Motocross is a strange thing, growing up I found the idea fascinating and awesome to look at, but I just never got into watching it, and my own fears stopped me ever trying my hand at it (not to mention that my mum would kill me if I ever came home that muddy). However, the sport is still awesome overall so needless to say I was quite keen to get to grips with Monster Energy Supercross 3!
Unfortunately, all that hype evaporated like so much rain on a dirt track… within only a few minutes of starting I noticed a distinct lick of polish on this experience. The first port of call is a character creator that gives you about as much choice as a cheap hot dog stand, your character can be male, or female obviously and then has a stunning selection of almost 6 whole hairstyles… I like to think that as a person I’m not too difficult to create in a game, just give me a bald head option and a beard, done, but here I couldn’t even muster that! Luckily, I thought, it wouldn’t matter too much since my biker would spend 90% of his time wearing a helmet anyway. Getting right into the thick of it, your first test is a boot camp race, and here is where I went from mild irritation to full blown frustration.
The easiest way to get my point across is to just say, this game handles like trash… I understand that dirt bikes aren’t stuck to tarmac but still, it feels like Supercross 3 is trying it’s best to fuse wacky gaming physics with realism, in the same way that classics like Tony Hawk’s did but it just hasn’t quite figured it out. When I slip and slide along a path and hit a ramp at 19 MPH I honestly am not prepared to be launched into the god damn stratosphere! The races become a fine balance of keeping yourself on a course while also planning your next jump to make sure you don’t either fall short or end up spinning side ways and through a barrier. If there felt like any control over this then it might be just fine, but several times I found myself hitting a jump and watching as my biker would crumple into the ground like I’d swapped the game for Trials Fusion!
After my first shambolic performance on the boot camp track I was SOMEHOW headhunted by both Monster and Rockstar to be a race on their teams, not sure who was smoking what when that offer came in, but I hoped beyond hope that a few laps in a stadium would improve my mood and performance, clearly, I still hadn’t learned my lesson. Joining Team Rockstar, I took to the dirt in Anaheim ready to prove myself, and instantly biffed it on the first corner because my bike decided it only likes to go in one direction… The entire tournament was a wash, Rockstar asked me to at least place 17th, I could only muster 20th. I tried to lower the difficulty, only to discover that the game couldn’t be made any easier! Somehow, I was suffering on the easiest possible mode! I tried to rally myself for the next race only to realise, it was the exact same track again… so out again I went, got dicked, almost got launched to fucking Disneyland by a ramp that felt like it had a Mario Kart boost pad on it, and just like that the last vestiges of my interest vanished, I finished the last race of the event and switched off…probably for good, I’m sorry Supercross, you lost me.
I feel like there is a market out there for this game, probably people who partake in or obsess over Motorcross bikes and racing, but is it for the casual audience? Not at all, handling like trash and looking…just fine, isn’t enough to make this a must buy, or even a fun experience, it simply exists. Much like Brian Lara Cricket was designed for the cricket fan base and basically no one else, Supercross 3 is so frothingly into its own hype that it can’t even stretch to the most vague interest in its source material. If you wanted to win over a new crowd then my advice would have been to dumb down the physics and make these bikes handle a little more like a bog standard racing game, I’ve played arcade bike games that handle better… and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Developers Milestone are no stranger to the racing genre, making some fantastic titles in the past including the incredible WRC games, so seeing a slip up like this? It stings, come on guys…you could have done better!
Monster Energy Supercross 3 gets