Achieving realism in a racing simulation can be a tough task to undertake. Many games bend the laws of physics in order to create a seemingly more pleasing user experience. That’s why when a game like MotoGP 20 strives for realism and largely succeeds, it’s a victory on two fronts.
MotoGP 20 Details
Platform: PlayStation 4, Xbox One
Reviewed on: Xbox One
Developer: Milestone SRL
Publisher: Milestone SRL
Modes: Single-player, multiplayer
ESRB Rating: E (Everyone)
Real deal racing
MotoGP 20 clearly intends to be a racing simulation for gamers and fans with a big investment in the sport. I started my journey on “Easy” difficulty, and even then I found that I had much to learn. These bikes don’t fly around the track defying the laws of inertia. Prepare to learn how they really ride.
Naturally the object of success gears around finding the best line. You’ll be trying to accelerate, brake, and lean in tandem with the best possible path around the track, and mistakes are costly. Whereas a grim over-correction in a car might just cause you to spin out in an auto race, here you’ll get tossed from your bike in a full wipeout.
Furthermore, the races don’t bend toward generating artificial excitement. If you fall behind quickly, the CPU racers won’t conveniently throttle down as you play catch-up. When you’re out of the race, you’re out of the race.
What this all leads up to is a challenging path for those who desire it, but nonetheless a fair one. If you want a sporty racing title that dilutes physics and always gives you a chance to win, then MotoGP may not be for you. However if you want a realistic experience that takes practice and learning then buckle up—it’s going to be a lengthy and thrilling ride.
A few amenities
The biggest strengths of MotoGP 20 come from its challenging authenticity. For the most part you are in the deep end when it comes to developing your skills. That said, the process isn’t entirely draconian. The game does still incorporate a few common among racing games to assist players.
First off, it should be relieving to know that MotoGP 20 does have a rewind feature built in. This means that a truly egregious error does not have to spoil your day entirely. Many have come to rely on this mechanic to keep their sanity in modern racing games, so it’s nice to see it here even when it doesn’t quite fit the ultra-realism theme.
In fact, the rewind feature in MotoGP 20 works quite well—better than in some other racers from smaller studios in recent years. I like that the rewind feature lets you resume at any time along its path (as opposed to fixed 1-2 second bursts). Furthermore when you resume the race, you’ll get a slow-motion rolling start as opposed to an abrupt restart at full-speed.
The game also invokes another common feature with a “best line” path superimposing over the track. As with most racing games, it not only draws the ideal line to follow, but changes colour dynamically indicating where to brake or accelerate. This is pretty much the only crutch MotoGP 20 offers however—beyond this it’s truly ride or die.
A career on and off the bike
MotoGP 20 isn’t just an intense riding simulation. In “Career Mode” you’ll manage all aspects of a real run at the GP championship. This includes everything from signing contracts to dealing with team management, mechanical research, and more.
It’s actually quite impressive how many factors the player must consider and manage in career mode. Right off the bat you’ll be fielding contract offers from multiple real-life sponsors. You’ll also hire your own personal manager, chief engineer, and data analyst.
None of these positions are ever safe however, and you’ll have the option along the way to fire and hire new employees, all with different strengths and weaknesses. How you ultimately choose to staff your squad can have a huge impact on your career path overall.
You’ll also be tasked with choosing branching paths for your research team, and assigning individual researchers to different projects. These projects lead to invaluable improvements to your bike’s performance, and are therefore a huge key to success in the unforgiving environment of competition.
A well-rounded challenge
All of these various features and aspects of career mode add up to an almost RPG-like gaming experience. The goal truly seems to be to immerse players in every corner of the world of MotoGP. If you have the time to dedicate and want to become lost in the universe of the sport of MotoGP, then this just may be the simulation you are looking for.
Of course there are a few shorter snippets of content for those who may want a casual ride now and then. The “Historical Mode” generates random races that let players unlock new bikes and legendary riders. There is also a full suite of online multiplayer options. Finally, players can also play one-off championships and other events.
MotoGP 20 also features a fairly decent selection of customizable avatars and gear. Furthermore, a robust graphics editor allows those with creative aspirations to create and import their own designs.
MotoGP 20 is an ultra-realistic racing sim with plenty of challenge and reward
MotoGP 20 isn’t the sort of game to invoke feelings of popping a quarter in a machine and going for a ride. It strives for authenticity in every aspect of the sport, and ultimately provides a slow but thrilling burn for those who are willing to invest significant time in its career mode path. It provides a healthy and fleshed-out balance between realistic racing on the track and true-to-life career management off the track.
It’s not the sort of game I would recommend for a quick taste of racing action, or a friendly race with the family. However, as a comprehensive RPG racing journey, it will certainly have lasting appeal for those who want to dedicate some serious time to true MotoGP immersion.
+ Comprehensive career mode
+ Realistic physics
+ Well-designed rewind feature
– Strong focus on realism may not be as appealing to the average player
OVERALL ASSESSMENT OF MOTOGP 20
Lasting Appeal/Replayability: 4/5
Overall Rating 4/5 (80%)
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