Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: March 28, 2020
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is a Supercross simulation racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. Milestone Italy has a great pedigree of not only developing great racing games, but priding themselves on the authenticity of the racing experience. That work ethic has forged their history of exceptional sports racing games as the Italian passion of motorsports radiates from their games in the home of Ferrari. Milestone Italy have been especially prolific with multiple iterations throughout various forms of motorbike racing including SBK, MotoGP and Motocross. Can Milestone Italy’s third entry in the Supercross franchise further improve upon its two predecessors?
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 features all of the official licenses for the 2019 season that comprises of 17 tracks situated in various locations around America and North America including: Angel Stadium 1, Anaheim, California; State Farm Stadium, Glendale, California; Angel Stadium 2, Anaheim, California; Oakland Alameda Coliseum, Oakland, California; San Diego Stadium, San Diego, California; U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota; AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas; Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan; Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia; Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Beach, Florida; Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, Indiana; CenturyLink Field, Seattle, Washington; NRG Stadium, Houston, Texas; Stadium of Nashville, Nashville, Tennessee; Stadium of Denver, Denver, Colorado; MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey; and Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nevada. There are 44 450 class riders, 30 250 East riders and 23 250 West riders totalling to 97 riders with each of their respective bikes and teams such as Honda, Husqvarna, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki and Yamaha with their respective specifications of Supercross bikes.
Prior to beginning gameplay; players can customise their custom rider’s appearance including a male or female body type, first name, surname, nickname, race number, five font designs and 28 colours for the nickname and race number, height and nationality. Rider customisation also features 12 preset face types, 9 eye colours, 15 hair and facial hair colours, 9 facial hair styles, 5 tattoo designs for the face, neck and throat and 20 left or right ear rings or piercings. Players can then choose their preferred bike manufacturer in order to receive a 250 and 450 bike from that chosen manufacturer. Even further rider customisation can be applied to your rider within the create menu including 37 celebrations to show how ecstatic your rider is with finishing a race among the top three positions.
Following on from rider customisation and choosing a bike manufacturer; there is an optional one shot, short, standard tutorial race at the NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas with a few customisable elements. The optional tutorial race features a step-by-step guide to making the perfect start in an effort to be successful in earning the holeshot and ideal trajectory of the bike’s positioning in approach to each jump. There are further tutorials available from the tutorials menu within the home and extras menus including video tutorials for the championship calendar, standard event, East/West showdown and Triple Crown events.
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3’s career mode retains what has come before it from the two previous iterations. Milestone Italy’s trademark gameplay is at the very centre of career mode as the player is challenged in attempting to climb the ranks as the 450 class is not immediately available until succeeding in the 250 category. Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 thrusts players into a full 9 or 10 race first season depending upon your choice of entering the 250 East or 250 West were you will be competing against a field of 21 riders. Career mode begins with a bootcamp race at Supercross compound 7 as a race geared towards attracting established teams. You will gain offers from two official teams and two sponsors with both official teams offering limited customisation, a 100,000 credits reward for achieving the contract objective of finishing first, bike and suit presets as an end of contract reward and the chance to race for a specific manufacturer such as Yamaha or Suzuki. Meanwhile, sponsors provide free customisation, a 100,000 credits reward for achieving the contract objective of finishing first and a further 15,000 credits for achieving the race objective of finishing first in a race. Exhibition races are organised by your team that are essentially non-championship events for riders to show their skills on the Supercross compound and earn extra credits; however players can choose to enter into these events, decline them or alternatively delay the non-championship events until after another championship season race.
Championship mode allows the player to automatically enter into a full season official championship within the 450, 250 East or 250 West Supercross categories without having to progress up to the class you would prefer to race in during career mode with the same riders, bikes, teams, race options and riding aids as single event mode. Custom championship allows players to create their own 17 race championship in the 450 Supercross category or a 9 race championship in 250 East and a 10 race championship in 250 West comprising of repeating your favourite official tracks, compound tracks and custom tracks anywhere throughout a unique Supercross championship season calendar.
Single event mode provides the opportunity of racing on a single track with the ability to have a main event, qualifying sessions and the main event or qualifying sessions, a heat, last chance qualifier sessions and the main event against 21 opponents depending on your chosen Supercross category. When you select single event mode; you can choose the Supercross category you prefer between 450, 250 East or 250 West, were you can choose from any of the official riders from your preferred Supercross category or alternatively select your custom rider, while you can also select any of 12 unlockable official preset bike configurations and any of your 10 custom preset bike configurations, alongside any of the 17 tracks in addition to adjusting weather conditions for outdoor arenas, race length from short, medium or realistic duration that is based upon the amount of minutes instead of laps, A.I. difficulty, physics, riding assists and the choice of rewinds to your ideal preferences.
