Most sequels strive for greater heights than their predecessors and unfortunately, Monster Energy Supercross 2 (MES 2)falls short as the follow up to the 2018 original. Not that it is necessarily a bad dirt bike racer, in fact, it proved to be fun experience during the first few hours of gameplay. But like most bright flames, it burns out quickly. MES 2 has a few things going for it, and its developers, Milestone Studios added some tweaks that altered the gameplay slightly. But for the most part, the game is just another motocross racer that does little to push the sport’s base forward and the genre as a whole. Upon closer examination, this title has some positive aspects that make it a decent product. But when compared to its forebearer, the series has taken a step back.
As with most other games in the racing genre, MES 2 is a third person motorbike simulator that puts players in control of a variety of dirt bikes. Players must engage with other competitors and cycle through a variety of areas as they must avoid either crashing into their competition or mishandling their rides. The landscapes are not open world but rather tightly knitted dirt and sand arenas scattered across the American continent. Milestone enables players to choose from some of the most famous competitions in the sport such as the NRG arena in Texas. As the gamer wins each competition they can unlock customizable material that enhances the speed and tenacity of your ride. Such customizable upgrades is a welcomed addition to the series sequel and dramatically enhances the replayability factor. Its developers also included four different gameplay modes to choose from, ranging from a multiplayer competitive single race to a career mode that is lackluster, to say the least. During races, players can utilize a rewind and fast forward feature after crashes and burnouts, Seeing your racer slowly hit wall signs or flip over his bike is fun mindless humor that really did not affect the style of gameplay all that much. Regardless, Monster Energy Supercross 2 is the typical racing game that that is severely hampered by its limitations.
As stated previously, the game begins with four different styles of gameplay to choose from. Amongst this quadrivial assortment of gameplay features, players have access to a vast array of professional riders such as Jason Anderson and Eli Tomac that lends the release a sense of authenticity. The customization mechanism is just as diverse, ranging from tire types to dual exhaust mufflers. But the most unique aspect of this game is the track emulator option. Players can customize their own tracks and create their own very unique motorbike experience. The emulation is expansive truly and allows the player a greater degree of creativity that is nonexistent in most racing games. As a whole, the track emulator functionality holds the most depth as a gameplay option and is the bright spot of this otherwise generic product. The soundtrack is also exceptional and pleasantly unpolished. This is brought to fruition in the pause menu, as the music shifts from hardcore and metal during the race to a more 1970’s style punk rock score that amps up the intensity of each track. In terms of the overall quality of the graphics, the developers were spot on in captivating the motocross experience as the announcer’s voice of work is top notch. Every frame is given meticulous attention to detail with the actual professional racers matching their CGI counterparts perfectly. But even with all this in mind, Monster Energy Supercross 2 is a lackluster racer and does little to propel the franchise forward.
The game has many mishaps in its production starting from its laughable career mode. A useless story coupled with an uninteresting protagonist makes the Fifa 19series seem like an Oscar-worthy script. On the surface, the racing segments are realistically rendered but during crashes, the CGI’s blemishes are brought to the surface. Character models seep into the dirt like moss and appear more like a puppet then actual professional motocross riders. The limitations of racing in a circle in arena greatly affected the fun factor of the product and in a genre that has the potential for open-world gameplay. This seems odd that not a single natural environmental landscape was not built into the gameplay. The Forza Horizon series is the perfect example of how an open world based game can expand upon a tired genre and elevate it to greater depths of grandeur. Monster Energy Supercross 2 does not aspire to be anything than an arena-based racer and this is a big let down. During sharp turns, it appeared to be all too easy to crash into walls and spin out of control. From the 250 East quadrant to the Western conference tracks, my racer continuously crashed during sharp courses and this derided an otherwise decent title. Such erratic and unstable control schemes could have and should have been perfected during the production phase of development. Between the terrible controls, lackluster environments, and poor character animations, Monster Energy Supercross 2 lost its appeal quickly and greatly paled in comparison to its predecessor.
If you are looking for an in-depth factual motocross racing title than this game is not for you. Milestone Studios has created a product that is inferior by far to most of its contemporaries. Nothing about this title really stands out except for the track emulator mode and the wide cast of professional racers you can choose from. This game definitely needed time to refine some issues that are commonplace for any major market release. The fact that the controls were inefficient and unresponsive during key moments of a race is absolutely atrocious in the modern era of gaming. At best, this should have been a low budget release and even then its blemishes were far too great to gloss over. Not that everything inherent in this product is abysmal, in fact, it is fun for a while. But mindless joy can never replace a substantive experience. Regardless if you are a fan or not of dirt bike racing, this game does not live up to the standards that most production companies should abide by. In the end, look elsewhere for a joyous racing experience and if you cannot find it on the PS4 than look to the classics such as Excitebike on the NES.