Review: Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship: The Official Videogame 6
Back in 2021 I reviewed Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship: The Official Videogame 4 (or MEAMASCTOV4 for short!). Despite not really being into the sport of supercross in any way, I actually had a lot of fun with it, and it was a very solid racing sim experience. While I gave it a solid score (8/10), I noted two things in particular holding it back from true greatness: The learning curve and AI difficulty.
Since the franchise is receiving yearly iterations featuring updated rider rosters and courses, I sought to see if the main things that were lacking in an otherwise solid experience have gotten the attention they need to push the series over the top. Now that Milestone has brought us the sixth title in the series, let’s see how it stacks up to the last one to grace my computer screen. For this review, we’ll be focused on what’s changed and improved (or not) from past iterations.
Monster Energy AMA Supercross Championship: The Official Videogame 6 was released on March 9, 2023 for Playstation 5, Xbox Series X/S and PC via Steam, the latter of which was played for this review.
Ready to Ride
Like many other sports franchises, AMA Supercross (I’m not typing that whole name again!) focuses on refining itself with more-or-less annual iterations, keeping the riders and courses current while polishing the experience. This latest entry in the series promoted itself prior to release with its revised career mode with a coach in real professional supercross rider Jeremy McGrath, who provides voiceover explanations for the full range of game mechanics as you go through the Supercross Academy which is where you’ll find a whole new library of tutorials, which the previous game I played lacked. In addition, he appears in the new free-roamable Supercross Park and offers you quests and challenges, and also provides various other words of wisdom as you progress through the Career mode.
This completely resolves my biggest gripe with the fourth entry in the series, making the game a lot more approachable. After the initial tutorial on launching the game for the first time, you have the opportunity to choose the simulation level, which determines the level of assistance you get with controlling the bike and the overall realism of the experience. This extends from level of control of the bike and also the length and accuracy of race events to the real thing. Aside from the completely revamped new player experience, the career mode plays mostly the same as before, as it is specifically designed to follow the path of an actual competitor seeking glory in the championship.
Reaching the Podium
If you’re like me and not a really serious fan, you’re probably spending most of your time offline racing with AI opponents. And if you were like me back in the last review, you got absolutely crushed by the AI regardless of the AI difficulty level. Beginners can now rejoice, for now the AI difficulty settings much more accurately reflects what things are going to be like. Initially, being totally not confident in my ability after Supercross 4, I started with the “very easy’ setting, since even that was wrecking me before. I got first place every time, basically no matter how often I crashed or how slow I took turns. And I’m absolutely terrible at this game.
I cranked it up past Easy to Medium, and I was still winning races, but I was no longer lapping my opponents and they kept up with me well. From there, it goes to Hard and “Realistic,” and on this end of the spectrum you’d better have good knowledge of the flow of the courses, never crash, and basically be flawless (which is what “very easy” asked of you in the fourth game).
Getting into the game was also considerably improved. While the menus do retain the odd default key configurations for navigation (F3 and F4 to switch menu tabs, which is accomplished with LB/RB on console), they are more streamlined overall. No longer do you have to click through meaningless selections, like being asked to select a starting gate when you are the last rider and all the other spots are filled, so it is quicker and easier to start a race and navigate the UI.
Recognition of the actions you perform during a race also feels better. Previously I felt like I had to drastically exaggerate key maneuvers like scrubs (angling your bike as you pass over a jump to limit air time and thus increase speed), jumps and drifts in order for the game to recognize that I actually did those things. Now all the special actions feel easier to perform and the game recognizes them much sooner, making for a smoother experience.
Kicking up Dirt
Graphically, the game is very similar to that of previous entries, and that is honestly not much of a problem because they were great to begin with, and Supercross 6 is built on the same engine. There have been modest improvements to the visual effects, but overall the visual experience is largely unchanged. The good news here is if you’re on a new PC from the past year or two, you’ll be able to run the game in higher framerates or resolutions. The game’s HUD is much cleaner and more practical, only showing the information you need and not covering too much of the screen.
The soundtrack is new, however. While it retains a similar overall style and feel with plenty of electric guitar and bass (and less acoustic), the energy behind it is more measured and has more of a “fun” feeling to it. Not as hard and driving, which I think is a good thing overall, especially given races are long in this game and you don’t want the music to be too distracting. Music is a big part of the supercross experience and it does not disappoint here.
I have to say that Supercross 6 really succeeds at everything it set out to do. It onboards new (or lower skill) players much more effectively, has much better options for controlling the overall experience, and has a level of challenge that is much more in line with what the player would reasonably expect from their choices made. The addition of a real supercross rider to coach you made getting into the game and playing the career mode more fun.
If I had to criticize it for something, it would probably be for offering a $5 DLC whose only function is to double your in-game credit earnings, which are used to unlock customization options. It’s rather silly, but not a big deal and honestly, you don’t need it.
While this game is largely an incremental upgrade to past versions, its improvement make Supercross 6 the perfect time for newcomers curious about the sport to hop on board. I somewhat wonder where the game can go from here, because it really checks all the boxes now and carries my recommendation for fans of real racing experiences. Given how I have so little negative to say, I feel it has most certainly earned a score bump.
~ Final Score: 9/10 ~
Review copy provided by Milestone for PC. Screenshots taken by reviewer.
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