Time Attack mode provides players with the opportunity to set the best lap time around any of the 17 tracks in an attempt to climb the online leaderboards representing the fastest times as you compete against players from across the world to see who performs the best lap time in a one lap scenario, although you can complete as many consecutive laps as you prefer, but leaving the track will result in the lap time not being ruled as an official lap time and no rewinds are allowed. Time Attack mode also includes a full selection of riders, bikes and teams from 450, 250 East or 250 West categories or your custom rider on any of 12 unlockable official preset bike configurations and any of your 10 custom preset bike configurations, while you can also customise weather conditions for outdoor arenas and riding aids to some of your ideal preferences.
Compound provides a free roaming playground styled environment with a day-night cycle and any weather conditions were the player can ride around for hours. Alternatively, the player can begin a single event or time trial situated within the confines of the compound as a fun yet simultaneously useful form of practice ahead of racing in each Supercross category in championships or career mode.
Challenge mode provides ability trials to be completed in the compound with their completion rewarding the player with points that can be utilised to unlock exclusive cosmetic items. There are five different types of challenge categories such as achieving the appropriate flow, no scrubbing or riding through narrow gates that individually contain 10 trials per challenge category for a total of 50 trials. However, each trial has three star ratings resulting in a bronze, silver or gold medal respectively. For instance, the first trial involving achieving the appropriate flow needs only a 30% completion percentage for a bronze medal, 50% for silver or 70% for a gold medal in comparison to the tenth trial of the same category requiring 60%, 80% or 90% for a bronze, silver or gold medal respectively. Fundamental rules include not leaving the confines of the track or falling off your bike.
Milestone Italy’s Supercross track editor has not only been retained, but actually expanded; a feature that is ahead of the curve for motorsports gaming franchises as fans have stated for a long time needs to be included in far more motorsports games such as F1 gaming. Creating an all-new track is a process spread out through multiple steps that can be gradually tested by riding the work in progress track design or viewing the track via panning the camera in free camera mode. A tutorial has been introduced that guides the player on a step-by-step basis on how to create a large indoor diamond stadium track for Supercross races. Track creation starts with your choice for 1 of 8 stadium characteristics such as a large outdoor or indoor rectangular stadium followed by selecting a starting area from 17 varying designs. After completing the initial two stages; players can truly begin running wild with their creativity by designing a unique track layout fulfilled by a step-by-step choice of 30 curves that are technically 60 curves as curves can have their angles flipped around; a short, medium or long straight; 5 whoops heights; 29 jumps with differing heights and shapes; special track elements such as pools, a bridge and a u bend stand; and 4 types of finishing line. However, as good as the track editor can be if you persist with it and learn to understand it better; yet again the player has to be online to use the track editor at all that means you cannot create a track while offline naturally resulting in concerns if the track editor functionality would be completely removed from Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 if the online servers were ever turned off.
An interesting form of XP and levelling up is referred to as prestige; designed to represent the quantity of time and effort invested into gameplay. Prestige points are earned in each mode by your rider’s finishing position during race weekends, total completed laps, laps completed without using the rewind mechanic, achieving a holeshot in races and performing actions and manoeuvres such as jumping or drifting in any mode, racing on your custom tracks when online and achieving team or sponsor objectives during career mode. Progressing through the prestige levels yields numerous rewards of unlockable items; therefore you have to earn items with results rather than them just being given to your rider automatically from the beginning or for completing a season.
Track design features Milestone Italy’s staples of realism including photogrammetry and aerial drone scanning that is utilised to recreate each track with extreme precision of 1:1 accuracy. Meanwhile, respawn times for accidentally venturing a couple of inches off the track is now increased from 3 to 5 seconds to return to the track before being respawned, therefore making Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 more fun to play, despite it only being a small change. Every track surface features a strong amount of track deformation that is brought about by the tyres carving a path through the dirt and mud. As a total of 22 bikes produce tyre tracks; it is only a matter of time before the track feels completely different to when the race had started. The difference in the track is due to the dispersal of the dirt and mud being flicked up in the process of the tyre tracks being embedded into the mud; potentially affecting the grip and traction of the bike resulting in you having to change your approach to the optimal racing line per lap.
