If you’ve recently played the original Excitebike via the Switch Online NES emulator (or just have fond memories of playing it in the past), then you likely have a good idea of just how far the motocross sub-genre of racing games has come. It’s no surprise that Monster Energy Supercross – The Official Videogame 2 (or just Monster Energy Supercross 2) is leaps and bounds more advanced than that 30-year-old antique, but I was surprised by just how in-depth of a racing experience it offers. Having just wrapped up my review of the PC version of the game, I was intrigued as to how the Switch version would fare. I’m happy to report that the devs at Milestone have done an excellent job at the porting process here.
I recently reviewed Monster Energy Supercross 2 on PC prior to playing the Switch version. As a result, this review is more of a comparison between that and the Switch version. Thus, for a more in-depth analysis on the gameplay itself, please check out my original review of the PC version of this game.
Monster Energy Supercross 2 on Switch is very much the same as its PC counterpart. I was concerned at first due to how complex the physics model is, but it actually feels very good to play this game on Switch, even in handheld mode.
Perhaps some motocross diehards may not consider this to be a fully-fledged simulator, but compared to other games I’ve played (such as The Crew 2), the riding mechanics are much more in-depth. Essentially, gameplay revolves around you using both sticks, with the left stick used for shifting the bike left and right and the right controlling where your rider’s weight is distributed. Learning how to simultaneously handle the balance between the two is the key to winning.
Kicking up mud on the go
Even with the Joy-Con attached to the sides of the system, I found it very natural to play Supercross 2. Another area of concern was the Switch’s inability to recognize analog trigger inputs. Gauging speed and braking power is very important in Supercross 2, so I had become accustomed to making small changes with the triggers of my Xbox One controller. Thankfully, even with the digital-only inputs of the Switch, this didn’t really turn out to be a problem with the gameplay. In fact, I feel like I actually control my rider a bit better here on Switch (but that just could be due to being accustomed to the game already). Nevertheless, whether using a Pro Controller or pair of Joy-Con, this plays really well. Since things like the AI difficulty and complexity of handling can all be adjusted, you’ll be able to fine-tune the game to feel exactly how you want.
Of course, the presentation is just about the only area where the Switch version of Monster Energy Supercross 2 doesn’t really stack up. My gaming laptop runs Supercross 2 at 1080p with a few frame rate hitches, and 900p smooths it out completely. On Switch, the frame rate sticks to 30 FPS most of the time, but the visuals have been pared back significantly. While some small visual flairs like clothes and loose bike parts (like the plastic fenders) fluttering in the breeze still remain, depth and particle effects are either absent or barely visible. Shadow detail is drawn in as the rider moves along, which can be distracting in some areas. But really, it’s the resolution that stuck out to me.
Fuzzy yet functional
The game seems to make use of adaptive resolution techniques, hovering in the seemingly 720p range and lower. This results in some very blurry scenes from time to time, particularly in handheld mode. When it does sharpen up, the image ends up looking a bit rough and grainy due to the lack of anti-aliasing and depth of field effects. However, all of this is to be expected given the Switch’s limited power. The most important thing is that even if the visual fidelity has been lowered, the core gameplay experience has still very much remained intact.
Monster Energy Supercross 2 is the same experience on Switch as it is on PC and the other platforms, albeit not as pretty. However, all of the content is exactly the same, unlike with some other multi-platform games on Switch (*cough* FIFA *cough*). There still isn’t a huge amount of racers on Switch, and while this isn’t a traditional entry, I enjoyed it nonetheless. Thus, my feelings for the Switch version of Supercross 2 are the same as its PC brother—it’s a solid racing experience.
A review code was provided by the publisher.