By this point I’m fully aware of what to expect when going into a Motorsport game such as this. I usually expect a difficult challenge while I get to grips with the realistic gameplay which eventually ends up in a satisfying experience once mastered. Sadly this is not the case for Monster Energy Supercross 4 as the unwelcoming controls mixed with unrealistic physics makes this a game that could possibly be mastered if you really wanted to, but I’m not sure why you would..
As always you can check out the video version of the review in the link below if you prefer..
The game opens by asking you to create a character. Well actually it’s more a case of picking between a selection of premade models which look like they were developed for a PS3 game and then giving your new clay face a name. This wasn’t too much of a concern though as my rider would of course thankfully be wearing a helmet most of the time and when all suited and booted, the character models actually look pretty cool. In fact that goes for most of the games visuals.
I was lucky enough to play the PS5 version of Supercross 4 and although it’s far from the best looking game I’ve played on a next-gen system, it still looks pretty good and is a noticeable improvement over the last entry. The game also makes fantastic use of the Dualsense controller, you can feel every violent vibration shake through your fingers as you speed down a straight and rumble on the trigger as you accelerate from the start line. If you’re planning on buying Supercross 4 regardless of what I’m about to go on and say and you’re in a position to pick it up on PS5 then I strongly recommend you do.
Sadly this is about the point where my positivity ends as despite how good the dualsense features feel and how decent it looks, the gameplay is a frustrating experience which feels like it would alienate all newcomers to the series.
As I touched on in the opening, I fully expect most Motorsport games I play to be difficult and I’ve played and reviewed enough of them in my time to know you need to give them time. In this case though it’s been nearly a week of trying to get the hang of the controls and I still feel as annoyed and angry as I did the first time I booted the game up! This pretty much comes down to Supercross 4 (much like the previous entries in the series) not really knowing what it wants to be. When taking a corner it’s super realistic and if you don’t slow down and handle the bike correctly, you’re going to crash. At the same time however you’ll go flying through the air in dramatic fashion which is more akin to an unrealistic arcade game whenever you even slightly accelerate up a ramp. It results in a confusing mashup of a game that wants to be both a strict sports simulator and a fun adrenaline filled thrill ride yet fails at both.
I really think a proper easy mode would have helped the situation. Yes the game has an option for ‘very easy’ but that didn’t stop me from wiping out in every event and coming last in every race while being lapped in the process. It felt overly brutal and unfair. In fact at one point I even tried the game’s hardest difficulty setting and to tell the truth, it felt nearly identical to the easiest. I really think a proper easy setting that assists you more would encourage more players to try get better and stick with the franchise, but as it stands it’s just an unwelcoming mess that puts me off ever going back or even trying the next game in the series.
When talking game modes there’s all the usual suspects including Career, Events, Track Editor and Online. The career is where I spent most of my time with Supercross 4 as is usually the case with most sports games and although it’s not too bad, it’s hardly reinventing the wheel. You’ll take place in race weekends and have the opportunity to complete three training challenges in-between those events. What’s cool is you only get one chance at these training sessions so if you fail it really feels like you messed up and makes the next one feel extra important.
Progression through the career is a bit of a weird one though. In my first set of race weekends I came dead last in every race and was overlapped in most of them yet big teams and sponsors still came calling and I was introduced to the world like a superstar. Maybe they really liked the comical way I’d constantly fall off my bike, who knows? Either way it felt as if results didn’t matter at first. As time goes on I actually needed to finish in podium positions to advance but given that I’m essentially driving on ice, that was never going to happen.
Speaking of which, my rider would always pick up injuries every time I’d crash and the game requires you to spend in-game currency to heal. This was disappointing as the hard as balls gameplay meant I was forever injured and never really had enough money to buy cool helmets and other gear, it was a cycle of disappointment rather than an epic career.
Events and Championships give you the opportunity to compete in a competition with real life riders (who all weirdly look the same) rather than using your custom made potato. I did hope for a split second that using a real pro would help my on-track shortcomings but alas it just resulted in me ending the promising career of a proper Supercross athlete, sorry mate.
Online mode wasn’t available for me at the time of making this review so if you’d like to know more on that side of things then hit us up in the comments below and we’ll let you know how it works once the game is released and there’s more players online.
Track editor is a really cool returning mode that lets you.. you guessed it, edit your own track. It’s a weirdly satisfying experience and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that the most fun I had in this game was putting together my own wacky race track and messing around on it afterwards, it gave my proper Tony Hawk’s vibes and I’m all here for it. You can also upload your custom track and download others, it’s a really cool touch.
Overall I feel there’s a really fun game in here somewhere if I was allowed to access it. Sadly it feels hidden behind a ridiculously steep difficulty barrier and some laughable physics that makes the game a mishmash of arcadey jumps and overly hard handling. I truly believe if the ‘very easy’ setting was actually y’know.. easy, then I would have had a lot more fun with it. Unfortunately I was left rage quitting in almost every session as my competitors lapped me again and again, time after time. Longtime fans of the series will probably still find a lot to love, especially if they have the chance to play the PS5 version with all its fun exciting dualsense features. Everyone else though will feel punished for being a newcomer, myself included.
I give Monster Energy Supercross 4