A classic racing sport with a serious lack of handling.
Motocross has been an exciting form of racing since the early days of the motorcycle. Even though a majority of these competitions today are completed with machines designed specifically for off-roading, it is a sport with a long, storied history. Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is the newest entry in this sports-sim series from MileStone, which continues the tradition of bringing high-octane, dirt bike racing to the Nintendo Switch, along with the disgusting way they keep “videogame” as one word. Unfortunately, while being one of the few games of this type on the market might be a positive for hardcore fans of the sport, this edition wipes out before getting to the finish line.
The tutorial consists of throwing you into a race with the controls emblazoned in the upper right corner of the screen, which means you will have a bit of learning and trial and error ahead of you. The controls are simple enough, between accelerating, braking, and tilting your weight for the perfect landing, but keeping your momentum going and staying upright will be earned through much tedious repetition. Even in the easiest mode, I found it a burden to keep up with the other competitors, as being thrown from your bike but a time or two will result in too much ground to be made up.
Once you finally get the hang of things, the experience starts to settle in somewhat. Through the career mode, you can create a character and play through eastern and western regional circuits before moving to the world championship. Officially licensed teams you can be a part of allow for super fans to don their preferred team’s logos and emblems, which is appreciated if you follow the sport. A spattering of multiplayer options increases replayability and adds value to the total package, especially with the track editor where you can create your own racing tracks. There is no question there is plenty of content for the motocross aficionado, but the simplistic, yet difficult racing itself hinders the experience.
Handling is floaty and hard to manage. Movement in the air has been adjusted from previous entries but allows for you to easily be launched out of the field. The smallest of bumps into the course barriers will have you flipping out of control. As mentioned earlier, the tutorial sets you up for a rough ride, and that continues throughout the game. Restarts will plague your playthrough as you attempt to make progress, unless you really take to the controls and spend a lot of time mastering them. Even when you take the loss and adjust the controls to Standard and the difficulty to Very Easy, you can still get trounced regularly.
One positive is that the game looks pretty good and maintains performance throughout. Riders ebb and flow properly with the environment, and between the bikes ripping through the dirt and jerseys flowing in the wind, the action makes you feel like you’re right there, even if things have been downgraded a tad for the Switch version. I didn’t find a ton of issues with latency online either, but matchmaking could have been better. A lack of install base is to blame there, I’m sure.
All in all, this version of motocross is pretty unfair to anyone who hasn’t played an entry before, doesn’t want to spend tons of time with it, or who isn’t already keenly familiar with the process of racing these types of machines. Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 offers an experience that is properly tailored for those fans who will more than likely make this purchase, but for anyone taking a passing glance, there is a barrier to entry that will take some determination to overcome.