My last encounter with a MotoGP game lasted five minutes. This was followed by an expletive filled rant, and the obnoxious proclamation that I would never, ever touch a motorcycle game again. So when MotoGP 17 landed at my feet, I was afraid. Would those repressed memories resurface? Fortunately- for myself, my Xbox, and Xbox Gamer Reviews itself- MotoGP 2017 has vanquished all those doubts.
Mugello was track of choice. I mounted the Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha and headed for the starting grid. Immediately I was hit by the roar of 33 MotoGP engines disrupting the Italian countryside. Lights out – Go Go Go – The cacophony of noise continued to the first corner. I hit the brakes, nailed my trajectory and gathered momentum out of the corner to lead, while behind me a crash had halted the chasing pack. This is what racing was all about.
MotoGP 17 has really nailed the balance of accessibility for beginners, while still being a challenge for veterans. Driving aids allow you to change different aspects of the bikes handling, helping newcomers to grasp the fundamentals, whilst remaining competitive. The AI’s are no slouch either. They will squeeze you out of corners, blitz past you on the straights and stay defensive, making you look for the alternative route to overtake them. Turning the difficulty up- keeping check of tyre wear, pit stops and bike temperature, whilst ensuring you don’t damage or incur any penalties- made for more intense and tactical racing. The rewind feature now appears to be a staple within the racing genre, continuing with its inclusion here. It’s a great feature that allows fluidity during the race, without the fear of a restart if you crash.
From the menu, choosing Grand Prix will allow you to get straight out onto the track. Here, all of the professional drivers from Moto GP through to Moto 3 are available. You can also choose legends of the motorcycle world, with more to unlock as you achieve milestones with the various classes. Le Mans, Silverstone and fifteen other iconic tracks from the 2017 MotoGP season make appearances, all accompanied by a montage video of each location.
New for MotoGP 17 is the Team Management career. Starting out as a fresh new competitor, your aim is to make waves throughout the MotoGP scene, ultimately becoming number one. Once you’ve chosen your team name, sponsor, and colours, you’re set to start in Moto 3. The management mode has great potential, but it doesn’t have enough depth. You have different departments which allows you to research and upgrade different aspects of your bike. These parts have a waiting period, but once installed, you soon see the difference out on the track. Obviously these upgrades aren’t free – credits and reputation can be earnt by completing race objectives, and also through activities days. These days lay out four different scenarios that all have separate rewards, that can help you earn a little extra cash, or give a boost to drivers during their next race.
The problems with depth lie within the calendar. It only consists of Race Days, Activity Days and Free Time, which doesn’t feel authentic for a racing team. Once you have employed a second driver, you don’t really have any way of managing him. He will eventually get better, through the upgraded parts you fit to the bike, but there was no option for general man management. It would have been nice to have interaction with the drivers to see how they were feeling and provide testing days and training sessions for them to improve. Once the season was over, you were able to enter the transfer window. This allowed you to purchase a new bike for a higher class, or remove and re employee a new driver. Much to my disappointment, there wasn’t any comparison I could look at between the drivers. Instead I had to find my current driver, remember all his stats and compare mentally.
However, if you just want the single driver experience, then Career Mode is for you. Starting with Red Bull Moto GP Rookies Cup, you will gradually work your way through Moto 3, Moto 2, all the way to competing in the big league with MotoGP. You can customise your driver and change the driving aids to earn more reputation, but there really isn’t anything else to it. Like the Management career, the lack of depth sticks out, leaving me with little else to achieve after I have reached the top.
Racing games are usually loved for their beautiful aesthetics, and indeed, the bikes glimmer on track, and the distinctive sound of each class waves through the circuit. Each circuit looks unique, and you can feel each bump and indent in the track- but the surroundings themselves are lacking. Aside from the bikes, the audio is forgettable. While racing, there is no communication between the crew and yourself, with no update to who is behind you, or how great the gap is.
The online allows you to race competitively, through a variety of modes. You can jump onto a single Grand Prix or enter a Championship. You can also grab a friend and begin a Co-op Championship. Similar to the career mode, you are able to compete against each other in a furious battle to see who prevails. The lobbies can be a little long winded. Sometimes you will join a lobby that is halfway through a race, but you can’t jump in and spectate, you just have to wait there all alone until the competitors return.