A symphony of 4-stroke engines accompanies the start of the race as I hold my clutch and prepare for a battle toward the holeshot. No matter how often you experience this feeling, it’s one of the most exhilarating and exciting ways to start a sporting event — whether this is your first rodeo or your 6th.
To be completely honest, I’m normally not the type of person to purchase a standard, numbered sports title year after year. But, something about Milestone’s signature Supercross series always has me intrigued and it continues to find a home on my console of choice. With some major hits and a few drastic misses, Monster Energy Supercross 6 could have been the breaking point of my continued enjoyment of this franchise.
While some aspects feel a bit bumpy, even compared to some of the initial offerings, Monster Energy Supercross 6 is a compelling ride from start to finish, even with a few wipeouts on the way toward the finish.
Championship Level Riding Takes The Lead Here
Let’s get this out of the way first and foremost: Monster Energy Supercross 6 handles the best it has in quite some time. Dumping countless hours into previous titles — and even revisiting them while playing through this entry — it feels that the developers at Milestone have finally hit the almost perfect balance of Arcade racing and Simulation feel. Driving into a corner is going to require a slower speed, the proper use of the clutch, and feathering the throttle compared to hitting it at 50 mph and shifting weight.
Another strong point that helps Monster Energy Supercross 6 feel better than ever is track scaling, which feels better than it ever has and may honestly be the best featured in a Motocross game to date — and with the sheer number of games under their belts, this is no small feat. Pinning the gas right before hitting a massive double has never felt better, and the general ebbs and flows of rhythm sections feel like a vast improvement over the competition, even if some aspects feel dated by today’s standards.
To compare the general gameplay feel, I jumped into one of the most beloved Milestone Motocross racing titles, MX GP 3, alongside Rainbow Studios’ latest entry, MX vs ATV Legends, to compare the general feel of racing. While Monster Energy Supercross 6 nails the line, there is one aspect that it needs to bring into the next numbered entry if it wants to stay viable: Track Deformation.
It’s almost unacceptable that Monster Energy Supercross 6 doesn’t have this particular gameplay factor yet after this many entries. Yes, there is a form of track deformation in this title, but it is purely cosmetic, meaning that well-worn lines are primarily just there for show. MX GP 3 and MX vs ATV Legends, on the other hand, have physics that will affect the flow of the race, with worn lines giving players the chance to nail faster lines and get faster track times.
While this may be the most disappointing aspect to myself — and frankly, countless others that have been hoping to see this feature added in this latest entry — the expertly crafted tracks alongside the revised riding physics help this entry stick in the top of my mind when it comes to choosing a title to jump into — even with so many choices available on the market.
The Sun Has Gone Down, And The Moon Has Come Up
Another aspect of Monster Energy Supercross 6 that feels like a step in the right direction is the general feel of the AI. Some of the previous entries in the franchise, most notably Monster Energy Supercross 4, were criticized for their brutal difficulty. They were not very casual friendly titles, and even those that had played every entry in the series would find themselves struggling to be competitive against their computer-controlled foes.
This has been resolved fully with Monster Energy Supercross 6, offering the most balanced gameplay ever seen on the digital dirt. Starting on Medium, I found myself zipping past opponents without much care in the world, but swapping to Hard or Realistic would offer the challenge that I strived for. It no longer feels like I had a giant bullseye on the back of my jersey, and that it was fair and balanced.
Another small detail that didn’t go unnoticed this time around is putting real-life skills into consideration. It was always jarring to me to see high-level riders like Eli Tomac or Ken Roczen fall far behind in the pack rather than offering the challenge they should. This seems to be alleviated this time around, as they would consistently hover around 2nd or 3rd place, eating my dust as I left them behind in the corners.
You’ll no longer see your opponents stop on a dime, and suddenly burst out of a corner at top speed, which is something I must offer kudos toward as it has plagued the franchise for a long time. Every race seems dependent on your personal skill level, and with a variety of accessibility options, it is the most causal-friendly entry in the franchise, while still offering pros the chance to tinker with settings and make races as challenging as possible.
Customization Misses The Podium Finish
With the push towards next-generation hardware, Monster Energy Supercross 6 isn’t going to be a title that you use to showcase the power of your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X. While the on-track action looks and feels great thanks to a constant and stable 60fps/4K resolution, some parts of the game look laughably bad by comparison.
