Rev the trottle
The latest video game incarnation of MotoGP has finally been released by game house Milestone S.r.l. and it is aptly named MotoGP 23. Milestone serves as both developer and producer, but they are by no means the first to take the plunge in to the world of MotoGP video game racing. Motorcycle racing has certainly been a popular video game topic over the decades, with creators such as THQ, Namco Games, Capcom all having a go at the two-wheeled racing category. Gone are the crude pixel-based productions with the very crude computer-generated sounds of 1987 era games. Those games certainly were fun during the day, but they were crude adaptions compared to the life like productions we see today with the likes of MotoGP 23.
Experience is what it's all about in motorcycle racing...
Even though I have experience playing other motorcycle and racing games I must admit I'm a newbie to the MotoGP franchise. However, like most all serial sports games, the graphical game features and AI aspects have no doubt been tweaked while game content is improved upon or changed from previous versions. Since MotoGP 23 comes with full licensing from the MotoGP racing authorities, it means all of the sports stars and competitor names are present. Also, all of the equipment including name brand motorcycles, helmets, tyres and everything is in the game, and it all looks simply gorgeous.
Upon installation and after entering the game, players are presented with various game options. The first task is to create a rider by inputing a name. The rider's physical appearance, his helmet, racing garb and motorcycle are then chosen. This process can be as detailed as wanted. A default looking racer set up can be used or you can go all the way and customize the rider down to the logo patches on his bike and helmet, even different number styles can be used. I love the character creation element in MotoGP 23 because it allows the game player to design and customize their racer down to the most detailed aspect possible! Everything is included and if it isn't then the games excellent editor can be used to create it!
What do MotoGP racers really do?
After sorting out what you want the racer to look like then it is on to choosing what he will actually do in game. The choices are extensive, and they include an excellent tutorial and mode called MotoGP training academy. If you are new to the game like I was, then it might be a good idea to do the training first. The training academy has been turned in to a fun game itself where tasks can be completed with bronze, silver or gold medals awarded based on performance.
Riding a motorcycle in MotoGP 23 can be very easy or it can be totally realistic which could make the game be overly difficult and frustrating for a novice. If the choice is rookie difficulty, then riding the cycle will be completely automated and simple as players just need to steer. Shifting gears, knowing how to use the breaks properly, knowing when to lean the bike and everything associated with riding a motorcycle in a race can be incrementally increased and the outcome can be an extremely challenging experience. Racing at the top level of Moto GP isn't supposed to be easy and the game comes across very well in that regard. However, if you can manage to ride at the top difficulty level and win it can be very satisfying and will indicate that an expert is present.
The AI in MotoGP 23 is fully developed and as a result, a lot of fun. Players can choose to take the created rider into a quick race scenario consisting of racing in a single Grand Prix race of choice, a championship race or a time trial race. The most popular mode of play would have to be career mode, and this is where the rider goes through a career that takes place throughout the MotoGP racing world. Everything is very detailed and the choice to tweak the bike's setup is available or players can simply let the game default mode handle that aspect. There is also the option to turn weather conditions on or off. Turning weather on can cause a rainstorm to happen mid race and that in itself will require decisions to be made. Either keep riding the dry condition bike and hope it's just a quick shower or change to the wet bike set up and hope the rain continues. Very realistic race conditions.
Building a career
A big part of the career game focuses on social media interaction with other riders and teams. When first starting out in career mode it's not only imperative to perform well in the first races, it's important to build up a good rapport with other riders and teams. Social media is where rivalries are built and it's how the racer will eventually get team recruiting offers. In the social media area other riders make comments about your rider's race performances and a reply can be made either in a complementary manner or not. These actions in social media carry over into other aspects of the career. It can affect how other riders react on the racetrack and also what their team thinks of him. This is a very nice aspect, and it adds an interesting element beyond just completing the races.
The multiplayer online mode is very well done. It's called Live GP and it is the place to go to race against other human Moto racers. The competition in these races consists of people at the same experience level and ranking. Pitting similarly experienced racers against each other is better than being thrown into a race against experts. There's a new race schedule posted online every week that contains starting times. When the appointed starting time arrives then competition in the 2, or 3 practice sessions happens, and the 2 qualifiers and final race are finished. After the race weekend is completed, ranking points are totalled up and your racer is assigned a placing on the standings chart. Riders can rise up or go down in the standings each week depending on performance. This is the same format that career mode uses in single career against the computer. Racing in an online single GP race or a single championship series is also available.
The finish line is in sight and MotoGP 23 is the winner!
I must say that developer Milestone has done an excellent job with this newest version of MotoGP. The graphics are simply stunning and everything runs smoothly on the Unreal game engine that was added a couple of years ago. There's a wide range of game options that can be customized in order to suit all motorcycle racers requirements for difficulty. The only problem that I see for sports games like MotoGP is that it's kind of a niche sporting category. Americans love NASCAR and Indy and Europeans love Formula One; but how popular is motorcycle racing? I don't know but after playing MotoGP 23 I have to say that I am now a fan of the sport and the game!
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The graphics look fantastic, everything in game is extremely detailed and it all works together very well. Riding dynamics can be customized to every player’s requirement.
More of a niche racing sport when compared to other auto racing sporting events throughout the world