As with previous Supercross iterations; weather conditions reflect the scale of weather options from Milestone Italy’s MotoGP series. However, when applying wet weather conditions to Supercross 3’s very realistic track surface and deformation; potential of further track evolution is increased exponentially as wet weather conditions change the density of the mud and the surrounding track surface. Weather conditions include clear skies with no risk of rain; torrential rain throughout the duration of the race; a wet track; and even random weather conditions that are capable of presenting any form of weather in the build-up to and during the race. All weather conditions are modelled accurately to present a unique challenge as each type of weather will make your bike behave differently; especially considering how track surfaces deform depending on the weather conditions.
Bike setup can be changed in the pits which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your bike setup for each track. Bike setup is spread across various settings such as the ability to change the front and rear preload, spring stiffness, compression damping and extension damping in addition to selecting a short, medium or long gear ratio. There are also options to save, load or delete your preferred bike setups and to return your bike setup to the default factory settings.
There are four excellently positioned camera angles including a camera angle positioned directly behind the rider, while the second camera angle is positioned further back to provide two separate views of the bike, opposing bikes and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments that certainly caters for the appropriate distances of third-person perspectives. There are also two first-person camera angles with the first mounted to the front of the rider’s crash helmet showing the front of the bike with the rider’s hands gripping the handlebars, while the second first-person camera angle is an actual rider’s eye view looking out through the crash helmet that authentically limits the peripheral vision of the rider at the bottom left and right of the camera angle. Camera customisation returns as the player can zoom in or out or set the camera to default for both third-person camera angles.
Free camera is available from the pause menu; allowing you to observe the closer details of the racing in the foreground and trackside environments; to the extent of a genuinely quality photo mode. Free camera is a really great feature; allowing the camera to be positioned with freedom within the vicinity of the racing action including extensive customisation of images such as panning, camera height, zooming in or out and anywhere from a minor tilt to a full sideways tilt. Free camera also includes the ability to hide opponents, position the logo in any corner and choose from a 16:9, widescreen 2.35:1 or square 1:1 display ratio; vignetting, chromatic aberration and grain; nine image filters and filter intensity; half a dozen masks overlaying the picture and mask intensity; and colour palette customisation including brightness, contrast, saturation and gamma in a fully immersive environment that works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature.
You can watch a full race replay with the ability to watch in slow motion, pause, fast forward, rewind, changing camera angles for a different view of the action and to view the action from the previous or next rider, restart the replay or enter the free camera feature. You can view the replay from six camera angles including a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the bike with the TV camera angle changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo, while the two third-person camera angles are positioned directly and further behind the rider to provide a view of the bike and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments. There are also four first-person camera angles with the first mounted to the front of the rider’s crash helmet showing the front of the bike with the rider’s hands gripping the handlebars, a second camera is positioned inside the crash helmet for a true rider’s eye perspective as you can see slightly obscured edges of the camera and a noticeable difference in audio, a third camera mounted to the side of the crash helmet and shows more of the bike and handlebars and a fourth camera mounted towards the back of your rider’s crash helmet overlooking the front of the bike. Every replay camera angle showcases the physicality endured by the bike and rider throughout each race as the riders explore the bumpy deformed terrain. It would be great to see some of these camera angles make the transition from replays to gameplay such as the additional two crash helmet mounted camera angles and the Gran Turismo style dynamic TV coverage; as they are that good and would further complement the immersion within the authenticity of the racing experience. It would have been amazing for the gameplay and replay camera angles to include a helicopter camera angle from high above the circuit following the action with the sound effect of the helicopter in the audio mix.
Supercross 3: The Official Videogame has multiple downloadable content packs available including an outfit starting pack, credits multiplier, official outfit pack, track editor pack, official racing pack, a cup competition, official gear pack and a neckbrace pack that are all individually priced at anywhere from £2.49 to £4.99 each, while also being available as part of a season pass to effectively pre-order each of the content packs at a cheaper bundled price of £24.99.
