Only twelve months after a solid start in the official Supercross series prolific studio Milestone are back in the mud with Monster Energy Supercross 2. From the outside looking in you could be forgiven for expecting a typical yearly tie-in release but the developers have clearly identified the series as an important part of their portfolio as right out of the blocks Supercross 2 is pleasantly surprising.
Milestone have been developing motorcycle games for twenty years now, with the majority of time spent in Superbike and MotoGP releases but their experiences in the WRC, Gravel & MXGP has given them plenty of time to tweak and hone in on an enjoyable racing model. Despite the short development cycle production values are a step above the usual licenced fare and bugs have been kept to a minimum with the only major concern being some annoying loading between screens which can get quite long when waiting for an event to load at times.
Fans of Supercross will be happy to find plenty of race options available, you can jump into all the usual events quickly but the bulk of your time will be spent in the career mode which is the main draw to keep coming back for another season of races. You make your own custom rider and start your journey through the 250 or 450 series against riders from the 2018 season. While you start out with a basic setup you can purchase more parts, both cosmetic and performance enhancing, by riding well and moving up the podium. There is a huge range of manufacturers, along with the teams themselves, which gives you plenty of options if you don’t like the look of a certain part or want to aim for a similar setup to the one you wished you could have in real life. Helping you towards these goals are sponsors you can sign up with, each has a range of payouts related to how you race and what you do outside the race track.
Career modes these days need more than just race day events, here you can spend a few days a week either training to improve your riding stats, challenge other riders one-on-one to expand your operations or spend time at media events for your sponsors to earn extra cash or fame. All these elements need to be taken into account when aiming for a better bike part or sponsor, you only have limited time after all. These off days are a nice touch but don’t have much personality and are little more than a stat boost which is a missed opportunity to inject some fun into the game outside the racing itself. Building up through a season is quite satisfying, especially as there will be one or two riders who stick near your results creating rivals to challenge on your off days back at your training compound.
The training compound itself is a nice expanse with plenty of variety, beating rival lap times at your compound open up harder challenges and having these events in your backyard that you can ride into the ground is a great way to make it feel like you’re defending your home track, along with the obvious benefits. There are also other long term challenges which unlock even more items to customise your ride with, although without an ongoing service (which we sometimes see in games released by other publishers) it feels under-utilised as weekly or daily challenges would be a great hook to jump in for a few quick races each night.
While not up to the visual standard of Driveclub or Forza the game looks fine, especially when ripping around the tracks. Weather effects and lighting all enhance the experience, racing in the mud while rain is pouring down is a hell of a lot of fun. Framerates hold up well even when you are jockeying for position in the middle of the pack at the first turn and the HDR option even has a nit slider. Music, just like the textures, is also fine but nothing to call home about, with most of the tracks sitting in the comfortable generic rock genre you’d expect from events such as this.
Importantly the game handles great, with an arcade feel but requiring plenty of thought to avoid falling apart at each corner. You are handed a surprising amount of control once airborne and within an hour you’ll be handing the throttle like a pro, any failure to stay on the track leading to annoyance at pushing beyond your boundaries rather than anger at the game itself. This coupled with the satisfying feel as you shoot out a hairpin corner and over a jump positioned perfectly gives it a ‘just one more race’ quality that’s required in a release focused so strongly on the racing aspect. There are multiple options for handling, a race line visual assist and even a rewind function similar to the Forza series so even those used to arcade racers can pick up and enjoy quickly.
Outside the single-player options, there is also a track editor where you can upload creations for the world to try and it’s quite fun to see what outlandish things people come up with. The actual multiplayer side of things is limited to private matches and the lack of local multiplayer is a huge missed opportunity since the game is so accessible from a pickup and play aspect. It definitely feels like the majority of development time was focused on the career mode so hopefully, in future titles we see more experimentation on this front, adding elements of a party mode could be a ton of fun.
THE PLAYSTATION 4 VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED ON A PLAYSTATION 4 PRO FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
Monster Energy Supercross 2 is a fun supercross experience which touches on some great career options. The game will always leave you wanting just one more race, which is a great sign of an arcade motorcross game.