Over the years there has been a steady release of Motocross/Supercross games but for me, none have really stood out as game changers for the genre. They have all followed pretty much the same tried and tested method of getting people into the racing action, so is Monster Energy Supercross 2 [MES] any different?
Well, on the surface of things, probably not. However, dig a little deeper and you will find that it does offer some new stuff.
Releasing on February 8th 2019, MES is Milestone’s second installment of the franchise and they are ‘aiming for the sky, both in stunts and in quality’. Where the original brought in graphical phidelity, they have fused this with a new ‘360 experience’.
The whole idea of the game is to obviously increase your fame within the career mode and win over the fans which will then help unlock bigger sponsors throughout the season. All of this will bring in the big money allowing you to upgrade your bike, clothing and also end of race celebrations when you eventually take the coveted chequered flag.
It doesn’t just stop with going out on track and winning races however. The game is broken down into the week leading up to your next race. Generally there is a few rest days, but in between those days you can choose what you want to do on those free days.
The options are pretty simple.. Training consists of taking part in some simple challenges to up your cornering speed, jumps, scrubs etc.
Challenge is where you can challenge one of your rivals within the season to a 1v1 race to the finish line on a track from the compound (more on that in a bit) or beat a time that has been set by the rival. Win these challenges and your rivalry percentage will drop against them, but completing these challenges will also help to unlock further training sessions.
Promotional Day is easy; you just stand in front of your bike for the photographers to earn more money for looking pretty.
Media Day is split into two sections; meet the fans or the press. Either one will help to bring in more fans.
The last 2 options don’t actually see you doing anything but is all important in being able to upgrade aspects within the game.
When you first start the game once again you can customise your own racer and make them unique thanks to over 3,000 customisable items (apparently) from your physical appearance to the huge list of accessories you can wear during your races. I say huge list, but that’s basically a selection of loads of helmets by different manufacturers, clothes etc but they all cost money. From the very start you can only start with the basics but the more you win races as well as sponsor objectives, the more you can buy to make your rider stand out.
The customisation menu also extends to the bike you’re riding, be that in a 250cc season or a 450cc season. Various upgrades to your exhaust or suspension will upgrade the bikes performance in speed, handling, breaking etc giving you more of an edge against the competition with more than 300 customizable parts, but it’s the same as your outfit, it’s basically all the same stuff but from different manufacturers and again costs that hard earned money.
So that’s the basics of the season explained.
One thing that has returned in MES is the Track Editor, but this time it has been enhanced with even more features. Its simple to use to create a fun track to race on. There will be an option for you to upload your track designs online and there is also a trophy to validate a total of 5 Custom Tracks, so it looks like you can race other peoples creations within the multiplayer part of the game. I couldn’t really check this out before release as there weren’t any other reviewers online that were wanting to test out this part of the game, but hopefully the servers will be able to handle any traffic it gets.
One part of this game I did love was attention to detail and Milestone have brought the realism of racing on dirt to life within the game. The surface gets heavily rutted up over time and every so often if you get caught in deep tracks left by riders constantly using the same lines your tires will get caught in them throwing you off balance and sometimes off your bike altogether. This can get annoying at first if you are not used to the idea of it, but also I found it quite hard to stay on track at first. I found myself hitting jumps and landing off-track trying to get back on as fast as possible before my rider was reset and loosing places. The track is littered with small barriers marking the edge of the track and hitting them getting back on, even at slow speed would propel my rider over the handlebars. Also, there was a few times I was reset to track halfway through a corner so I would have to steer as I was throttling up and the back wheel would spin out and again throw me off the bike. There was a few occasions where I went from first place to right at the back of the pack thanks to this. Sometimes these advanced physics that the developers use can go a little too far making the game a nightmare to enjoy.
Thankfully however, before taking to the track there is a nice tutorial which explains the basics of the game whilst riding around one of the tracks, but if you still don’t feel comfortable after that there is a huge compound which you can freely ride around. Within the compound are the tracks you will use within training sessions and challenges but at first you won’t be able to access them until you unlock them over time by completing certain challenges. That being said, there is plenty of space to get the top speed out of your bike whilst you explore as well as some massive jumps to try out along with other things in there.
The graphics within the game are really nice when and if you get the chance to actually admire them. Then there are the rain physics when you get the chance to race in an outdoor stadium whilst the heavens have opened soaking the track. This makes a difference to the bikes mechanics within the game as well. Braking takes longer than it would on a dry surface as well as the chance of your rear wheel skidding out, but it also slows the bike down on the wet mud. This means that any jumps you were hitting in the dry and flying over will be affected so you have to think ahead. Your jumps won’t be as far as they were and there is a very real chance of hitting another jumps rise head on with your front wheel sending you flying over the handlebars. This is made slightly easier with the help of the new Dynamic Flow Aid (basically a racing line). By the end of the race your rider will also be covered from head to foot in wet mud desperately needing to take a bath after hopefully holding that first place trophy aloft.
The game is great. What is there not to love about flying around a track and getting airborne as much as possible. If you are a fan of Supercross as a sport, you will be competing against some of the well known names from that world as this is an official game, so none of the lovely made up names which hold no meaning to you. I’m sure that everyone out there that is a fan would love to win against their own hero from within the sport.
There are a few issues within the game that I’m not a fan of, but thats all down to handling issues that I pointed out earlier, even at the easy game settings these issues are there ready to throw you unceremoniously off your bike and could perhaps be altered slightly within the game options in a future update. Then there is the loading screen for a race. I had a digital copy of the game which I was sent and as the track you are about to race on is loading, the background music kept sticking which started to get really annoying. I don’t know if this will also be an issue with physical releases, but we shall see. That being said, the soundtrack to the game also helps bring everything to life. Its full of energy and there are some seriously pumping titles in the mix which helps up the players energy levels. Other than these issues, as an allround game, Monster Energy Supercross 2 is fantastic to pick up and play.
8/10 is my score for this game. It improves on the games that have come and gone before this one. If you’re a Supercross fan or just looking for something to have some serious fun with then this is a game you need to try out.
**PLEASE NOTE: AIR Entertainment were supplied with a review copy of the game. This has in no way affected my review. All opinions are my own**