It is disappointing not to see Milestone Italy’s Supercross: The Official Videogame 3, any of the Supercross franchise or any of their recent games release on Vita since the release of MXGP and MotoGP 14 in 2014 after a total of half a dozen excellent retail releases on Vita, although remote play is a consolation. Supercross: The Official Videogame 3’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are the same quality as the PS4 version, while the control scheme has been optimised resulting in acceleration being remapped from R2 to the bottom right of the touch screen and braking has moved from L2 to the bottom left of the touch screen, although they would have been better suited to R and L respectively, especially as you may have to lift your thumb from steering with the left analogue stick to brake. I had the best remote play experience with Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 after customising the control scheme in which acceleration and braking was remapped to R1 and L1 respectively with rewinding moving to the bottom right of the touch screen or the top right of the rear touch pad and engaging the clutch moving from L1 to the bottom left of the touch screen or the top left of the rear touch pad; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are almost fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of holding R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to use the front brake or reverse; pressing L1 to use the clutch; pressing R1 to rewind the action following a collision or a general loss of track time; pressing X to use the rear brake; pressing triangle to look back behind your bike; pressing O to manually shift up a gear; pressing square to manually shift down a gear; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your bike accordingly; moving the direction of the right analogue stick forwards, backwards, left or right to appropriately distribute your rider’s weight; moving the left analogue stick forwards or backwards to push or pull your bike’s handlebars respectively; pressing up or down on the d-pad to cycle through to the next or previous camera angle respectively; pressing left or right on the d-pad to look to the left or right respectively; pressing R1 to chat in online multiplayer; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.
Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality and the touch pad can only be mapped to once instead of the left and right sides having their own purpose. It is surprising as the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is utilised to clear the visor of the crash helmet during the first-person perspective, whereas an optional control scheme from MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear. Vibration occurs when riding over bumpier terrain during sharp turns, upon landing after a large jump with plenty of air and crashes with your rider falling off his bike or collisions with other bikes. The light bar produces light green for a neutral gear on the starting grid or when safely within gear at a low gear ratio to tie-in with the sponsor’s logo, while yellow represents a medium gear ratio to show the rider should start preparing to shift up a gear and light to dark orange fading into red signifies that it is time to shift up a gear at the end of the gear ratio.
Graphically, Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is as impressive in direct comparison to Milestone Italy’s other franchises with a continued emphasis on realism from photogrammetry and aerial drone scanning for 1:1 accuracy of track design in relation to their real life counterparts to rider, bike and animations, lighting and particle effects.
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, single player menus, online multiplayer menus, online leaderboards, rider customisation menus, track editor menus, options menus, add-ons menus, extras menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left and right analogue sticks, directional pad and face buttons, while tapping the touch pad displays a listing of your statistics. Menu backgrounds are slick in their respective presentation as the camera pans around the track and stadium as pyro lights up the surroundings in a blue tint.
Pre-session and post-session commentary certainly helps to increase the atmosphere in the build-up to races and celebrate the race results thereafter. Pre-session and post-session commentary is provided by professional motorsports commentator Ralph Sheheen and 7 time Motocross 450cc champion, 5 time Supercross 450cc champion and greatest of all time Ricky Carmichael; hopefully showing an intent from Milestone Italy to include commentary during races in their future motorsports games. Sound effects project an authenticity of the on track racing action as you hear revving bike engines, applying brakes, heavy landings after large jumps and crashes, accompanied by an atmospheric crowd with air horns, gasps and applause in appreciation of the riders during the build-up to each session and as sessions are in progress as riders are on track, alongside a fusion of rap with rock instrumentation throughout the soundtrack. Rather impressively, there are varying audio mixes based upon your chosen camera angle such as the rider’s eye viewpoint from within the crash helmet having a more insular approach to the sound than a third-person perspective. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced any layer of audio such as bike engines, collisions, pre-session and post-session commentary or ambience from the atmospheric crowd.
The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 42 bronze trophies, 5 silver trophies, 3 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. The majority of the trophies are based upon skill as you are required to win races across various scenarios such as 17 bronze trophies for winning at 17 tracks in single event, championship or career mode, alongside the Rookie of the Year bronze trophy for winning a bootcamp race; the Hairsplitter bronze trophy for saving a custom bike setup; and the Stylist bronze trophy for changing the colour of the nickname on the suit of your custom rider. There are 3 online related trophies including the Where Are You From bronze trophy for completing a main event in a custom track created by another player; the Track Builder bronze trophy for validating a total of 5 custom tracks; and the Eat My Dust bronze trophy for beating the time of the ghost of another player in time attack mode. Harder trophies include the Legends Never Die gold trophy for reaching the podium in 100 main events in any mode; the 99 Problems gold trophy for reaching prestige level 99; and the To Infinity and Beyond gold trophy for completing all trials in challenge mode with the best result. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 30 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 mostly follows Milestone Italy’s usual approach to difficulty levels and physics. There are five difficulty levels including very easy, easy, medium, hard and realistic with the major differences between difficulty levels being the A.I. becomes gradually more clinical with each step up in difficulty as they will wait for an appropriate overtaking opportunity and capitalise on any mistake you make. There are further factors involved in the difficulty level besides the A.I. as there are two physics settings including standard and advanced that increases the corresponding difficulty curve as both physics settings each provide unique handling traits. Standard physics feel more arcade oriented with a lower chance of crashing when you have become accustomed to the handling and jumps, while advanced physics are far more realistic and fully depend upon you perfecting the weight distribution of your rider throughout every corner and jump of the track. The rewind mechanic can reduce the difficulty by having numerous opportunities to rewind back to before a crash actually occurred, alongside flow aid that depicts how best to approach each jump and achieve an accurate flow to reduce the lap time. Between the five difficulty levels, two physics settings and plenty of riding assists that can be turned on or off; players have full customisation over the degree of challenge they prefer to encounter in any single player mode as well as the difficulty for A.I. controlled riders, physics, gear shifts and riding assists during online multiplayer.
