With another new entry in Milestone’s Monster Energy Supercross, it’s that time to see what’s been added, what refinements have been made, and whether players both old and new are going to enjoy the latest release in the series. The problem with that, is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to praise the newer entries as there feels like less new features have been added. A new open area to ride in and complete quests has been added, but other than that, is there really enough to give players a reason to try Monster Energy Supercross 6?
One area where Milestone has reached the gold standard is in its gameplay. Throughout the last few years, the handling has become superb. Learning the nuances of the controls to shift your rider’s weight when going over bumps, slowing down into corners, and landing correctly after a big jump have all been a curve well worth mastering. This year’s is no different, making the controls about as crisp as possible. As always, it takes a while to master these refinements, yet it never gets old.
Learning the basics like going into corners slow rather than too fast at the risk of spinning out and flying off the track is essential, and thanks to the Supercross Academy, newer players are going to be given a guide to the basics of how to master these fundamentals. It’ll still take time to get to grips with everything the gameplay offers, though. The AI has been tweaked at every difficulty level, so that the challenge becomes harder the better you are and the tougher you want it to be. On higher levels, the opposition will land with grace and cut you off skilfully, but lower down you’ll fly past them and often overtake with ease.
It’s also worth mentioning the vast array of assists and support on offer for riders that might not be as confident as series’ veterans. Milestone has learned to support the newcomers over the last few years in many of their games, and Monster Energy Supercross 6 is no different. The best addition to the game is the Supercross Park. It’s a place where you can roam freely across various areas that are home to racetracks you can simply practice on without limits, and it helps to give all types of players a place to practice.
While there, you can take part in quests, find collectables, and most importantly, practice shifting weight and learning how to ride your bike. It offers a nice distraction from the copy and paste Career Mode, and I found myself spending more time here than anywhere else. Like previous years, the career sees you advance from the rookie stages all the way to the pros, earning XP to unlock new skills and customisation, however, there’s a lack of heart to it. It feels too similar to last year, and despite adding rivalries the further you progress, there’s no story, something that would be nice to see, especially when other racers like EA’s F1 series has done so well with.
A new mode called Rhythm Attack has been added. In it, you can take on other racers in a 1v1 drag race where skill becomes paramount, but it feels tagged on and void of anything substantial. There aren’t a lot of tracks to perform on, so learning them won’t take long. If there were some more variety in the mode, players will spend more time with it, and I’d assume that next year’s will probably have a more robust variety. It’s just a shame we don’t get that now.
It’s worth mentioning that the visuals don’t look a whole lot different from last year. The attention to detail isn’t quite there, and the tracks all look rather generic. Bikes and riders look detailed and rather good, and the Supercross Park does the best job of highlighting the PS5’s technology when it comes to how it looks. The sound design is pretty solid, though, especially with the roar of the engine and the excitement of races when tussling with your opponents. As iconic as Jerry McGrath is in the sport, his line delivery is a bit wooden, and it never feels like he’s being used correctly. A 2K Showcase-style mode where you take part in some of his iconic races would have been great, but it feels more like a cash-in than a strong use of his name.
Monster Energy Supercross 6 gets the gameplay right, and it’s by far the best feature of the game. It’ll be the reason you keep playing, and Supercross Park is a great addition that’ll allow newcomers to learn the ropes, as well as offering everyone somewhere to be free to simply ride and have some fun. Career mode feels too similar to last year’s, but it does a good job of increasing the challenge the more you play, allowing you to unlock skills to counteract the difficulty. If you’re wanting a much different experience than before, you’ll find much has been untouched, but the things that have are worth taking a look at, especially if you’re a fan of the sport.
Supercross Park is great
Gameplay is wonderful
AI is balanced and challenging
Career mode is much the same
Rhythm Attack isn't the mode it could be
Visuals aren't hugely improved