The MotoGP series took a year gap last instalment and instead Milestone released Valentino Rossi: The Game. Now they’ve returned to their staple franchise. But was it worth the wait?
This is the first MotoGP game I’ve had the chance to play, race simulators are often quite intimidating, and MotoGP 17 is no exception. New players will find it hard to adjust from the usual rip ‘n’ tear racers like Need for Speed or Burnout. You have to follow the guideline religiously and brake when you’re told to, there is no wiggle room. Otherwise, you’ll careen off the track and bail off your bike. There are beginner settings, auto braking and even turn assistance which is a must for your first set of races. They’re like stabilisers to get you used to the systems in play, but you’ll have to take them off if you want to have any fun.
The graphics really disappoint, they’re rubbish, like early 360 era. I would have thought more development resources could have been put into the game engine, seeing as it’s pretty much the same game from 2015. It does effect the experience because the goal is to immerse you as a GP racer but when all the bikes and riders look stiff and the environments colourless and without life, it really breaks any immersion they were trying to create.
Watch the MotoGP 17 launch trailer:
The partnership with Dorna Sports is one of the biggest features this time around. Bikes, riders and tracks all have their appropriate sponsors, live video of several events and tracks are present and give this sense that you’re about to watch the event on television. This is rather fun and gets you pumped before a race. This partnership also gave Milestone the ability to record the bikes on the track so the audio this time around is far better and more authentic. Not perfect but my ears aren’t attuned to varying bike sounds. Personally, it sounds like a constant drone, but I’ve been told by GP fans that it’s far better than 2015’s outing.
The limitations of the outdated engine are most noticeable in two areas: the physics engine and the AI. Both are unreliable and unpredictable [not in a good way]. Sometimes you’ll corner too sharply, and your rider will fly off the bike and slide across the grass. Great. But sometimes he’ll do a million forward rolls and land as if he’s a puppet with his strings cut. This same unreliability is seen in the AI. They are so dogged to hit that perfect line, that they’ll try to take it no matter what the circumstance. Even when there are racers in the way, causing them to smash into the back of another and slow themselves down or outright wreck their bike. This isn’t as common as some of the other bugs, but it still makes you shake your head as you ride past them.
View some MotoGP 17 screenshots in our gallery:
Career mode is the shining light that will hold your attention for the duration of your playtime. You are able to control one rider or a team of riders. Working your way to the top and competing in the toughest competitions. You’ll have the chance to choose your bike, sponsor and upgrades to keep you placing first. You’ll be able to pick your team of riders and their pit crews, even activities between races. As with anything you plug many, many hours into, this mode can get repetitive, but you’ll hardly notice because it’s rather engrossing. It is by far the best mode, alongside multiplayer, although multiplayer doesn’t offer anything new or exciting, same old, same old.
And that’s the best way to describe MotoGP 17. Same old, same old. It doesn’t innovate in any area except for a good career mode. Lacklustre graphics, unreliable AI and dodgy physics hold this racing simulator back. The sponsors and sound design will separate it from its last iteration, but it’s not enough. They have said that they plan to join with Dorna Sports and develop the game into an eSports game. Whether that means this title, or MotoGP 18, who knows, and I feel it would work as an eSports title but not in its current state. The engine needs to be scrapped, and they need to start again for the new generation. They should try and breathe new life into the franchise and cattle some new players, not just the die hard. Maybe add some fun side modes that offer a different experience, elimination type game modes. Or maybe delve even deeper into the career mode, offering more choice in crew and upgrades, a story mode perhaps. Milestone’s Ride 2 was better, and MXGP3 looks far superior, this year MotoGP 17 serves to wet your appetite for either the next game in the series or a completely different one instead.
MotoGP 17 was reviewed using a digital code supplied by the developer.
Publisher: Milestone Developer: Milestone Release Date: June 15, 2017 Reviewed On: PS4 Also available on: Xbox One, PC/Steam