Monster Energy Supercross 4 is, as you’d expect, the fourth instalment in the Supercross series developed and published by Milestone SRL.
You ride bikes. In stadiums. In races against other people with motorbikes. If you’re looking for the next complex narrative story in a game and you came to Monster Energy Supercross to scratch that itch, you probably shouldn’t be allowed to vote.
There is a single player career mode available to you but it doesn’t really do much aside from providing some structure to your races and a feel for progression, that’s about it.
Okay, full disclosure for the sake of an accurate review. I’m pretty okay at racing games, I’ve played my fair share of need for speed even though racing isn’t my favourite genre, and I have a lot of fun getting used to the feel of the cars and beating each race. I couldn’t win a single race in the time I spent with Monster Energy Supercross 4. In fact, I came laughably last, every single time.
Thing is, I’m fairly certain I was the problem. Controls are responsive, when I turned a corner successfully it was satisfying and fluid, there was clearly a lot of work put into the different mechanics and the physics engine isn’t bad at all.
So why was I so terrible? I put it down to the complexity of the racing. Not only do you have to contend with numerous tight corners and constant ramps, but you’re taught in the games tutorial that you have to shift your bodyweight by moving joysticks in certain directions to tackle different ramps/corners, as well ensuring you land in just the right way to take a corner as you hit the ground, without outright wiping out. This is on top of all the other thinking you’d do in an average racing game.
It felt very finnicky to me to get the hang of these systems, but also on top of this were a lot of customizable tweaks and settings to fine tune your bikes behaviour. I was frankly terrified of going near it, even though it probably wouldn’t have helped/hindered me as much as I worried about.
It’s always extremely difficult to judge a game you’re objectively bad at. This is the first game I’ve played in a while that made me think ‘Okay, I can’t tell if the game is the problem or me’. That’s a major hurdle towards a fair assessment, almost rendering my opinion pointless.
I will say however, that after several attempts at the first level the casual player should at least be able to finish in the top ten of a twenty-two player race, regardless of what that racing game is. I’ll admit I was garbage, but even garbage should feel emboldened and determined to try again after their first few failed attempts, not made to feel like they missed an entire tutorial section and will trail behind horribly if they go off course even once, which is incredibly easy in this game.
The graphics are surprisingly good, with one key exception. The face modelling on your character creation is horrifying. The face structures are okay, alone. The eyes are probably okay, alone. But together you’re character resembles a soul devouring lich wearing its victims skin. Luckily you only see it once or twice throughout the whole game, the helmets being a godsend during actual gameplay.
The bikes are clearly made with a good attention to detail, which is honestly the expected visual selling point you want in this game. The stadiums aren’t necessarily overflowing with detail but all the key information is conveyed easily with the layout of the tracks, and overall there is a nice aesthetic once you look past the soul haunting character models.
The soundtrack is really nothing special. Monster Energy Supercross 4 features a lot of motorbike noises and a few extra sounds with the racing. The background menu music is just some obnoxious techno music that by itself would be horrible, but in the context of the game fits nicely with everything else. Simple, effective, but nothing you’d want to find the name of the song for.
It’s tough to give what I feel is a fair roundup of the game. The core element is beating other people in races, which I couldn’t do. Is it the games fault for including lots of mechanics to be mindful of, or more likely, am I just not the person to be playing this game? I think the fairest thing to say about Monster Energy Supercross 4 would be if you were a fan of previous Supercross games and got a lot of fun out of them, it would probably be worth your time to check this out. If however you’re brand new to the series like I was, I’d give this one a miss.
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