Just two corners into MotoGP 20 with the camera settings in a realistic rider’s view and one thing is abundantly clear, professional MotoGP riders are completely nuts!
That sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach never really goes away, to the point where even the most steel gutted players will likely be switching back to a less intense point of view. MotoGP 20 is an amazingly accurate racing sim which gives you control of some of the most exciting racing machines on the planet, and demands you to push yourself over the red line. It will also give you an enormous amount of respect for anyone crazy enough to do this job for real.
Like with the yearly Formula One title, there’s a certain amount of finesse required to make these monster motorcycles do your bidding. They’re 157kg machines designed to travel 350 kms an hour and you feel exactly how powerful they are every time you throttle down the main straight. During your first few runs, you’ll want to hammer every corner, until you realise that this only ends up with you flipping head over heels into the nearest concession stand. Taking corners is a battle, not so much with the other riders, but rather with the forces of nature trying desperately to unseat you from your two wheeled death machine.
“Taking corners is a battle, not so much with the other riders, but rather with the forces of nature…”
The physics involved in this game put some other racing sims to shame. When you hit the brakes on the first corner, you’ll truly appreciate the difference from racing on four wheels. You’ll need to aggressively lean into every corner, learn to identify brake markers when travelling at 300km/h-plus and fine tune your bike to maximise your chance of staying upright. A tip for new riders, if you think you’re leaning over too far, you aren’t. There is the danger of low-siding your bike on a corner, but that’s what the rewind feature was designed for – erasing those pesky “whoops” moments like they never happened.
Learning the subtleties of each track can also make a massive difference. The setup you used on Misano, for example, may not work on Phillip Island or Assen. You’ll need to take it slowly during every available minute of the free practice sessions to ensure that you and your bike are ready for qualifying and the race itself. You will spend precious minutes during the race weekends ensuring that your setups are just right, managing your tyre wear and fuel loads, all while keeping track of the current lap times of your opponents so you can keep pace with the big boys. There’s a lot of management to be done, and MotoGP 20 makes it as easy and accessible as it can, while maintaining the level of sim realism that series fans love.
The level of customisation options for the bike performance can be overwhelming, but there’s an awesome tool at your disposal. You can individually change the settings like braking power or gear ratio, which is fine if you’re knowledgeable with this sort of thing. If, however, you don’t have a mechanical background, your track engineer will ask you a series of questions about how the bike feels, and then make a series of automatic changes which suit the style. Getting too much wobble when you’re braking into corners, or not accelerating fast enough out of them? The game will adjust the appropriate settings to eliminate these problems. It’s a handy feature that allows you to quickly adapt to a variety or scenarios.
As with the performance, the level of skin customisation options are also an absolute treat, as you can build the look and feel of your rider and bike from the ground up. Customised colours, stickers, helmets, rider gear and the bike itself can all be carefully and painstakingly designed to make you look like anything from one of the track legends to the latest recruit in the Power Rangers. There’s also access to a catalogue of online created content, so you can take the best of other peoples’ creations and put your own spin on them. While this isn’t new for the MotoGP series, it’s still a very cool feature that will easily set you back an hour or two as you make the game your own.
As with previous editions, MotoGP 20 has a bunch of different game modes to choose from. You can race as your favourite GP rider, take on historical scenarios from your heroes, race individual GP weekends or begin a season as your own customised character and make a name for yourself in any of the professional GP class leagues. There are a huge variety of options to customise your experiences.
This game is firmly focused on being a hardcore racing sim, which can be overwhelming at first for the casual player. To counter this, there’s an impressive number of riding aids which will allow you to more comfortably make your way around the course with much less danger of running off into the gravel or low-siding a tight corner. Be warned, being comfortable and confident comes with a cost, speed. After a few races, you’ll be looking to turn all of these safety features off to get the proper control all to yourself. They’re an excellent addition that makes the game more accessible if you don’t have hundreds of hours to throw into the practice.
MotoGP 20 takes the good work done in the last two editions and makes it slightly better. There are new systems for tyre wear, braking and cornering that make it more realistic and give you a genuine sense of what it’s like to be in the boots of a professional rider. Whether you’re a casual observer, a hardcore fan, or just fancy yourself as one of the fastest people on the planet, MotoGP 20 is ready to hit you with some serious track time.
MotoGP 2 is available now on PS4, Xbox One and Switch.