’s toned down a bit.
“If you can’t become a racer in real life, Supercross makes it easy to live vicariously through your avatar.”
The full game will have a customizable track editor so players can make their own courses, and upload them online. There will also be some form of community spotlight as time goes on to highlight the best community levels. The career mode will be another highlight of Supercross, as it will let players make their own racer to face off against real legends of the sport. Winning races gets you fame thanks to the attention of real sponsors (such as Monster, naturally), making the quest for sponsorship feel more realistic. If you can’t become a racer in real life, Supercross makes it easy to live vicariously through your avatar.
Overall, I had quite a lot of fun with Monster Energy Supercross. As someone who doesn’t particularly care for motorsports, I had a lot of fun speeding around the course. Edging out opponents is really satisfying, and knocking opponents down is a joy. Milestone seems to have a real passion for racing, so if you love motorsports, I’d say keep an eye on Monster Energy Supercross.