If you are a fan of Motorbike sim racers, you’ve only really had two options. MotoGP and Ride. One focuses on the real-life racers and the MotoGP league and the other focuses on the bikes and their history as well as accurately simulating motorbike racing.
The game starts with an initial practice race and then the ability to create your racer, however during 99% of the game you never see his or her face due to being in motorcycle leathers and helmet. Seems a bit redundant. You will likely go to the Career mode, which in this game is presented very elegantly. Displayed as almost a bookcase full of motoring magazines, there are seven rows with ten volumes on each shelf. The consist of between 4 to 6 stages.
I am new to the motorbiking genre, so thankfully there were multiple‘Riding School’ training magazines. This is where I first discovered how long the load times were, especially when each stage was on the same track, but the game kicked you out of it after completing the stage, only to go back into it for a different mission. Most stages begin with a flying lap where the AI takes control, but on the ‘Wide Bends’ stage the driver falls off the bike that is being controlled by the computer. Small bugs and annoyances like this are littered throughout the game.
The physics is also a bit hit and miss. Sometimes heavy collisions are brushed off by the rider and other times a similar bump will throw you off your bike. This is very frustrating, but graciously the devs included a ‘Rewind’ option that will allow you to correct your mistake at any point. It took me a while to discover this, because you aren’t really given a basics tutorial despite the fact that the first thing you do is a race.
After doing your first race you will be able to adjust the difficulty from 6 main settings or tweak all the usual suspects like AI and traction control to set the game to your preference. You will then find yourself going through the hefty career mode. Possibly one of the biggest I have seen, and it’snot easy. Particularly the time attack races. This is because the difficulty settings do not adjust the times, and driving with all the assists your bike will never be able to get a gold time on these races. In some cases, this means you can’t unlock certain bikes to race in later events. You earn trophies and money as well as experience. The money buys you more bikes and the trophies unlock the next tiers.
The variety of races is quite impressive, these include Single Races, Time Attack, Point to Point, Night Races, Championships, Drag Race and Track Day, which challenges you to overtake a set amount of people in a limited time. The drag race is also quite interesting but tricky, as there aren’t many tutorials in the game. You have to change gears manually in order to get first place in a series of races and go up against 3 other racers. 2 move to the next round and 2 are eliminated.
Visually the game is mixed, the bikes look stunning and you can tell why. The developers are clearly highly passionate about bikes, so much so that during the load times you are presented with up to 3 pages of history for your currently selected bike. You can even customise how your bike looks with a livery editor akin to the Forza series. The weather effects are also stunning on the PS4 Pro. The rain is possibly the best I have seen; however,the stages and overall environment are a bit dull looking, but this may be down to real-life rather than the designers.
There are over 230 motorbikes up for grabs to add to your collection and 30 real world tracks including Laguna Seca, which feels very different on a bike!
Undoubtedly, the developers will; be supporting this game for months to come. Patches will fix the minor bugs and hopefully the load times will also improve, though unlikely. This game is made for fans of racing, and particularly motorcycle racing. Car racers may struggle to get to grips with the handling and will either embrace it or quit, so be wary if you are looking to buy this title.
- Replay Value