REVIEW – Similarly to Electronic Arts and Take-Two (it doesn’t matter if it’s called 2K, same company), Milestone is also releasing several (motor)sports games each year, but the problem is that there’s not much of a reason to regularly acquire most of them, as there’s not much of improvement between two instalments.
DLC even though it already has three…
We start the usual way. After setting your gamma and audio options (without allowing you to remap keys… someone has bad priorities here), you can create your rider with some trap country music. 12 heads, 15 hair colours, 9 beards and 3 colours, 9 eye colours, 8 celebrations, 6 brands (KTM, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda, Husqvarna, Suzuki) are available, followed by a tutorial, where you are alone on the track, and good luck getting to the grips there. As I wrote at RIDE 4, I think the same applies for Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 4 as well: for the beginners, it doesn’t seem like a title that is welcoming. Sure, the game authentically works with the AMA Supercross World Championship material, but if you are not experienced in the genre, you will struggle for long, long hours. With that, MES4 might scare off many potential players, as they need to get to grips on how to reposition their weight, what rhythm to use to tackle the jumps, and so forth – the learning curve is steep, or, should I say, the other way around… and yes, you can train, but the training tries are limited to three.
Having more than a hundred riders, seventeen locations is good, as well as the nearly two dozens of official teams, and now, the career mode is divided into three categories (Futures, Rookie, Pro), and the character evolution mentioned in the previous paragraph is only there in theory, as practically, this is how MES4 stacks the cards against us, making us turn or brake worse initially, but you will quickly max that tree. There’s the sponsor, too. The more prestige you have, the higher you can get, as usual. I still have to ask: why are the training tries limited? What if I wanted to PRACTICE the training options before I do a serious attempt? Do I have to get to grips on the Compound? That’s a kitty litter. It has like 21-22 collectables, and you can start a race here and there, but these don’t feel like they have life in them, and it doesn’t allow me to properly train for the career. Thus, the game stands, or more like falls flat between two chairs. MES4 will suit a hardcore audience, but the other half of the players will quickly back out.
h _ h
Those are supposed to be two chairs. Hashtag ASCII. Let me explain: the physics in my opinion have been degraded (felt arcade-y). The hardcore players will still dump hours and hours into this game, especially online, as Milestone focused on it. But for beginners, it’s going to be a steep uphill task, and The Shamen’s 1989 (or the more popular 1991 re-release) song’s chorus (I can move, move, move any mountain…) will not fit for them. Graphically, MES4 brings the level expected with Unreal Engine 4, but I believe there are some optimization issues (but at least the game runs by default on Windows 7 without tweaks, did they finally learn their lesson). And I think the ambience (and you can include the background music in the menus, too) will not bring the game home to victory on its own. The bikes still sound a bit like lawnmowers, and artificial intelligence feels a little dangerous here and there. And no, this time I’m not going to quote a paragraph from MES3 and then after the quote, say it still applies. (I do bring over the rating box because it’s reasonable after all…)
I would, however, say that the single-player game modes of MES4, including both the Career and the Compound modes, are lifeless. I just didn’t feel that these would make themselves played in long term. Perhaps I’m not the right person in the audience for it. But I’d go back to the DLC, and aside from the two customization packs (one of them I think was a pre-order bonus, which I didn’t get, thanks for that, Milestone…), there’s one for five euros that is called Credit Multiplier or something like that. That docks half a point from the rating altogether. I’m afraid what microtransactions (and live service…) MotoGP 21 will be stuffed with. (If my first test of driving into a trackside advertisement board still results in me going through them, I’ll lose all inspiration immediately… It’s been an issue for 7-8 years.)
Not worth buying
If you have a next-gen console, you can appreciate the maximum level of graphics and a solid frame rate. Dedicated servers, ambience, nice. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch versions, however, might have been an afterthought. I have played the PC version, and I’d say that if you have played MES3, then skip this one. Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 4 would have received a 7 out of 10 if it wasn’t for that credit DLC. Last year, it was between a 6.5 and a 7, but now, due to the two target audiences, I’d say it’s an 8 for the hardcore players and a 6.5 for the rest of the community. Not much improvement is present and the authenticity isn’t enough. Also, you still respawn if you bail, and if you happen to just barely cut a corner (even if it’s not on purpose), you quickly lose one of the three training attempts. The game almost feels like a repeat.
(The game’s code was provided by Magnew)
+ Not so bad ambience
+ Authentic, hardcore racing
+ Not a one-day game, with tuning
– Still not recommended for beginners
– The career mode might not have received the overhaul it needed
– Not much improvement
Genre: official video game adaptation of the AMA Supercross series
Release date: March 11, 2021