MotoGP 22 hums soundly on the track, but it can learn a few things from its competition – Hands-on impressions

Milestone’s MotoGP 22 lives up to the billing as a fast-paced racing simulation, but its simplicity in other areas leaves it a bit lacking.

Image via Milestone

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2022 may only be four months old, but we’ve already seen a number of different racing titles go live on console platforms worldwide. GRID Legends and Monster Energy Supercross 5 are among some titles that fit that bill, as does MotoGP 22. The Milestone-published title went live on April 21, and is the official video game of the MotoGP circuit, where the best motorcycle racers compete in countries around the world.

We’ve had a chance to get quite a few hours with MotoGP 22. After that time, we found that the game does perform well on the track. Its performance off the track, on the other hand, could use some work.

Tight turns in MotoGP 22’s racing

Image via Milestone

MotoGP 22 offers much of what an avid racing game player would expect in a simulation motorcycle game. Users can create a custom avatar, and change up a wide variety of its characteristics, including the racing number, suit, and helmet, among other clothing items. Additionally, players can also change the habits of the rider while out on the track, such as the number of legs that stick out while driving and so forth.

The control system is not too hard to grasp, and is right on par with how other franchises map out the inputs for changing gears, braking, and turning. Much like with other racing games, practice, timing, and track knowledge are vital to success in MotoGP 22.

The motorcycles found in the MotoGP can accelerate at incredible speeds, but finding that fine line between choosing when to accelerate and when to slow down will take time to master. This is especially true for new players, or those without the intimate track knowledge needed to time the turns right. Making the right moves at the exactly the right time is important for success, as cutting a tight turn too early or slowing down too late could mean a crash to the ground.

Luckily for beginners, users have the option to use a number of driving aids, including using semi-automatic gear changing, and automatic braking. Over time, though, it does help to wean off of these aids. One issue that I noticed with the assists is that the CPU can be a bit slow. This can lead to problems with revving up while increasing gears, and thus, lose speed at key points. Issues with lost speed while using assists isn’t a new thing in racing games. Nevertheless, having assists is essential  for beginners, due to all the game’s moving parts.

Additionally, users also have the option to have markers set up, indicating when to begin slowing down for a turn and when to accelerate, or use a traditional racing line that is much akin to the ones in Forza Horizon and the F1 franchises. Even for seasoned racing players, having multiple UI options for this is great. Track knowledge takes a while to build up, so having the right setup can help with figuring out when to start slowing down, and when to start cutting a sharp turn.

A trip back in time

Screenshot by DoubleXP

MotoGP 22 offers a suite of standard modes for modern-day racing games.  To start, there’s a quick race mode, where users can set up a grand prix and face off against the AI.  In the career mode, users can either choose to import their created avatar and move their way up to the top tier of the MotoGP circuit in MotoGP 2 or 3, or start in the primary circuit.

MotoGP 22 also features an online multiplayer mode, as well as an interesting moments mode. The moments mode is akin to the WWE 2K Showcase, in the sense that MotoGP 22 players will have the option to re-enact races and events that took place in previous years of the MotoGP circuit. For MotoGP 22, users can replay some of the most memorable moments that took place in 2009, a year that saw legendary MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi take home his sixth World Championship.

A tale of two Milestone games

Image via Milestone

Over the past two months, Milestone has released two different racing games, Monster Energy Supercross 5 and MotoGP 22. Both are very different in terms of the structure of the sport, so it’s hard to compare the two. However, I have to say that I’ve had a lot more fun playing MotoGP 22, and here’s why.

MotoGP 22 has far fewer glaring issues. MotoGP 22’s physics take time to get used to, mainly due to the fact that it’s really important to master how to manage the weight of the bike, and that the margin of error is low. Once that’s done, the moves of the AI, as well as the racing engine are actually very fluid.

Now, that’s not to say that there isn’t a learning curve with Monster Energy Supercross 5. However, Supercross 5 is a much more nuanced title that needs some tuning. I’ve documented some of the issues with that title in a feature last month. MotoGP 22 doesn’t have many of the AI and gameplay issues, like the “running train lines” that the CPU takes, or an erratic auto player that bumps into the rider, that have come up in other racing games. That is great to see.

However, one thing that Supercross 5 does have MotoGP 22 beat, albeit slightly, is the variety of different game modes. Supercross 5 offers offline and online play, as well as a career mode and an outdoors roaming mode. A dirt-filled roaming mode does make more sense for Supercross 5, but the point is that MotoGP 22 feels bare-bones, from a feature point-of-view.

MotoGP 22 does not feature customization options like a track creator or a mode that allows users to take control of a team of riders. Other racing games, like the aforementioned Monster Energy Supercross and F1 franchises, do offer at least these options. While neither is comparable in terms of the product on the track, both titles are competitors in the sense that Milestone is vying for console and PC gamers to buy the game. If Milestone wants MotoGP to stand out from the competition, it needs to add on more to justify the cost.

This is, more of less, the dilemma that MotoGP 22 faces. Racing-wise, MotoGP 22 is a fun title that does have a learning curve, but is very rewarding once the nuances of the sport are mastered. However, the title doesn’t have the kind of longevity it should. That’s mainly because of  the lack of variety in game modes. While Milestone should be pleased with a lot that MotoGP 22 has to offer, it will need to keep adding in order to keep the momentum going.