With MotoGP on an enforced break, the series’ official game rocked up at just the right time to scratch those with a racing itch.
Before anyone starts, yes we know that bike racing games never get close to the experience and that they’re much harder to get right than the likes of Gran Turismo - although even that with the might of Sony is rubbish in places.
Short of a fully-integrated simulator which can monitor even the slightest head movement, replicating the physics involved in racing a motorcycle at the very highest level is difficult. And it is those physics that have made racing games - including earlier iterations of the MotoGP series - a bit crap.
Now, were not saying that MotoGP20 has cracked it. It hasn’t, but it never will either. What it does get is as close as you can for now without building your own prototype simulator.
If you pick the easiest level on game entry but then go and turn off all the assists - you will thank me later in life - it is highly-enjoyable from the off.
You have your pick of riders and in career mode you can pick your team, your kit and your race number which goes along with your name. I picked Alex Lowes for some reason.
In other, previous games, bikes would wheelie you off the back, stoppie you into oblivion, spin up so viciously, you wouldn’t make it out of pitlane.
MotoGP20 has clearly been in deep conversation with riders and technicians (crew chiefs and team bosses make appearances in garages and in cut scenes) so the traction control feeling is real, the anti-wheelie is as real as I can believe it would be.
You can make myriad setup decisions and you can absolutely feel the differences when you make substantive changes to, well, everything from electronics to tyre pressures.
There are choices for symmetric or aysmmetric tyres, several compounds, fuel consumption rates, engine maps,
There isn’t much any of the bikes will do to try and kill you in terms of cracking the throttle as the electronics take care of you like they do in the real. However, baking takes some getting used to, as if you don’t trail brake then you will never make the corner. It’s alien to road riding but necessary to be competitive.
There are ways to move your weight back and forward on the bike but this is a really advanced technique but you need to have a Fenman’s finger count to do it properly. It will stoppie you over a barrier if you try really hard.
With 22 circuits available to race on – all the 2020 tracks plus Donington Park and Laguna Seca as historic locations. As soon as you start riding, you’ll also notice that the representations are the best yet seen in a bike game. Additional track-side details, updated curbing and natural-looking asphalt add to the authenticity, as do small touches which you can find out for yourself.
In career mode, you can deal with salary negoiations, hiring of crew and that sort of shizz but it seems like that was an afterthought as it’s a bit superficial, and the only negative of an otherwise good game.
There is an online mode where you can race against other people from the comfort of their homes. There are plenty of options in here, all tracks are available. We haven’t yet explored these fully.
MotoGP20 is well worth the £40 for the main consoles and it keeps everyone amused. I put my controller down for a few minutes, only to return to find my six year old on the back straight at Spielberg uttering ‘If in doubt, flat out’.