Founded in 1996, the Italian-based developer Milestone has carved out quite a spot in the racing genre. With a library that boasts franchise names like MotoGP, MXGP, Monster Energy Supercross, Hot Wheels, and more, their reputation for providing quality racing titles throughout the year continues to grow. With the release of MotoGP 22, let’s talk about what works and what does not in this MotoGP 22 review.
MotoGP 22 Review
I was lucky enough to participate in a private beta, and in my preview, I mentioned my excitement for the new precision-based physics and the enhanced track surfaces. Now with the full retail version, it’s time to find out if the MotoGP series is ready to jump onto the next-generation platforms, or is it still living in the past? Let’s find out.
What’s New In MotoGP 22, According To The Devs
- New face animations, improved 3-D characters, and pits
- Ride Height Device – Manually manage locking mechanism and control suspension compression
- Enhanced Tracks – Surfaces have been improved for better control and rideability
- Improved Suspension System – Refined for better curb and surface recognition
- Tire Deformation – Realistic tire behavior creating an experience based on reality
- New Tutorial System – Series of short lessons to help onboard newcomers to the series
What I Like
Gameplay And Physics
For a title and series such as the MotoGP franchise, proper physics that blur the line between gaming and authenticity can be a tricky balance. For MotoGP 22, one of the main selling points touted in the reveal and marketing afterward was a newly implemented and enhanced track surfaces and suspension package.
Those two improved additions are simply explaining the improved physics in the game, and thankfully they ring true and enhanced my enjoyment on the track. The improvements to the bike control and connectivity felt in the controller between the bike and the surface offer a more significant feel around the track and allowed me to visually see where I was strong and where I needed improvements.
This is important because the AI competition found in MotoGP 22 is solid and aggressive. My understanding of reducing my times getting around the track became very important as my career progressed.
And, yes, the AI is smart, fair, and aggressive on the track. The AI found in MotoGP 22 is the best ever in the series, and by best I don’t mean unrealistic and cannot be beaten. I won my fair share of races, lost some heartbreaking races, and occasionally shuffled to the back of the pack. The AI in MotoGP 22 isn’t perfect either, and by that I mean the AI racers make in-race mistakes, the same as humans do. Some of those mistakes come independently of myself and other riders, and some are caused by the infamous first-turn aggression or race to the finish. The mistakes feel real and often had me exclaiming during many of the races I participated in, career mode or not.
The bottom line is the combination of the improved on-track physics and the realistic AI helped create an immersive and addictive MotoGP title that I have not enjoyed at this level, maybe ever.
While the career mode felt familiar as a veteran of the series, it still offers a high level of addictive fun and authenticity. Once again, the MotoGP series offers the user the opportunity to start in Moto3 and make a name for yourself, or you can jump right into the MotoGP series itself. I love having to prove my worth week in and week out, so I chose the path of starting in the Moto3 series.
Initially, the game gives two options as you start your career. The first option is to join a team in the lower ranks and prove yourself over time. The second option, the one I chose, allowed me to start my team from scratch. Choosing to create a team opened up my career mode with a more prominent inclusion of the R&D department, the hiring and firing of team managers and developers, and allowed me autonomous power on how and where to allocate my incoming funds from each weekend.
Regardless of which option you choose, both paths offer a similar route to securing a spot amongst the elite on the MotoGP circuit. Although not loaded with an abundance of depth and options, each week during your career mode you will be trying to manage your time by making sure your research and development team is working on upgrading your bike, your team manager is securing the best financial options available, and if it’s a race weekend you are at the track trying to ensure the best finish possible.
The season is 52 weeks long, filled with multiple stops at different venues, decisions requiring your input, and you’re always keeping an eye on the trends within your team. If changes and improvements need to be made, that’s on you.
Another aspect I love about the career mode in MotoGP 22 is that you decide how much you want to participate. You can go straight to the race portion of the weekend and forgo qualifying and practice to help streamline and expedite the experience, but be warned that you may be hurting your chances of progressing through the ranks by cutting corners.
You will find that sponsors you’ve signed with have requirements, such as qualifying above a particular position, securing a specific row for the race, and turning in a solid performance.
The more you involve yourself, the more goals that are obtained and achieved, and the bigger the payout at the end of the weekend, which results in more financial flexibility to help facilitate a more substantial team effort throughout the year.
I would love to see a bit more in regards to the off-track options, such as PR interviews and public appearances to help push the brand and provide more opportunities to gain economic upticks. I also hope future iterations show a bit more presentation regarding the off-track operations. Seeing a facility being built or upgraded, developing a new operations bay in the garage, or opening a new PR department to help run the team’s logistics would have added some much-needed depth.
Regardless, career mode is deep and addictive in enough ways that it is worth the price of admission on its own.
If you have read any of my reviews before, you most likely know I love my presentation, especially in licensed racing titles. The category often ends up in my “what I did not like” section for many games, but that seems to be changing, which is always a good thing. Milestone has been allocating resources in the presentation department for many of their recent titles, and MotoGP 22 now benefits from that change in direction.
The new presentation package includes a lot of aspects that will feel familiar if you’re a fan of Codemasters’ F1 series. That is a high compliment, and there is still room for improvement, but the gains are noticeable. The presentation is quick, hits right, and moves on, which has always been my preference. Quick but substantial shots of the track, the garage, the crowd, and the starting grid are all on point but done so in a fashion that never had me mashing the “skip” button.
That said, there is room for improved presentation in career mode that focuses more on the driver and opportunities away from the track. Still, improvements have created a more immersive experience throughout the title.
Easier For Beginners To Get Into
One of the biggest complaints about the MotoGP series has been the level of difficulty, and in some ways, I can understand that complaint. As I mentioned above, the series requires one to be incredibly fluid on the track while navigating with precision on these beautiful machines. Thankfully, Milestone has included a great tutorial system that will help refresh some pointers for seasoned veterans of the series, and introduce the sport and game to new fans of the franchise.
The system in place is simple to progress through and includes visual cues to help you understand every facet of the sport. These include navigating the track, utilizing the bike functions, and reading and understanding of the in-race HUD. I know including a tutorial as something I liked about a game is a bit odd, but, in this case, the new tutorial package in place warrants just that.
What I Don’t Like
There wasn’t very much I was disappointed in when it comes to MotoGP 22, and darn near every improvement the developers spoke of pre-release can be seen and felt throughout the game. The one caveat (there always has to be one) is the graphics of the next-gen version. While the bikes are created with fantastic detail and often look photo-realistic, the same cannot be said for the venues themselves or the track’s surroundings.
Textures often look blurry or washed out, and the difference between the track and bikes and the track-side surroundings are noticeable, and not in a good way. Real improvements were made in many areas with MotoGP 22, and here’s to hoping the venues themselves get an upgrade with the next iteration.
While I understand that motorcycle racing in many areas of the world is still considered a niche sport, instead of sitting idly by and accepting that, Milestone is looking to change that by offering an excellent tutorial system to make the sport a bit more accessible through its licensed game. MotoGP 22 offers so much to the racing fan in terms of a deep career mode, the ability to relive some of the sport’s history, a solid online suite of options, and the ability to create some fantastic logos and graphics with a powerful customization creator. MotoGP 22 is a title that should be in every racing fan’s rotation of games, and it is finally a great year to make the leap for those who have been reluctant due to a lack of knowledge of the sport.