Disappointingly, there is no split-screen multiplayer as implementation of all online multiplayer content into a comprehensive split-screen multiplayer feature for two players locally would have genuinely excelled Supercross: The Official Videogame franchise’s third iteration. However, it is important to take note that it is not an unrealistic addition given that Milestone Italy’s MotoGP series has previously featured split-screen multiplayer for two players.
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3’s online multiplayer performance is just as good as single player on official or custom tracks with the same sense of speed, graphics, up to 12 players and the capability of A.I. fleshing out the field. Game mode, class, A.I. difficulty, collisions and sort by filters within lobbies list provides a quick and efficient way of searching for the online lobby that best matches your preferred settings. Alternatively, players can utilise public or private lobby creation or race director lobby creation to implement your preferences including the length of the game mode such as a single event or championship with the additional options of the category of event comprising of race length from a short, medium or realistic quantity of laps; quantity of races within a championship that can be anywhere from 3 to 17 races; 450SX, 250SX East or 250SX West class bikes; an optional qualifying session; no A.I. or A.I. difficulty curve; collisions; free, standard or advanced physics; the ability to race on a player’s custom track; and track and weather selection policies for random selection or voting. If you have very limited time, none of those options matter to you and you do not want to create your own lobby, then you can just leave the options on their default settings and search for a lobby with a simple press of the X button. Despite having A.I. opponents to flesh out the field; the host of the online lobby has to wait until a second player joins instead of being able to start the race immediately, while players who join an online lobby during a race have to wait until the next race instead of taking the place of the A.I. controlled rider that is furthest up the field.
Three new mini-games have been introduced to expand the online multiplayer gameplay. Knock-out mode sees players earning points based upon their position at the end of each elimination, although a twist balances up the gameplay as the player in last is re-positioned in first for the next round. Meanwhile, checkpoint mode challenges players to race skilfully around the compound by carefully positioning their bikes to ride through every checkpoint on the way to the finish line. There is also a treasure hunt mode that tasks players to find hidden treasures situated throughout the compound map.
Time Attack online leaderboards focus on fastest times from each player with rankings covering all 17 tracks across the 250 East, 250 West and 450 classes with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); XP level; bike manufacturer; best time; weather; and the physics setting used during the player’s fastest time. Players can challenge ghost lap times or compare their positioning on the leaderboards with players that occupy the top positions, globally, from your friends list and to immediately find and display your position within any given leaderboard.
Supercross: The Official Videogame 3’s replayability stems from numerous official licenses for riders, bikes and teams; complimented by significant game modes including career, single event, championship, compound and time attack modes in single player accompanied by extensive bike and rider customisation, alongside a track editor, competitive online multiplayer and online leaderboards, difficulty levels, physics settings and the unpredictability of the result in each session combine together collectively keep players coming back for many hours in every mode and feature. However, there is no split-screen multiplayer and MotoGP’s managerial mode should be where the Supercross franchise looks to improve in the future. Meanwhile, it is concerning that the track editor still requires the player to be online to even create a track; therefore posing the question if the track editor would still be available to use if the online servers were ever to go offline.
Overall, Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 delivers yet another exceptional effort from the masters of motorsports at Milestone Italy. Supercross: The Official Videogame 3 is highly recommended to fans of Supercross, motorbikes and Milestone Italy. Hopefully future Supercross sequels from Milestone Italy will see the introduction of split-screen multiplayer and managerial career mode that were previously seen in the MotoGP franchise such as MotoGP 17.
9 out of 10
• Title: Supercross: The Official Videogame 3
• Developer: Milestone
• Publisher: Koch Media
• System: PS4
• Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1/2-12 (Online Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
• Hard Drive Space Required: 15.18GB (Version 1.06 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)