Racing games usually fall into two categories: Arcade or Simulation.
Sim racers go for realism over everything, raising the difficulty bar so high that casual players will struggle to go fast. Arcade racers soften the edges of racing so much that the challenge all-but disappears.
The one genre that breaks these molds is bike games. It is impossible to make a bike game, even an arcade-style one, that isn't challenging.
Throw in mud, jumps, over 20 other competitors, and crashes that aren't out of place in GTA and you have a game that is fun, testing, and wonderfully irreverent.
Welcome to Monster Energy Supercross 3.
Developed and published by Milestone, the team behind the official MotoGP games, Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 comes to all platforms on February 4.
FIGHT HARD: Contact is welcome in Supercross 3
The first thing you notice with any game is the graphics, and in Monster Energy Supercross 3 it really stands out.
Your rider gets a cool intro into the stadium, you enter the starting blocks, and off you go.
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The mud and mayhem of the bikes is beautiful, and the arenas really pop. There is no blurry distance here, even the back row of the biggest stadiums are crystal clear.
When you take to the outdoors the rain adds another layer of chaos to the experience. The enormous training areas give you wide-open spaces that look the part too.
INTRO: The tutorial provides key info, just keep an eye on the track!
This game is far more than a 3D Trials, but it does have some similarities. You need to pay attention to the balance of your bike at all times. That is easier said than done, but the gameplay rewards patience, practice, and precision.
This is not an easy game to pick up and go quickly thanks to the unique nature of supercross. Speed here is less about hammering the accelerator and all about flow and rhythm over jumps.
Power-sliding your way around a corner is an amazing feel, but it can ruin your approach for a set of jumps, and getting one wrong means losing time.
Fortunately, the controls are very intuitive, and the assists helpful for those less comfortable on two wheels. The joint-brake assist is a must for any new player, and it will take time to understand how the weight positioning of your rider affects you.
FLY: Take to the skies if you dare
There is also excellent in-air movement and rotation systems that not only allow for a few tricks when you get big air, but also for correcting yourself when your launch angle is a little off.
Meanwhile, the Flow Aid is Supercross 3's version of a racing line assist, this shows you which jump you want to take off from and where you should be landing to negotiate the stretch quickly. It's easier said than done though.
The bikes are responsive and controlling them is a matter of understanding throttle input, weight placement, and steering, and there is a nice tutorial to get you used to everything.
PICK YOUR PATH: Choose who you want to ride for
You start by selecting a class, 450 or 250, and then get dropped into a Bootcamp Race to show off what you can do.
The result doesn't matter too much, as you are still offered a deal from a team regardless, but the better you do the better the offer will be.
For the first time in the series, official teams are part of career mode, which is great to see. The likes of Yamaha, Suzuki, and Honda are all available for the player to choose from.
After that, it's time to pick your team and away you go.
There are objectives to hit which give you extra credits so you can customize your rider, but the aim is to rack up the points and win it all.
Winning at 250 will of course bump you up to 450, where the competition increases and the rewards are even higher.
Within career mode there are plenty of options too. If you don't have long to play the game you can select one shot, where you just play the Main Event rather than all the qualification events.
The race length can be set to short too, giving you a five minute + 1 lap race. Perfect for the rider that is short on time.
PICK YOUR FAVOURITE: There are hundreds of options for every item
This is where Supercross 3 really shines. There are endless options to modify your bike and your rider. From your name and number on the back to your helmet, goggles, and butt patch.
You can move the number location on your bike and there is a suite of options for how your rider looks too.
That includes the option to make a female rider for the first time.
CREATE: Make your perfect track or a nightmare one!
The options for customization continue into the track editor, which is the crowning glory of this game.
You can build away to your heart's content and make a track Travis Pastrana would be proud of.
The tutorial tells you everything you need to know, from what the track must have to be valid, to what your options are to add to it.
You can choose your location, your start point, and add as many jumps, bumps, and turns as you can squeeze in.
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This feature means there is endless gameplay opportunities for you beyond the 17 official tracks and nine compound tracks.
Dedicated servers guarantee a strong online experience with minimised lag and latency.
With this added stabilisation new game modes have been added with Checkpoint race, Treasure Hunt, and Knock-out modes joining the standard race options, Triple Crown, Showdown, and Championship settings.
There is no split-screen option, but you can invite friends into the compound to free-roam together.
Monster Energy Supercross 3 hits all the right buttons. Its precise control and realistic gameplay is blended with just enough chaos and mayhem to entertain.
Collisions with other riders are not immediately disastrous, but will cause you to slow, but getting pitched off your bike after a bad landing doesn't end your race.
SLIDING IN: Corners are best taken sideways
The challenging nature of the game means you will struggle to keep up with the AI at first even on the easiest setting, but that only adds to the longevity of the game as you push to be champion.
If you are after an easy racer then this isn't for you, but if you want a fun game that will also have you on the edge of your seat looking to get that perfect lap then Monster Energy Supercross 3 is the perfect game.
RealSport Rating: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
Monster Energy Supercross - The Official Videogame 3 will be available worldwide starting February 4 on all platforms: PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows PC (via Steam), Google Stadia and Nintendo Switch.
You can pre-order it now at all good retailers for £49.99.