Monster Energy Supercross 5 Review: Improved and exciting gameplay make for a thrilling experience

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After being announced last year,Monster Energy Supercross 5 has been released today!

Milestone's annual Supercross game impressed us in 2021, but what new features does this year's game bring to the table?

Some new features have definitely improved the overall experience, but is it enough to overcome some elements of the game that haven't changed in years? Here's our take.

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Review conducted on PS5 with controller. Review copy provided by publisher.

Table of Contents

The official Supercross video game

Supercross may not be the most well-known motorcycle racing series, but that doesn't mean it's lacking action. Supercross is similar to Motocross in that it's comprised of races around muddy off-road tracks. The big difference is that it takes place in massive stadia across the USA.

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MESX5 Driver selection
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LOCK STOCK: The complete roster of Supercross riders are available in MESX5

This makes Supercross one of the most popular spectator motorsports in the U.S. Up there with NASCAR and IndyCar. The huge crowds give Supercross an incredible atmosphere, one that is almost unmatched in bike racing.

Supercross is pure aggression on two wheels, no quarter is given nor taken. You'll need to fight for the same piece of dirt as twenty other riders and backing off isn't an option.

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More of the same

We've come to expect this from this series, but it's still disappointing not to see the leaps in development that other series like MotoGP get from Milestone.

Of course, the riders, bikes, teams and venues have all received an upgrade and update, but that's the minimum you expect. The customisation options for your rider have been improved very marginally, but are still well behind most racing series.

MESX5 Character customistion 1
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AVERAGE: The player customisation options still aren't the best

The single player Career Mode is largely the same as last year, but there are a few notable changes. You still have the classic "Road to Glory" Career Mode, where you start out in the "Futures" series and eventually rise through the ranks to become world Supercross champion. We've seen this thousands of times before, but there's no denying its effectiveness.

Something different here though, is that you can streamline the experience to suit your preferences. You're now given three options for how to experience single player mode. You can choose to go for an "immediate" mode, where races are shorter, a "simulated" mode which mirrors real-life or a "stimulating" mode which is middle of the road.

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MESX5 Single player options
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WELCOME CHANGE: These new Career Mode options add fresh new life into MESX5

This is a very welcome change, because it allows more casual players to gain access to MESX5 without having to spend dozens of hours on unnecessary game modes. It also allows the more hardcore players to still get the full experience if they choose to do so though.

Good where it matters

Monster Energy Supercross 4 brought the series to the next generation of consoles, but what does 5 bring in terms of new features and better gameplay? Well, for a start, the graphics are better than last year, even if it is only marginally.

While a lot of the off-track features are the same, it's on-track where MESX5 shines.

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HIGH-OCTANE ACTION: Dull moments aren't a thing in MESX5

On-track, MESX5 is as action-packed as ever. There are no dull moments on-track and there's no such thing as an easy race, even on low difficulties. You always have to have your wits about you, as danger can come from anywhere at any time. Even the grooves in the dirt left on previous laps can trip you up later down the line.

The tutorials that we've been used to in previous MESX games are still here as well. So, whether you're looking to brush up your skills or get a hang of the bike for the first time, this is somewhere you should sink a few hours into. These tutorials teach you the basic skills required for cornering, weight transfer, jumps and much more.

New features

Something that should be praised is the MESX5's new injury system. As we saw in a trailer from a few months ago, MESX5 now recongises the damage that these brutal races can have on the riders. You'll still be able to ride on with knocks and scrapes, but you won't be at 100% until you recover.

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Monster Energy Supercross 5 screenshot rider shape system
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SURPRISINGLY REALISTIC: MESX5's new standout feature is its injury system

The handling system in this series has always been impressive, but it's received a marked improvement in MESX5. We don't want to say it's easy, because it isn't, but it's certainly more realistic and forgiving than before. As for the AI, it's good to see them make mistakes, but we would like them to be more aggressive on higher difficulties.

The skill tree for your rider that impressed us last year has also remained and been expanded upon too. This is a vital way to ensure that you keep up with the competition in the latter stages of Career Mode.

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The Verdict

MESX5 may have stagnated in some areas of off-track action, but on-track, it's as good as ever. The option of a more streamlined Career Mode has been supplemented by excellent racing and more accessibility than ever before.

Despite the new injury system though, many areas seem cut and pasted from last year's game.

Still though, it's a fun time and definitely worth picking up, especially if you haven't played this series on next-gen yet.

RacingGames Rating: 7.5/10