Annual releases are a funny thing in gaming. Typically, a game that gets a new version every year has the opportunity to continuously improve on itself, setting a strong foundation and adding more and more. Annual releases allow developers to take feedback from the previous year’s version and make the current year’s version better. The problem with annual releases though is that because they come out every year, most of the improvements are minor. It can be hard to spot what makes this year’s version that much different than last year’s. That’s the problem with Monster Energy Supercross- The Official Videogame 3 (yes, that is its actual, long title). While it’s a decent game, it’s hard to spot what’s different about the game this year, making it a hard recommendation for those who’ve played the previous entry.
Like last year’s edition, Monster Energy Supercross- The Official Videogame 3 is all about racing simulation in the world of supercross. This isn’t your simple arcade-style motorcycle game. You’ve got to think about timing and, believe it or not, physics/weight distribution to help you in a race.
One of the best aspects of Monster Energy Supercross- The Official Videogame 3 (which we’ll start calling Supercross 3) is Compound Mode. This mode is a sandbox area allowing you to play around with the world and get a feel for the physics. To be fair, Supercross 3 is an easy to pick up, very hard to master game, so learning how to ride is a must do. The area allows you to try out jumps, landing after said jumps, leaning and so much more. While the area is still a little rough around the edges (like Supercross 2), the Compound provides a fun area to just mess around with the game.
Career Mode is back in Supercross 3, and this can be a fun game mode to sink your teeth into. As its name suggests, Career Mode allows you to start your Supercross career and race to become the best. This mode reminds me a little bit of the Madden and NBA 2K series where there are more than simply “play this game” mechanics. In Career Mode, you have a weekly agenda that might involve learning new skills or perfecting the skills you already have and doing head-to-head challenges. There’s quite a bit in this mode to do, and if you’re into supercross, a deep dive into the “sport”.
The main problem I have with this game is that, minus a few things, it’s the exact same game as last year’s Supercross. The new additions (being able to play as a female rider, new physics/animations) don’t really change much. While the game looks a little better than last year’s version (the Switch version in particular looks ever-so-slightly better), you’d never know I was playing the newest game unless I told you (or you caught the title screen). This creates a dilemma when it comes to reviews like this. If you’ve already played Supercross 2, then you have absolutely no reason to go out and buy Supercross 3 unless you are a huge fan of supercross, yet even then, there’s not much of anything new. If you aren’t already a Supercross game owner, then Supercross 3 is a good pickup.
The other major problem with the game is that it’s not an easy game. I don’t mean that the game’s difficulty is too hard, rather the game isn’t easy to control. Even after spending close to an hour in the Compound Mode to get a feel for the game’s physics, I spent most races crashing for reasons I didn’t understand. I would take a turn too sharply or fail to distribute my weight properly on the bike, causing me to crash. Or I would come off a jump the “wrong way” and crash upon impact with the ground. I never truly felt like I had full control over my bike. What’s worse is that the tutorial is an absolute joke. A tutorial is supposed to teach you how to play the game. Supercross 3’s tutorial doesn’t do that. It just tells you to start…and then nothing else. It leaves the button controls on-screen but doesn’t explain what they are for, how to perform them properly or anything. Remember, this game also has weight distribution you have to factor in, something the tutorial doesn’t explain or show you how to do.
Platforms: Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, PC, Stadia
Release Date: 4th February 2020