Milestone is set to release Monster Energy Supercross 5 on March 17, 2022. I was lucky enough to grab a preview build and put together some thoughts for those who are anxiously awaiting news and insight on the new game. There have been some adjustments and altered approaches both on the track and off this year, and while the Monster Energy Supercross 5 preview build didn’t allow me access to everything, I was able to see many of the improvements in action with my own eyes.
Monster Energy Supercross 5 Preview
As with any preview build, the focus will remain mostly on what I liked for now. However, I will have a full review when the time comes that goes into much more depth covering the positives and negatives.
What I Like
A game’s menu system is a simple component, yet it can easily add or detract from the enjoyment of a game for me. I never really had an issue with the menu system in the MESX series before, but the new menu system implemented here is quite nice.
From the color scheme to the layout and having quick access to everything, everything feels like it’s in the right spot. Not only does it look wonderful, but in the PC preview build I had access to, the response times were blazing fast. Of course, better response times mean I was quickly getting into races and not getting lost in menus.
If you have read any of my previous reviews of this series, then you know how much I have complained about such a wonderful sport not being properly showcased in this title. I know that areas such as presentation take slightly less precedence over physics, career, online, and more, but it has always been a sticking point for me.
Over the last couple years, Milestone has addressed this in small ways, but I felt the series still needed more excitement in a way that accurately showcased what it was like to be in the arena or stadium during one of these events. I am happy to say that during my time with the preview build, I witnessed some solid improvements in the presentation department. Some of the improvements included pulled-back pre-race camera shots to capture the size of the event, and others included larger firework displays and crowd interaction and excitement.
Even more exciting was the fact that all of it was done in a style that was quick and efficient so we could still get to racing. If a developer spends too much time on presentation elements, fans hit the X button to get through it. If too little time is spent, fans feel cheated. It finally feels like Milestone has the right blend of quick-hitting presentation elements that can be enjoyed while not being overly indulgent.
On-Track Bike Physics And Control
One of the “back of the box” claims by Milestone is that Monster Energy Supercross 5 will include improved bike physics and in-air control. While that feels like a claim that is made every year for this franchise, I can assure you that there have been changes with both the bike physics and in-air control, and both are for the better. In regards to the physics of the bike and its interaction with the track and other opponents, it feels like some nice strides were made this year.
Some improvements that are making an impact include whipping around a corner turn and the interaction with the embankments feeling more organic. It also feels like there is a stronger connectivity between the wheel and the track surface. The hill physics also felt improved in how the weight of the bike and my approach had bigger residual effects on the landing and acceleration afterwards.
With one caveat, it also feels like your interactions with other riders has improved for the most part. Coding the interaction with a group of riders in high-speed action is not an easy thing to pull off with a realistic feel, and while previous iterations of this franchise have delivered an admiral replication, the changes here could easily be seen and felt.
Finding your position among a group of riders all fighting for track position and jump approach is not supposed to be easy, and the improvements in that area were really noticeable to me. I could feel the jostling taking place, the bikes making contact with each other, and the fights to secure decent “footing” for my bike felt real (with me coming out on the losing end many times).
I had to be smart about my decisions, and those decision had to happen quickly. As I’ve been playing more, my approach has changed and I have gotten better at knowing when to be aggressive and when to let the pack unwind a bit before making my move.
Being too aggressive too soon often led to my demise — and the demise of some of my competitors as well. Being too passive led to me losing multiple spots and having to make up ground. There was a real game within a game going on simply from the improvements to the rider-opponent physics interactions, and my experience was better because of those improvements.
The one caveat I mentioned earlier is that the dreaded MX bull riding has returned, and it still happened quite often. I am referring to the times where my rider or an opponent would land squarely on the shoulders or helmet of an opponent and ride them like a bull until the physics system found space to let them back onto the surface of the track.
This was an issue that was prevalent a couple years ago, but Milestone has done a solid job mitigating it for the most part. This is also a preview build, so there is a window to address this long-term issue to some extent, but I imagine we’ll still see some instances of it in the final release.
This is merely a preview build, but there are enough additions and improvements to get me excited. I have reviewed every single game in this franchise, and yet the improvements here were still noticeable in many areas. Milestone’s approach has always been one of methodical changes and improvements over the years, but the ones here seem a bit more aggressive and tangible than in the past.
Monster Energy Supercross 5 is set to drop on March 17, 2022. It will be available on the PS5/PS4, Xbox Series X/S/One, and Steam.