Monster Energy Supercross 2 is a fully licensed motocross experience from Italian developers Milestone. They have a whole host of bike related titles behind them including the previous Supercross entry last year. With car racers around every corner, I was looking forward to something different but will it deliver a great motocross experience for someone new to the genre.
Let’s start with what is great about this game, the fact that it is a fully licensed franchise allows it to bring big names and authenticity to the experience. You can pick from a vast array of professional riders to take to the track with. There is a great range of different dirt bike manufacturers from KTM to Kawasaki. This really adds a level of authenticity to the game when you are sitting on a Yamaha 250 after picking Eli Tomac as your rider.
Alongside the pro riders, you have the choice of famous motocross tracks from across America. Depending on whether you pick the 250 east or 250 west series you will be riding around arenas in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Houston to name a few. The designs really do give a feeling of size when you are racing around them. Your focus is always on the next jump but taking the time to look round shows some impressive spaces. You will also be able to race in the prestigious 450 class after clocking up some experience points in the 250 class.
All the tracks are in arenas with your only outside experience coming from the compound, a practice circuit where you can train and complete challenges. I feel that having access to more open world environments might have been fun but the array of tracks to compete on will keep you occupied. Another level to the authenticity is the great commentators, Ralph Sheheen & Jeff Emig, who bring great energy to the game.
While on the topic of tracks, Supercross 2 comes with a fantastic track editor. With simple menu screens and plenty of customization options to create the track of your dreams. This mode really stood out and offered plenty of replayability as you try to create that perfect dirt track. Unfortunately, my creative skills are lacking so I never really put anything that good together but being able to download other players creations to race on could be a great way to keep people coming back.
An impressive feature is the real-time deformation that effects tracks, adding another layer of challenge to your races. Finding the right line to take when coming out of a corner becomes key to maintaining speed. Dirt changes as the laps count down and add a good level of realism to the tracks. For the hardcore racers, this track deformation goes hand in hand with the ability to control front and rear brakes separately, clutch control and gear shifting, giving a more sim-like experience.
Lucky enough the majority of these extras can be automated for the players looking for that more arcade feeling like myself. As well as a good tutorial to introduce you to the game mechanics means it wasn’t hard to pick up this game and start an attempt at the championships. You can also jump into the compound to complete challenges and improve your skills gradually.
There are single events and time attacks to attempt as and when you like, offering jump in and play opportunities. Access to the compound is available from the start. Career mode lets you build your own rider and take them on a journey as you collect experience from racing, doing media days and engaging with fans. In short, you plan your week ahead of each race and each activity brings different rewards, offering a more in-depth career mode. You will also be able to jump online and challenge other riders in regular or custom games.
However, this game is not without its flaws. The move to the Unreal engine for this game has certainly produced a better standard of graphics. To start the riders look great when on their bike but as soon as their helmets come off on the podium or during press events, the faces are really poor quality and certainly let down the rest of the game. It is a small thing but if they are going to put these riders on our screens without the helmets, more work could have been done.
The physics behind the game come into question at times as well. Yes, sliding around corners can feel great and when you hit a series of jumps perfectly it is really rewarding. However, when there are large groups of riders together, you just lean on each other rather than having any real feel of interaction. Landing on other riders doesn’t cause a crash rather you gently fall off them and continue on with your race.
It also felt like every other action caused a loading screen. From seeing your rider enter an arena to getting to the starting blocked brought with it 3 loading screens. They are not long wait times but they all add up and just felt like they were getting in the way of just playing the game.
Once you get your rider on a bike and the start gate drops, this game is great. Watching the mud build up on your rider as the track changes in front of you felt amazing. I would just race round the compound till I was covered from helmet to boot in mud! However, in between the races are where the little cracks start to appear. Too many loading screens slow down your progress, riders need a bit more work when off their bike and some improved contact physics would certainly improve the overall experience. All in all, I liked the game and as motorbike racers go, this one is certainly worth a go.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*