Between MXGP 20, Ride 4 and Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 4, it feels like Milestone is certainly one of the most prolific developers when it comes to launching PS5 titles this early in the lifecycle of Sony’s new console. We certainly welcome them, and are checking out Monster Energy Supercross 4 on the PS5 today – a title that’s also coming out for PCs, the Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S and the PlayStation 4.
A lot of Milestone’s racing franchises receive yearly releases, so the new Monster Energy Supercross certainly wasn’t a surprise, but it’s great to see a studio embracing the added horsepower that the new consoles bring to the table – something that racing fans in particular have been seeing quite a bit of. Besides Milestone’s games, Dirt 5 is also a delight on the new consoles with its next gen optimizations.
Monster Energy Supercross has always been a game of mixed feelings for me, and the latest version in the franchise doesn’t do much to change that. Looking at the events it’s trying to recreate, I always expect the game to be much more arcade-like and fun-centered than it really is. While the handling model is ultimately satisfying, there’s a steep learning curve in order to get there, and newcomers who think “this looks like fun!” will almost certainly be met with some frustrations. This is a game that takes some getting used to, even if you already played previous entries but have been away from them for almost a year.
Rather than just flooring it and powering through the obstacles in your way, you need to carefully choose your line, balance your weight and drift around corners if you want to keep your momentum going and your speed up. This is a game that certainly required practice, but once you start nailing a jump to the point where you land exactly on a downward slope rather than bumping around on a flat surface, it feels exhilarating.
To help with this, the game offers a training center mode, and if you feel like customizing a challenge to fit your current skill level then you can also head to the included track editor. The career mode in the game also takes this learning curve into account, so at least you’re not constantly hitting a wall there as you slowly improve and unlock your abilities and skills. The DualSense controller implementation also helps you by transferring some of that sensation of control over your bike to the adaptive triggers, giving you the sense that you’re either in control of fighting the machine better than the game ever did on the PS4.
Audiovisually, the leap forward isn’t as great as what you’d hope for in a PlayStation 5 title – though this has become somewhat of a norm over the past few months. As with MXGP 20, the resolution and frame rates have gotten a nice bump, but the assets used for the riders and especially the spectators certainly don’t feel like something we haven’t seen many times before over the past few years on the last generation of consoles. What we’re seeing in a lot of these early PlayStation 5 titles is that the new console is a victim of the immense success and huge installed base of the PS4, and it’ll be interesting to see that tide slowly shift over the next few months. By the time we see footage of Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5, we could be looking at the first true next gen title in the series. Until then, it’s a solid albeit safe new iteration in which the DualSense is a great partner for the handling model of these bikes.