One of the worst offenders is the character models depending on the situation you find yourself in. While racing, you’re never going to have the chance to see your favorite pros without their helmets on, but once you do, you may wish that they would keep them on forever. Seeing Dylan Ferrandis on the podium staring directly into my soul with what looks to be a PlayStation 3 quality character model is terrifying, and the lack of any humanity behind those horrifyingly glossy eyes is something that will be burned into my psyche forever.
Created characters fare a little better, but they are still of questionable quality overall. The most disappointing aspect overall, however, has to be the variety of customization options on offer. The majority of the jerseys, boots, and helmets that are available are repeats of the previous two games, but there is a smattering of new options available. Motocross is equal parts flair and function, so seeing the same gear over and over again doesn’t help the argument of sports games being cut and paste from previous entries.
On the flip side, however, Helmet & Sticker Customization does make its return, giving those patient enough to create some masterpieces the chance to make a one-of-a-kind piece of equipment that will help them stand out above the Troy Lee Designs and Fox Racing gear sets. I’m one of those kinds of people that will wait and see what others are creating before making one of my own, but if other games have taught me anything, it’s that creative minds will make some amazing artwork with surprisingly deep tools.
Supercross Park Is The Best Compound Milestone Has Created Yet
After pouring my heart and soul into the 17 tracks available in the game, I wanted to take the opportunity to check out the Supercross Park. While the Compounds normally feel like an afterthought in the majority of Milestone games, Supercross Park is one of the best aspects of Monster Energy Supercross 6 by a long shot.
Bringing the voice and image of Jeremey McGrath to life in the world — with a much better character model than the majority of other racers — I found that Supercross Park is a really enjoyable experience with a much more laid-back vibe compared to the standard races. Taking the chance to explore this massive playground was an absolute joy, and with different collectibles and quests to jump into, I found myself coming back to Supercross Park more often than I expected.
Getting the chance to let loose a bit, and bomb down a huge hill before doing a backflip over an airplane may not sound like the most realistic thing, but damn if it isn’t a fun time. It’s a massive playground to hone the craft of riding on, and offers a great distraction if you find yourself bored of stadium racing. Plus, the ability to bring some friends to tear up the dirt and unleash some hella Kyle energy is refreshing and adds to the overall replayability.
Rhythm Attack, On The Other Hand…
The newest addition to Monster Energy Supercross 6 is Rhythm Attack, a 1v1 battle to the end through a variety of different jumps, whoops, and tabletops. This is meant to be the ultimate test of skills between two racers, to show who the greatest of all time is.
But, it’s also one of the most half-baked parts of the game. There are only two available tracks to use in this mode, so once you have mastered them, you’ll always be on top of things. Maybe if there was a way to have tracks that are procedurally generated so I couldn’t go in and practice until I went red in the face, this would be an exciting challenge. But, as it stands, Rhythm Attack is going to be a playground for those that spend a lot of time mastering the two tracks available, and not much more.
We’ve seen it happen with the Excitebike track in Mario Kart 8, so there is a chance that Milestone may seize the opportunity if they decide to unleash some DLC upon this entry, but as it stands, it’s a fun gimmick that doesn’t have a lot of staying power in the long haul. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this mode axed in the next entry unless there was some extra TLC that goes into making it more fleshed out.
While playing this game, the song “The Distance” by the band Cake rebounded wildly through my head. I found myself driving and striving as fast as I can, deftly maneuvering and muscling for rank, and it brought me to a time of pure nostalgia. Growing up playing Motocross games with my older brother and watching him race through different circuits during countless summers, Monster Energy Supercross 6 has finally found itself back in the proper line once again.
I’ve found myself loving the previous entries in this franchise and making my way back to them on a rather frequent basis to see if they still hold up as well as my memory serves. And while Monster Energy Supercross 6 does much more right than it does wrong, you can tell that Milestone is racing and pacing and plotting the course for the next entry.
If they’re hoping to stay viable in the market, there are some needed changes — with meaningful track deformation being the main culprit here. Still, Monster Energy Supercross 6 feels like a victory lap for the series. It’s a podium finish without a doubt, but they’re going to need to raise the bar for the next race to ensure they take home the championship instead of a second-place trophy.
This game was reviewed using a copy of the game provided by the game's publisher,public relations company, developer or other for the express purpose of a review.