When playing Moto GP17, I came to the game as a blank slate. I not much of a sport game gamer myself, and I haven’t played a racing game in a while. But Moto GP17 coincided with my new found interest in well Moto GP races, and I took this oppurtunity to explore a long ignored genre in my gaming library.
At face value, I can safely say that Moto GP17 is comprehensive and as close to the an actual Moto GP event as a video game could be. Menu screens are littered with official pictures, while in-race graphics are identical to those you will see on television. Something which a new fan like me would pick out instantly. With a Dorna-backed esports championship coming up this year, the vision of creating an official representation of the races is clearlt visible.
MotoGP 17 is a racing game developed by Milestone and published by Square Enix. The game released on the PS4, Xbox One and PC on the 11th Of July.
The game provides 4 very basic options. The first one is quick play, which allows you to jump into any 2017 MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 or Red Bull Rookies roster and jump straight into a race. You can play these races alone, online or in classic couch co-op mode which in my opinion increases the value of this game exponentially. Classic content also returns, with a plethora of historic machinery to play with ranging from Valentino Rossi’s Aprilia RS125 through to Wayne Gardner’s Honda NSR500 and Casey Stoner’s 2007 Ducati. A lot of the classic machinery does need to be unlocked by completing various in-game challenges, but the grind is certainly worth it. All of these bikes can be taken online, too.
That grind has to happen primarily in either of the 2 career modes. The first one called the Manager mode has you creating your very own Moto GP team. Much like in the 2015 game, you can create your own team, complete with custom livery, and sign sponsors to fund your career. The better you do, the more in-game cash you receive, which can be spent on new machinery. In this year’s game that money can also be spent on riders to partner you in your teams, as well as on staff to carry out various tasks within your outfit. It feels very much like Codemasters’ Grid career mode, which I very much enjoyed. Its something that you have come to expect from most sports game in recent times and the mode once again makes excellent use of its official status and link with Dorna.
The multiplayer too offers a distinct set of challenges. Racing against human opponents has an aura of un predicatability that keeps you going. Leads maintained for 4 laps could be squandered, a bad turn could demote you or in sometimes even prove fortunate causing others to crash around you. I did found the servers laggy and the lobbies a little longish, but once we got into the race, the fun was palpable.
Of course if winning individual glory is what your after there is always the Career mode, which has you either creating a rider from scratch and choosing a team or select an existing rider and take him on his Moto GP journey, starting from the Red Bull Rookies circuit. Every race earns you reputation, and the pay-off increases with how much your race replicates the real thing. Play the practice, qualification and the race, would mean a much more return on reputation. Same goes for turning off auto gear, no collision damage and increasing the AI difficulty. Its easy to choose the level of immersion you want in this mode, with an option to play just the race, the race and the qualifier, or the race the qualifier and a practice session to get you in the groove.
Gameplay And Mechanics
The immersion is not just limited to the race weekend of course. The mechanics of the game actually feel like they are simulating actual racing beasts. The Ducati is a fast beast in a straight line but heavy in the bends, while the Yamaha is silky smooth and nimble. Before you start the Career mode, you would ask to choose a style of racing that you want to do which would affect your handling, your speeds, your turns etc. Before every race you could tune up your bike according to your needs. Think you are not able to burst out of corners fast enough, explain the problem to your AI staff and they would either tune the bike automatically or if you have the know-how do it yourself. The control scheme itself is pretty detailed and while in AUTO mode, you won’t be using much of these options, the game does really open up and become more rewarding once you start to master the various options it provides.
The AI too is relentless, you can’t just forge ahead in the beginning and maintain that lead. There is an actual battle for your position and you are always being attacked by someone. It rewards your knowledge of bike racing, and is definitely a steep learning curve. You can’t just pick it up and start winning. You don’t need to know how leaning works, how turning works, how collisions work, but if you do they will make you inherently better at the game. The best tool for an amateur, is the reverse time mode. A slick tool which you can activate, whenever you crash or make a bad turn almost Prince of Persia style. Its a great and well thought out addition to the game, especially considering some of the races can be won or lost on a single corner.
Graphics Sound and Performance
Compared to recent years, MotoGP 17 is the best looking MotoGP game ever. But that isn’t saying much. Textures are a bit nicer and the game runs smoothly enough thanks to its 60fps, but the overall visual fidelity of the game leaves much to be desired, especially three years into the current console generation. Maybe if Milestone start using their latest engine from next year, things could start looking up again. But when it comes to sound design, Moto GP17 has done a good job. The KTM RC16 screams while the Moto3 bikes angrily buzz. The sound design is a massive step in the right direction and one that should get better when Milestone switches to its new game engine next year.
One of my friends who has played the previous Moto GP says that last year had a better Career mode as it followed the career of a certain Valentino Rossi. But apart from that even he agreed that the game was an improvement in almost every other area. He was also pleasently suprised that the multiplayer lag times have improved, no wonder another effect of the impending eSports machine they want Moto GP17 to become.
Moto GP17 is not pick and play. It needs commitment and dedication to get good at. The achivements and the trade off feel worth it for the skill required and progressively make you feel more confident of turning off the AUTO options. Its a rewarding game for most, a fun game for Moto GP enthusiats.UPVOTE