It’s no secret that year-round licensed racing games sometimes struggle to innovate, and Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Video Game 4 is no exception. It’s certainly true that Supercross 4 looks the best in the series at 60fps on PS5 and Xbox Series X│S, and it’s also true that developer Milestone has brought in more riders, more official teams. and more articles than ever before.
However, its attempt to inject more nuance into the career mode fails to reinvent the experience in any meaningful way, and the overall result honestly seems like a bit of an inessential upgrade from the 2020 Supercross 3.
Between Supercross, MXGP, Ride and MotoGP, there is no doubt about Milestone’s enthusiasm for motorcycle games. With that in mind, Supercross 4 is, perhaps unsurprisingly, a sincere and successful attempt to distill niche motorsport into a racing game aimed at Supercross followers. The bikes are lavishly detailed, the atmosphere on the track is great, and the feeling of speed and danger as 22 riders jostle around the stadium’s narrow courses is great.
However, that was also true for Supercross 3, and even Supercross 2 – and even the original. It is difficult to argue that Supercross 4 does enough new things to really surpass its predecessors afterwards.
Gently master them
Supercross 4’s main new addition is a juicier single-player career mode, which includes a skill tree to improve your driver’s stats, dedicated training modules, a log that tracks various racing achievements, and other cumulative data. , and a path that now begins in Supercross Futures – the real-world power system put in place in 2018 for aspiring Supercross superstars and people with the confidence to wear leather pants with the word ‘Impeccable’. on their stockings.
While this all sounds good on paper, it’s still pretty basic compared to the deeper career modes found in games like F1 or the WRC, and its in-game application is a bit patchy. In real life, for example, Futures are amateur class races conducted on tame courses compared to those sculpted for the pros. The Supercross 4 Futures races, however, do not ultimately seem separate from the main categories as they use the same courses and are presented in the same way. Without its own atmosphere, it doesn’t really seem like a unique starting point for your Supercross 4 career.
The RPG-style skill tree seems like a pretty standard inclusion for a surface sports game, and it works, as I really felt the results of improving my pilot’s stats. Unfortunately, for that to happen, Supercross 4 feels like it arbitrarily numbs the handling of the bike to be slower at first, which I found quite unappealing as a returning player. It seems artificial to replace a player’s actual skill with controls just because they haven’t earned enough points yet to tick a box.
Between the optional training mods and points gleaned from the race and the totals filled in my driver’s log, luckily it only took less than a full season to improve these stats to the point where handling felt. again tied with Supercross 3. It’s despite the game’s best efforts to derail me, as there are definitely some gremlins in the practice modes. The “missing” doors passing straight through them and inconsistent failure states for leaving the track limits proved to be quite annoying, but losing one of my limited weekly attempts because the AI crashed even before giving me control was extremely ugly.
Sunday, muddy Sunday
However, perhaps one of the strangest issues with Supercross 4 is how impenetrable I predict it can be for new players and some young players. Yes, the difficulty curve of the Supercross series has always been significant and, yes, the tracks are still unforgiving for the unprepared, and success requires carefully learning each track to maintain the momentum on the rhythm sections above all else. However, between Supercross 4’s extremely shallow tutorial and reducing rollbacks from an unlimited resource to a very finite resource, Supercross 4 has become an even more hostile place for less experienced players. The fact that there are five distinct AI difficulty levels that all seem to be able to rip lap times within a second or two of each other also leaves me skeptical as to whether newbies will be able to transform. Supercross 4 into an experience they can evolve. with their own skills. F1 2020 is a good example of a game that has made great strides in opening up an intimidating simulation for beginners while retaining its complexity, but Supercross 4 goes in the opposite direction – and narrowing down the target audience seems particularly odd given that Supercross belongs to the same company. which runs Monster Jam and Disney On Ice.
It’s a shame because in the end Supercross 4 is always good to play. The physics of the air control are still a bit wobbly if you wave the wrong inputs, but the weight feel is still very good. Plus, Supercross 4 makes it easy to graze the Tuff Blox at the edge of the track a death sentence and the dynamics of the deep, thick sand are very well done this time around.