Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomas Barry 05.02.2019

Review for Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame  on PlayStation 4

Milestone, if nothing else, have proven themselves to be very versatile racing developers. They take care of an impressive stack of officially licenced annual series, such as MotoGP and MXGP. In the past, they've also had success with one-off endorsed titles, such as Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo. In addition, they have their own franchises and IPs, such as Ride and Gravel, which they persisted with last year, despite also having the unenviable task of moving all their licenced series onto the Unreal Engine 4, still managing to release five racers in 2018. One could certainly argue that spacing some of these releases out might have resulted in a higher quality level across the board. Milestone generally produce a great quantity of racers with ample content, but the incremental progress within each series, generally moves at a snail's pace. Have Milestone finally bucked that trend with this Supercross follow-up?

It's tough to say. The debut Monster Energy Supercross title, which released last year, was one of the first Milestone projects to be built from the ground up with Unreal Engine 4. In this sense, the first instalment was an educational experience for the team, which prepared them for the task of moving established series like MotoGP over to the new engine. However, since this series already runs on the most modern engine, players won't see the same type of drastic fundamental improvements as was evident in other new Milestone titles. Instead, the improvements to Monster Energy Supercross 2 are subtle, but they do enhance the experience over last year's offering, making it a tempting for Supercross fans to return for a second helping.

Screenshot for Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame  on PlayStation 4

From a visual standpoint, Monster Energy Supercross 2 can be quite a spectacle. There aren't any major additions in this domain, compared to last year, but it remains a big strength of the experience. Both the inside arenas and the returning out-door free-roam Compound, look fantastic. Mud sprays from the evolving track incessantly, pyrotechnics and camera-flash intensify those big-air moments and the Unreal Engine 4 brings with it fantastic colour-definition, which enriches the sense of graphical fidelity and enhances the lighting. The presentation is on point in this regard. One neat touch that adds to the sense of polish, as well, is interactive celebrations. These allow players to end their race with slow-motion camera poses. On a more practical level, the menus are cleaner and sharper, meaning no more headaches.

The career modes in Milestone racers are usually quite generous in terms of content. However, they often fail to bring things together in a coherent way. The career mode in Monster Energy Supercross 2 is slightly more focused, thankfully, due to three elements. The first is Fame, which is built up across seasons. The more Fame a player acquires, the better the chances of lucrative sponsors and networking opportunities. Rivalry, indicates and intensifies the action between the player and the AI competition, which means seasons have more competitive and complete narratives. Lastly, the standard XP system has been tweaked so that players receive more suitable and frequent rewards. While the career mode provides more player-choice elements than previously, on balance, it's still nothing out of the ordinary.

Screenshot for Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame  on PlayStation 4

As far as longevity is concerned, a fantastic returning feature is the track editor. Last year's version was great, but didn't have the most versatile range of track 'modules,' nor options in the way of environments and scenery. This time round, players can handpick their stadium, choose from an improved array of track elements, and of course, upload it online for others to experience. Unfortunately, it wasn't possible to test the functionality of the latter, nor any the online components in general, prior to release. However, assuming the track sharing functions work as intended, there's no doubt this will be a very creative, rewarding and successful aspect of the title.

The last area that's been significantly improved is customisation. There are more bike components to fit, which will keep players tweaking and experimenting. It's great, too, having both the 250 and 450 SX classes to get creative with. In an aesthetic sense, there are hundreds of unique items, from rider outfits to interesting paint schemes, which makes it easy to lose hours in the pursuit of style! There's also a full-scale character creation feature, which is quite rare to see to see in racers. This is surprisingly in-depth, at least in terms of the sort of character modelling that can be achieved. It's just a shame that players can create unique characters, but they still come across as lifeless individuals within the context of the career mode.

Screenshot for Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame  on PlayStation 4

One aspect that Milestone has improved upon in Monster Energy Supercross 2, also seen in MXGP Pro, is air-control. It's a little more straight-forward to do whips and scrubs, which is essential technique for the discipline. This means players have more control over their descent and stand a chance of successfully dipping out of trouble. With that said, although nuances of the handling model have been improved, feeling somewhat tighter and being more responsive to directional input, there's still an annoying tendency to be thrown far off-track from jumps. To alleviate this, players can turn on a recommended line through the air, which helps players understand the tricky front/rear brake behaviour. Fans of two-wheels will not find this as frustrating.

Then there's the rewind feature, another staple. In this experience, the rewind capability ends up being kind of crucial, depending on how players wish to play. Those with a lot of Supercross knowledge may forgo all assists and try the toughest, most simulative settings, relinquishing this ability. This can be very absorbing, but the AI won't struggle half as much, and appear to be very robotic, which dampens the thrill of no assist driving. Arcade racers will appreciate the ability to un-do crucial errors on the fly, or even just to land a jump perfectly, rather than skittishly. The dirt tracks aren't dynamic like dirt oval and dirt road racing in racing sims, so there's rarely a need to rewind simply because the racing line has moved.

Screenshot for Monster Energy Supercross 2 - The Official Videogame  on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Monster Energy Supercross 2 is a mostly fluid and enjoyable two-wheeler experience, which hasn't been reinvented, but has been polished just enough to be a decent follow-up. The standard cynicism of incessant iterative cycles still applies here, because if Milestone gave themselves two years for this follow-up, it would be drastically better, rather than the usual half-step. However, at least the studio's commitment to the Unreal Engine 4, and their policy of providing an accessible driving experiences for all skill-levels, ensures Monster Energy Supercross 2 is still fun and engrossing for fans of Supercross, as well as those of the genre at large. Improvements to air-control reduces some occasional handling frustration, but doesn't erase it. Likewise, whilst throttle and front/rear brake application appears to be a little more tactile, the general handling and physics still leave a little to be desired. Good acrobatic fun, but with ample room for improvement.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date None   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date None   

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