A Supercross race is an event of small details. One bad landing can be the difference between a podium or last-place finish. Monster Energy Supercross 4 is no different.
The latest installment in the Milestone-developed series, the game requires precision on the controls as well as a knowledge of the tracks you race on. Anything less, and you’re looking at a bad time.
Featuring a new career mode, changes on the track, and added improvements to the compound and track editor, Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a game that hopes to be the installment that takes it to the top of the motorcycle racing ladder.
Familiar Yet Fresh
On the track, the game feels both similar yet different in a number of ways.
While first on a bike, you may not notice things right away. In fact, it looks like a lot is the same from Supercross 3 to 4. But as you continue, you’ll quickly learn that isn’t the case.
The bikes have a nice feel to them that actually gives you a separation from bike and track. In past games, it always felt as though you weren’t really battling the terrain when riding. Rather, if you could control your bike, you were going to be fine. That’s gone with Monster Energy Supercross 4.
Not only do you have to get comfortable with your bike, but then you have to learn the track. How should you attack turns in the rain compared to dry conditions? What about when it switches from dirt to sand and back to dirt? These small intricacies make for more enjoyable racing than any of the prior three games offered.
Even braking, drifting, and hitting whips properly can make or break your race on the higher difficulties. Any hiccups you have can see you dump your bike or overshoot a turn.
Another great thing to see was the improvement to the physics engine that debuted last year. While it was a good initial offering, there were some things that didn’t make sense. One specifically was landing sideways off a jump yet staying upright. That has thankfully been taken care of this time around.
There are still some clipping issues when landing jumps. You can still land on an opponents head or bike and neither of you fall.
And because I was able to play both a last gen version (PC) and next-gen (PS5), I got a full feel for the controls. While both feel good after some time, it’s hard not to only want to play with the haptic feedback and adaptive triggers that the DualSense controller offers. It just adds a whole new fight with your bike that gives you a nice sense of realism and control.
It sets a standard, in my opinion, for how haptic feedback should be done in racing games, and I hope other titles expand on it.
A New Way to Enjoy Monster Energy Supercross 4
The standard modes like Single Event, Championship, and Multiplayer are here for you to dive right into.
The Compound returns with a newly built and larger location. It features five more tracks, new challenges to take part in, free roaming either alone or with friends, and various collectibles to unlock gear for your rider.
As in the past, it’s a nice area to just relax and improve your ability on the bikes before diving into the career or online races.
Speaking of Career, this is where you’ll spend most of your time in the game. You start out in the Futures division, and work your way up through the ranks. For the most part, it’s your standard “rags to riches” style mode, but there’s actual depth here.
The game has a new skill tree that you level up through racing and training each week. The training allows you to improve at cornering, scrubbing, bike control, and more. There are also times where you’ll be invited to extra events like a “whip showcase” to earn credits.
One part of the mode that I really enjoyed was the injury system. If you find yourself dumping a lot in a race, you’ll be hurt for a certain amount of time. There’s the option to spend credits to heal yourself, but it can be quite expensive. Should you choose to tough it out, you’ll suffer various performance penalties for a set amount of races.
For the track editor, it’s back better than ever simply due to its added features. Not only are there more options for players to make the track of their dreams, but it also comes with a nice tutorial and is a lot quicker to learn for the novice. With the longevity of the game relying on user-created content, it’s a nice sight to see.
A Dud in the Booth
Presentation remains identical to last year’s release, which is a real shame. What’s more unfortunate is that there were quite a few presentation bugs, mostly when introducing you to a race. The commentary team would introduce and describe San Diego when going into a race in St. Louis. They even welcomed me to Daytona Beach when I was clearly racing in Anaheim. It’s something I expect Milestone fixes with a patch, but it’s still a major turn off for a game that tries to make you feel a part of a weekend-long event.
Without beating the dead horse too much, a presentation overhaul is one of the biggest things desperately needed for this series to keep it moving in the right direction.
On the plus side of things, each of the 17 officially licensed tracks at the 11 different stadiums all look and feel as realistic as ever. From the grains of sand to the forming puddles in the rain, things just look clean and crisp all around, especially in 4K. Even the riders, which have mostly looked the same over the years, take advantage of the improvement in visuals next-gen consoles provide.
Monster Energy Supercross 4 Review Verdict
Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a game that doesn’t see anything too drastic happen to it. Whether you are playing on last-gen, next-gen, or PC, you’ll feel right at home with the overall Supercross experience. The racing is fun on the higher difficulties, and the career is deep enough to keep you wanting to get to the top of the Monster Energy Supercross standings.
The track editor will lead to hours of extra racing for many, and the compound provides great training opportunities. It just feels like it’s missing something — aside from quality presentation — that holds it back from being truly a great racing game from top to bottom.
*This Monster Energy Supercross 4 review is done on PS5 (primary) and PC (secondary), and was provided to SGO by Milestone*
Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a good game with plenty of depth, but there are just a few things keeping it from being a top-level racing experience.