Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 6 is a mouthful. The long-running Supercross franchise certainly feels like it’s in the land of diminishing returns. The second iteration on current consoles, the features on show give me a great sense of deja vu and, whilst the racing remains tight and competitive, I’m less impressed by Milestone’s latest offering.
The riding follows a familiar tune. Flow has a focus as you ride over bumps and into bends. Shifting weight has importance to make tighter turns. Scrubbing air is crucial to land sooner and is satisfying to pull off. It requires plenty of throttle discipline but I never felt like I’d settled into a groove. I think throttle mapping might be my issue. I’d carry way too much speed into jumps or corners and the application of power felt a little too squirty. When it hooks together, you have a great connection to the track. I just could not find that balance during my time with it.
.Despite racing on mud, the track was compact and incredibly solid. I didn’t see it as a surface that adapted as a race wore on. I was hoping for some deformation but the surface appears to be rigid. Even with the scrubs and whips, I find time on the bike to feel a little clumsy. With practice, you can get there and the idea of flow and weight distribution really helps the sport stand apart from other motorsports. Thankfully flashbacks are available to correct errors.
You have a couple of deploy but careful racing earns you further chances to turn back time. This choice really helped me regain concentration after a spill. It can’t be used with impunity and the fact skill can translate into a second chance encourages me to keep my eyes on the track. That’s not to say I haven’t experienced a few quizzical crashes. I don’t think there’s any way to tinker with rider form and I’ve found myself losing balance without much in the way of feedback I think there’s a definite point of no return when it comes to bike lean but I’ve overstepped that mark way sooner than anticipated.
I’ll confess I also had instances of getting lost within the intestinal winding of the stadium. The mini-map does provides an essential service but I dislike devoting my attention to a small portion of the screen. When races get aggressive, I want my focus to be on what my rider is doing. Rider aids can allow you to highlight turns and desired paths through jumps but they couldn’t stop me from being occasionally disorientated.
The career mode takes a lot of cues from other motorsport titles. Whilst the route through the ranks has a simple structure, your rider has a skill tree. Racing gains you skill points and it’s a good way to incentivise performing well. There’s a separate levelling system that increases your prestige level. This can lead to other rewards like new bikes to ride and gear to wear. One downside to the skill tree is how it diminishes the differences between bikes. I feel no real reason to change teams as you can level past any performance deficiencies.
There’s contract windows in play where you can extend your current employment or chase other suitors. I don’t feel like I’m building a relationship with a team and each season ends with you being able to pick whatever rookie or veteran challenge you want. I’m not getting a great sense of a journey and the ease at which you can change championships feels a little backward.
Unfortunately, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 6 doesn’t look its best in motion. Rider models and vehicles look acceptable but their faces lack a polish to them. Granted, you’re not going to see them often beyond podium celebrations and racer introductions. Still, there’s a budget feel to the visuals that leaves very few opportunities to be impressed. Photo mode fares better as still imagery does allow you to marvel at details.
Weather does provide something. Ruts allow water to pool and do display some nice enough reflections. Stadium pyro has a lifelike quality to them and the applied HDR does allow light and colour to wane as you enter underpasses. Presentation stays simple. Track and rider introductions are short and to the point. Confetti and flame does provide an arena atmosphere but the crowd’s reactions fail to make a dent. They feel a little lifeless and distant, assuming you can hear them over the generic rock soundtrack. Jeremy McGrath is on hand to implore players into the training mode but he feels incredibly underused.
The licensed nature of the beast allows for the full grid to take shape. Bikes and rider leathers are sharply recreated with the full championship roster created. There’s dozens of riders to choose from across the 450/250 classes. Venues appear to be accurate, although you don’t get a great opportunity to look at them whilst riding.
One thing Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 6 does well is make it a customisable experience. Your rider’s appearance may be limited to few presets but there’s a fully featured helmet editor to deliver some creativity to the mud. The community creations do look impressive with some interesting designs on show.
Further to this, the track editor remains a solid hive of creativity. I’ve not seen much too wild but it’s nice to see users making competent venues out of the tools available. It’s the kind of stuff you’d hope would give the game a longer tail, even if this is an annualised product.
I know it’s a common refrain but annualised sports titles really can run out of steam. As much as Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 6 likes to bring to the table, it’s been brought for the past few years now. Whilst we’re truly in the land of diminishing returns, it does still feel like a competent, if clumsy racer. There’s a customisable experience here but the presentation feels a little barren.
+ Racing is a challenge with competitive AI.
+ A wealth of content on display.
+ A very customisable experience.
- Presentation feels stale with a flat atmosphere.
- Very few new features to talk about.
- Rider likenesses look a little washed out.