- Street Date:
- June 19th, 2015
- Reviewed by:
- Julian De Backer
- Review Date:1
- July 5th, 2015
- Game Release Year:
- BANDAI NAMCO
- Milestone S.r.L
PS4 disc version reviewed.
Another year, another 'MotoGP,' and for 'MotoGP 15,' the promises include an expanded career mode, new game modes, and revamped AI, a 12 player online mode, and overhauled physics. Fans of the series can once again enjoy a title by Milestone S.r.l., presented and endorsed as an official Moto GP product. Is 'MotoGP 15' a milestone or a bump in the road?
The Game Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Ah, motorcycle racing. The last game I played in this genre was Microsoft's 'Motorcross Madness' in 1998 (and, more recently, a retro hint of 'Road Rash' on the 'EA Replay' PSP compilation). Most video game genres have evolved beyond recognition in the past 17 years (platformers to a lesser extent, perhaps), but I have always enjoyed a solid motocross game. All I want is an exhilarating sense of speed, exciting tracks, excellent handling and fun, fun, fun (to quote The Surfers in their 1978 hit 'Windsurfin''). The single player mode of 'MotoGP 15' houses five distinct playing options: 'Instant Race', 'Grand Prix', 'Championship', 'MotoGP Career' and 'Time Attack'. Three special events are also on offer: 'Beat The Time' (new to this year’s edition), 'Real Events 2014' (also new, in which the most spectacular moments of the 2014 World Championships can be relived – or be rewritten. Change history, Doc Brown style!) and '2-Stroke Events'. Multiplayer options come in both online and split screen flavours. I love a good challenge, so I opted for 'MotoGP Career' right off the bat.
The career mode is extremely detailed. No, really, extremely. Once in the pit, the 'practice', 'qualifying', 'warm up' and 'race' modes are all selectable. Skipping either of these results in starting in the 24th and last position. The practice takes up 38:49 minutes of your precious time, qualifying costs 39:49 minutes, warming up tallies up to 19:52 minutes ... and then there’s 19 laps in the actual race. We’re not counting FIFA minutes here, by the way. It’s more than two solid, full, real-time man hours before I adequately had a shot at winning. Granted, this is not obligatory. In the ‘race options’ submenu, both the length and the session of the race can be adjusted. A race length of 100% corresponds to the number of laps that are raced in the official Grand Prix for the selected class and track. 'Session' is broken down in 'only race', 'qualifying and race' and 'full weekend'. As such, I'm not bashing the game for being too expanded; I'm merely questioning the amount of time one needs to spend in order to fully grasp and experience the complexity of the game. Being a 100% dedicated MotoGP racer comes with a heck of a lot of sacrifices. Who has such a solid amount of time to spare? Imagine a single dad, with a job, cooking and cleaning responsibilities, and a kid that requires attention. Even a married dad, with an awesome wife that lets her significant other game once in a while, may be in dire straits. I’d love to see how you can manage your life and have a go at becoming a 'MotoGP 2015' champ.
What’s that? A 5 second penalty for going off course? Pff! Humbug! Cheating is what makes racing games fun. Why am I being punished for bending the rules a little? This game takes itself way too seriously. Finishing in 24th (and last) place even makes me lose 16 fans in my career. We've got social media pressure in games now? Who came up with this madness? After a relatively good course result, fans are gained - akin to 'Blur' and 'Metropolis Street Racer'. It's these games' way of handling experience points. Oh, look, my 13th position (no mean feat) is adjusted to a 16th place after deducting penalty points. Which makes crossing the finish line as the 13th (enough to qualify in the much needed top-15) extra bittersweet once your place is "corrected" to the 16th place. Close, but ever so much no cigar. 'Mario Kart', for one, has the audacity to reward the best cheater. If I could throw a banana or a shell at my 'MotoGP' teammates, I would do it. Even the rigid, stern 'Gran Turismo 6' allowed you to cheat a little.
Tracks lack some personality. Because racing has to be precise, all corners, curves and bends soon look alike. In career mode, replaying previous courses for a better score is out of the question. 17th place is 17th place, and no second chance. Again: just like in real life, but I’m playing a game, remember? The rubberband AI of the pro NPC-characters makes gaining momentum so much harder. Even a perfect course only resulted in an 8th place, because the first 7 racers never ever make mistakes (unless I bump into them, hehe). After a few races, I could choose between "stay in your current team" or "choosing team or sponsor". OK, let’s check out my options. What's my net worth? 'Husqvarna Factory Laglisse' – if that is their real name – sounds like a sponsor that’s right up my alley. Click. What happened? Nothing. I can’t make the selection. 'DLC required'. Nonsense. This kind of thievery needs to stop now.
While I could easily win the first race, all subsequent races saw me achieve a ranking of 8 to 17 on a field of 24 contestants. A very mediocre result, and keep in mind: the computer's AI was set on 'very easy'. Yes, as a triple-star 150cc 'Mario Kart' veteran, I could only barely crack the top-10 on the easiest setting. This is one truly hardcore game for diehard moto enthusiasts. The proud, the faint of heart and the craptacular players such as yours truly do best to steer well clear of this title. All of those who feel the need for speed, and have the cojones to pick up this title, allow me to quote one of the great philosophers of our fictional times Han Solo: "Good luck. You're gonna need it."
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
'MotoGP 15' is downright gorgeous for the most part. Landscapes pop with excellent colors. Crashes are handled with grace and realism. Close-ups of racing gear and machines border on the photo realistic. Character models, however, possess an unhealthy dose of the uncanny valley. Dead eyes, ahoy! Furthermore, Blu-ray esque quality real world footage introduces every locale. As if you’re watching a touristic video guide.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The game's most disappointing aspect (well, apart from the amount of "no fun" to be had). Nothing remarkable about the sound design. Sure, it sounds exactly like a real motorcycle race on TV, but it all comes down to 'vroom' in the end. Just listen to some quality tunes on your sound system while playing this game. I know I did.
Oodles of tracks, time trials, Online Grand Prix, the works. Love this game? Kiss goodbye to free time!
Compared to the plug and play nature of the still awesome 'Excitebike', 'MotoGP 15' presents itself as one of those extremely detailed simulation titles that successfully attempts to suck the fun out of the genre. Don't get me wrong: 'MotoGP 2015' is mightily impressive, a virtual tour de force and a marvel to, well, marvel at. It's just so realistic and so real, that it ends up becoming soulless, mechanically, technologic and boring. After all, if you want this kind of realism, why don't you just pick up real-life motorcycle racing yourself?
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