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Review: Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 (Nintendo Switch)By Flynnie At 17.05.2020 14:55

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Upon booting Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 up, users are greeted to a sophisticated, and cleanly presented menu system. This is split into Single Player, Multiplayer, Create, and Extra, all of which are then sub-divided into further modes. The menu is segmented in a very similar fashion to how FIFA does its menu tiles, and gives players an easy overview of what modes are in the game. Modes with races in them often have a highly polished intro cut-scene to introduce the bikes, the riders and the arenas. Along with the intro commentary, this immerses players into what the real product feels like, and accurately captures the atmosphere of a real Supercross event.

Unfortunately entering the race itself poses huge problems for beginners, or even relatively seasoned racing fans, as the physics are incredibly difficult to come to terms with. This is pure simulation, not an arcade racer, and with such realism comes great difficulty. Mastering control of the bike is one of the steeper learning curves, as riders will need to take jumps at different speeds and angles. Getting the whoop sections correct, where bikes skim across smaller bumps, versus the rhythm sections, a number of jumps can be massively hard. Even slightly incorrectly landed jumps, touching one of the courses tough blocks or bumping into another rider, could see riders fling themselves off bikes far too easily.

This happens relatively inconsistently as well, so much so that every corner is a potential race ender, especially as making one or two mistakes will be enough to face the punishment of being put at the back of the pack, with no real chance of getting back into the race, even on the easiest difficulty option. Thankfully, there are a couple of options that can help those who are struggling to get to grips with meandering around tight corners or timing the rhythms and jumps correctly. Firstly, there is Flow Aid, which is a series of arrows on the track, similar to those found in racing games, such as the Forza series, to help guide the velocity and landing of each jump.

Never fear, even if this doesn't help, then a handy 'rewind' feature can be used which can take players back to the fateful moment where they came off the bike or to correct a wrong decision. It is great that both of these features are present, however, they don't necessarily make the experience any fun. If anything this makes it feel like cheatingā€¦ and that's because it is. Ironically, the physics of the game, or rather the handling, does offer a realistic challenge to learn, and just because they are difficult to learn doesn't necessarily mean they are bad. They do enable the game to get a fast and good sense of speed, and once mastered can actually feel like second nature. There are a handful of tutorials that have been bunged in the 'Extra' menu, but none of them feel like a proper tutorial, which will help newcomers learn the ropes.

Aside from physics, the presentation is good, as bikes, riders, and track terrain effects all look the part, although the Nintendo Switch is hardly comparable with the beauty of the console ports. However, on a more positive note, the customisation tools are a huge joy to play with. Outside of the WWE games, there are not that many sports games which have as big of a creation suite. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of different combinations to toy around with, from creating riders, designing bikes, and even building a track with the track editor. The customisation tools go very deep, and allow players to insert themselves into the world of Supercross. There are also preset slots to save any customisation options, so that multiple play styles can be adapted to at any time.

The training Compound, is an open free roaming area that contains the opportunity to practice jumps and generally free-style without the pressure of a race. It is a nifty mode that can be fun to just jerk around in, and throw some whips and tricks. The Compound has a number of challenges to partake in as well, including 'Go with the Flow,' which challenges riders to stay as close to the Flow Aid line as possible. There are a number of other challenges that each have multiple levels to complete, and there are rewards to unlock which makes it worthwhile to do so.

Online has a few other options other than races, including Knock-out, where a timer counts down and eliminates racers lap by lap, Checkpoint, where the highest scoring points wins by end of the race, and Treasure hunt, where all players start in different places across the Compound, and then go on a hunt to a particular place on the map to search for treasure. These modes are incredibly varied and offer something much more different to the package, other than a progressive career mode, and single player action.

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Final Score
[i]Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3[/i] does indeed capture the sport down to a tee, and has incredibly flexible, and deep customisation tools, that are able to thrust a player into the AMA Supercross universe. Its unforgiving difficulty and steep price point is probably the stumbling block to making this a renowned and accessible racer, but at the same time the purists who love a good challenge will absolutely adore the subtle tweaks that can be made to player setups. Anyone who adores the sport will love this, but those hoping for a leisurely, easy racer to play through, will be sorely surprised.

7

/10

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