While I love bicycles, my experience with motorcycles/dirt bikes is extremely limited. I rode an electric bike once as a kid, but that doesn’t really count for anything. One thing is for sure, though: these mean machines have always fascinated me. Hence why I have fond memories of playing Motorcross Mania on parents’ old PC many moons ago. It’s been a good while since I’ve played a game in this genre; the most recent experience is the motocross discipline in The Crew 2. But, that feels leaps and bounds more simplified than Monster Energy Supercross 2.
As far as I’m concerned, Supercross 2 feels like a genuine dirt biking experience. The game’s physics system turned out to be more realistic than I anticipated, which led to quite a few faceplants during my first hour of playing. While every racing game has its own quirks, Supercross 2 turned into quite a learning experience because of this. In order to pull ahead, you have to get into a rhythm between your rider your bike.
All of the tracks feature a series of jumps, hops, and hairpin turns that require the best timing and accuracy that you can muster. That being the case, playing Supercross 2 turned out to be more of a twin-stick experience, as the right analog stick is responsible for the weight distribution of your rider. Following the trajectory of each jump with subsequent pushes and pulls of the stick made riding feel not only fun but fluid and responsive. You can also tweak the attributes of your bike to get an even more finely-tuned experience.
Whip out the training wheels….
How you ride is also determined by the skill level of your rider. In the Career mode, training missions will put you to the test against various aspects of supercross racing. These include how to handle jumps correctly, the ‘scrubbing’ technique, and how to pull off the perfect holeshot maneuver to quickly nail the leading position in a race.
All of the different training courses grade you on your performance out of three stars and also have a limited number of attempts. Failing to complete the training will result in a wasted day, as the Career mode allows you to schedule out each race week with limited slots. If you do pass, your character’s stats receive a boost, but only if you complete each mission per category. Although this feature is available, I didn’t actually make much use of it.
The game separates Career into two seasons: the 250 and 450 class. The game automatically set the AI difficulty to “Very Easy” and also had every race set to “One Shot” mode. That allows you to completely skip the proper four-stage process and just proceed straight to the main race. There’s also the option to use the Rewind functionality, which came in handy far more times than I’m willing to admit (though you’re awarded bonus points for not using it at all).
So, with all these assists in place, I was able to get through the Career mode in about 9-hours. Since I was trying to get through it as quickly as possible anyway, I was pleased with such a duration. But, if you prefer a much more realistic experience by upping the aforementioned values to higher levels, you’ll likely play the Career mode for far longer.
Nevertheless, I appreciate how Supercross 2 can adapt itself to cater to inexperienced players such as myself, while also giving hardcore bikers the ‘real deal’.
Beyond its main offerings, Supercross 2 also provides you with a degree of freedom. For instance, you can test your abilities at your own speed by visiting the ‘Compound’: a freely-explorable outdoor track.
You can also build your own stadium tracks (and share them with the rest of the game’s community), though I found the toolset relatively clunky. Perhaps I’ll get better with some practice, but I still didn’t find it the most intuitive track builder out there. Character and bike customization is far more straightforward, though. There’s a variety of different real-world brand clothes and vehicle components to choose from. You’ll be able to construct your ideal ride and rider with relative ease.
Supercross 2 also impressed me with its presentation. The game was relatively merciful towards my lowly 960M, thus resulting in a (usually) stable 30FPS at 1080p with most settings on ‘Medium’. If your rig is beefier, you can let the framerate fly to 60 or higher. Nevertheless, I was pleased with the particle effects and cloth physics. The riders’ uniforms would flutter in the breeze, and dirt would accumulate very realistically.
Adding weather into the mix results in an even more eye-catching experience, as the dirt clearly turns into thicker, more slippy mud. In these wetter conditions, both the bike and character would get far dirtier than under normal circumstances. Tires tracks are also realistically rendered with subtle terrain deformation.
The only visual oddity I spotted was the seemingly packed bandstands only consisting of 2D sprites. Audio also isn’t half bad, as each machine whines and roars just as you’d expect. The heavy metal soundtrack was a bit of a turn off for me, though, so it didn’t take me long to disable it.
Considering that developer Milestone has had its hand in motorbike games for quite some time now, it’s no wonder why Supercross 2 looks and feels so polished. Whether you’re a newbie like me or a longtime fan of these types of racers, you’re bound to get a lot of enjoyment out of Supercross 2.
A review code was provided by the publisher.