Since I started reviewing video games, I’ve developed a newfound love for racing games. Before, I used to say “I’m not that big of a fan” but the real issue was I didn’t have the time or energy to discover what types of racing games I really enjoyed—and as a human being, when I say “enjoyed” I mean those that I’m naturally good at. It turned out I was pretty good at lots of different styles of racing, except when I tried to play Monster Energy Supercross 4, I realized that supercross maybe wasn’t for me. That’s not to say that it’s a bad game, I’m just really bad at it.
Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a dirt bike racing game that recreates the super tight and fast racing discipline of supercross. Now, this game has a lot of names. It’s officially called Monster Energy Supercross 4¸or Monster Energy Super Cross FIMWorld Championship The Official Videogame 4. I’m going to call it Supercross 4, not because I have anything against shameless promotion or product shilling—I even like Monster Energy drinks—but damn is that name unwieldy otherwise. There are multiple ways to play Supercross 4, including a career mode and a pretty robust track editor.
The first thing I like to touch on in a racing game is how realistic it feels. There’s usually a trade-off between sim and arcade, with most games meeting somewhere in the middle. Supercross 4 isn’t a hardcore sim, but it does require a little bit more coordination that a racing game where you’re driving vehicles with four wheels. In Supercross 4, your rider and bike are almost independent, and as such you can turn them each independently. This system feels great, and gives you the control over your dirt bike to make it feel like you’re guiding your machine through tight turns, and over different types of material. Mud feels like mud, sand reacts how you would expect, etc. Riding is fun in Supercross 4, but staying upright is definitely not a guarantee.
Like I mentioned before, I suck at this game. While playing through the career mode, I thought it was kind of the announcer to introduce me as one of Monster Energy’s best up and coming riders, but I could barely finish a course when I started out—and I definitely wasn’t a champion by the end. There are three phases to the career mode: Futures, where prospects first test their mettle, Rookie for the up and coming competitors, and Pro—which is the big time.
If you like robust career options in racing games, Supercross 4’s might interest you. Not only are there sponsorships, contracts, etc. but your rider also has access to a skill tree to upgrade their abilities and increase performance. Skill points are gained through training, special events, or completing challenges in your journal. If you wipe out on a track, your rider has the potential to be injured, which lowers their performance until healed—or until you pay to have the injury healed quickly.
Returning from Supercross 3 is the compound. This time, the compound is modeled after a Maine island landscape—and that means lots of mud and trees. The compound is a fun open track that allows you to practice those dirt bike skills, find collectibles, and even race around with a friend, with events that can be spontaneously started while exploring. It’s not an extremely robust game mode, but it’s a fun way to mess around with friends or try out different configurations. There are, of course, traditional competitive multiplayer modes that allow you to test your skills against other players. Or if you don’t want any of those options, but want to compete, you can test yourself against AI in single player championships. There are lots of ways to play Supercross 4.
One of my favorite parts of Supercross 4, and something I spent a lot of time with, is the track editor. It really took me back to my early childhood memories of Excitebike and making custom tracks. The tutorial does a decent job of showing you how to create a track in full high definition glory, and if you spend some time with it, you can really make some interesting courses. You can also download tracks from the community, and share those you made.
If you’re a fan of Supercross outside of video games, and you like licensed riders, real tracks, and more sponsors, Supercross 4 has all of those things from the 2020 season. There are over 100 riders, and over 20 official teams. There are also dozens of ways to customize your bike, and even your rider’s appearance, through sponsorships or unlockables.
My biggest complaint about Supercross 4 is the lack of information. I’m not a supercross fan, and only somewhat knew the difference between supercross and motorcross. There were a few times when I was presented with a challenge or objective and I had literally no idea how to complete it without looking it up. I wish there was a mode that catered to those newly minted supercross enthusiasts, like myself.
Monster Energy Supercross 4 is a good racing game. I wish I had more video game dirt bike experience to really get into the nitty gritty of how the bikes handle, but they’re fun to ride, and there are a bunch of different ways to play, including a challenging career mode. Supercross 4 is the premier supercross experience—and even though it doesn’t have much (or any) competition, it earns that title.
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