Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 is not your average Moto/Supercross game. Back in the days of Xbox 360, my friends and I spent many hours with the MX vs ATV games. Those were much simpler, when it came to the controls. This game is more of a “tactical racer.” It’s not about being the fastest rider on the track. It’s about learning the basics — turning, leaning, jumping, drifting — and using them to your advantage.
It’s all about technique.
From the wordy title alone, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5, you would think this franchise was destined to fail. Any licensed game named “The Official Videogame” is usually not to be taken too seriously. However, this franchise has lasted five iterations in five years. I guess they are doing something right.
If you do plan on playing Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5, I highly recommend starting with Futures Academy and learning how to properly ride. Unless you’ve been playing this franchise since Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogames (Part I) — although I’m sure there have been some changes along the way.
The Monster Energy Supercross series is developed and published by Milestone, the team behind the recent Hot Wheels Unleashed.
Tricks + Tips
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 is not an X-Games/Tony Hawk-style extreme sports game. It’s an extreme racing game. There are a few “tricks” to perform which can help gain some extra points and the advantage.
While in the air, you can perform whips and scrubs. Whips are when your rider leans to one side while airborne. This is more of an aesthetic trick. A scrub is more of a strategic maneuver. Scrubbing is when your rider launches off a ramp fast and low, to quickly cover more distance instead of wasting extra time with big air.
There are also “ground tricks” which can be used to gain extra points. Drifting or sliding while turning will also grab you some bonus points.
How it Works
I enjoyed learning how a Supercross race weekend works. It begins much like a Formula 1 race weekend, with qualifying. Twenty-two riders on the track competing for the fastest lap all at once? This is madness!
In qualifying, all racers get roughly ten minutes to record their fastest lap. Whether it’s your first or final lap doesn’t matter, only your quickest lap counts. If you record an incredible lap in the first minute, you can sit in the pit the rest of the session, or go through the track slowly and try to memorize every bump, turn and jump.
What I learned about qualifying was that if you’re not getting good times with the pack, it’s fine to drop back and be on your own. Find an opening where no riders are around you and go balls to the wall. That’s how you can get a good qualifying time with zero distractions.
Races work like qualifying in that the timer is also ten minutes, plus a lap or two at the end. However, instead of everyone competing for the best lap time, it’s just a standard race. To win, you must be the first to finish.
During my first hours with this game, I was complete trash. I would quickly burn through my rewinds — you are allowed to rewind after a mistake up to three times (they reload throughout races). At some point, I figured out how to use my twin sticks and not hit the throttle so hard.
My first qualifying run was embarrassing. Every lap was worse than the one before. When I finally did improve my lap time, it was only by a couple hundredths of a second. I was still full seconds away from the second worst rider.
At some point it sort of clicked. I began using the throttle less, and focusing more on my leaning and weight distribution. Instead of wiping out on turns, I started holding off on hitting the gas until I was ready to break out of a corner. Instead of holding the gas on jumps, I started pumping the throttle to get the right amount of juice for a perfect landing.
Once I made these minor adjustments and started learning how to control my rider with both thumb sticks, I began winning races and qualifying in the top three. I started achieving my top qualifying lap early, so that I could enjoy and explore the rest of the session.
A big difference between qualifying and a race is the rolling start (Qualifying) vs the standing start (Race). The beginning of each race is all about performing that “Perfect Start” from behind the fence. This is all about timing (and guessing). Riders hold the throttle and their clutch as they lean forward. Once the gate drops, so does the clutch and riders are on their way. A “perfect start” can put you ahead of the pack, into that first turn.
I was able to hit the a pretty good start in my first races, the problem was maintaining my position. It only took so long before I got passed, and by the middle of the race I was getting lapped by the top racers. After a couple of races, I was the one lapping my opponents.
Patience plays an important role in Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5. Passing someone isn’t always a quick and easy task. There are times where you are trailing another rider, turn after turn. Stick with them and your moment will come. I even ended up passing other riders in the air on a big jump — or just knocking them out and taking their spot.
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 features single player, multiplayer and online game modes.I mostly played the Career Mode. I had a rocky start, but once I got the hang of the controls and how things work I actually started winning. I thought I was doing great, but it turns out I was just racing against the scrubs at that point.
Once I made my way onto the Rookie circuit, I went back to having trouble on the track. In my first races, I started blowing past all other riders (even lapping them in some races). For these Rookie races I found myself in the middle of the pack, getting knocked off of my bike and slowly moving back to last place.
I thought I was good with learning leans and light throttle, but I guess once you start racing with the stars it’s time to learn real techniques. Techniques like how to correctly take turns to gain the advantage on other riders. Also, finding the right line on each set of jumps to maximize speed. Anytime you have a bad landing on a jump, it totally slows your momentum.
At one point I started thinking of the mobile game Tiny Wings+. In this game you sort of glide through hills, attempting to keep the proper flow. Instead of jumping from hill to hill you’re sort of smoothly riding them. By thinking of Monster Energy Supercross: The Videogame 5 like Tiny Wings+, your flow on the track will improve.
There’s a few customization options in the game. You can slightly customize your rider, create your own track, you can also change your bike settings. The first thing I did was create my rider. You choose between a few faces, but there’s not much to mess with there. It’s a very basic character creator, but I guess your rider will be wearing a helmet for most of the game.
The track editor is well made, but I’ve never been great with most level editor modes. I created their tutorial track and tested it out and if I really put time into making a track, I could possibly create a nice one. However, I will stick to trying out community tracks. It’s always great when you can see what more creative level creators put together over playing my own level creations anyways.
There are two ways to upgrade/update your bike settings. (1) You can adjust your bike setup in the menu, or during a qualifying run in the pit. This allows you to change the responsiveness of your bike, making it easier or harder to control in certain situations.
The second way (2) to upgrade your bike/rider is to use points to upgrade your skills. This is why it’s important to score a great deal of points in races. Those points translate to skill points.
Next-Gen Version (PS5)
As I was racing, I noticed a lot going on with my PlayStation 5 DualSense controller. The colors were changing, the haptics and adaptive triggers were hard at work. Racing in Monster Energy Supercross: The Videogame 5 is quite the hand workout.
I can’t imagine playing this game on the PlayStation 4 with a DualShock 4 controller and not feeling all of these feels. When I went back to playing Gran Turismo Sport (PS4 Pro) the other day after playing Gran Turismo 7 (PS5) the other day I quickly noticed that I felt nothing in my hands, after feeling everything on my DualSense. You may not notice the differences in the adaptive triggers and haptic feedback, but it’s a big one indeed.
What I like about this game is that the controls aren’t what I was expecting. There was a learning curve, but I also learned pretty quickly how to succeed in this game. Or so I thought.
After playing Gran Turismo 7 for the past week, I like that this Supercross racing game has similarities, but also feels very different. I don’t want driving a dirt bike to feel the same as driving a sports car. And when comparing these two franchises, they don’t. On PlayStation 5, Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 uses the new features of the DualSense controller in some wonderful ways.
If you’re willing to learn how to play this game, and you’re a fan of racing games or Supercross I would say this is a game for you. Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 is an extreme and complicated dirt bike racing game. I hope to continue my season and make it to the Pro level one day, but for now I will continue to work at becoming the best Rookie I can be.
Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 is available worldwide on PlayStation and Xbox consoles, and on PC (via Steam).
*myVGBC.com was provided a review code for Monster Energy Supercross: The Official Videogame 5 by the publisher.