Arcade racers have been consistently popular for as long as I can remember. But despite the concept still being very much alive, improving on the fundamental gameplay of arcade racers is somewhat difficult. Therefore the more arcade racers come out, the more stagnant and repetitive each one becomes. And unfortunately, Moto Racer 4 is within that category.
It has been a long time since its prequel, Moto Racer 3, was released back in 2001, and with a gap like that you would like to think that the game would have come on leaps and bounds since it’s predecessor. And in many ways, it has. There are a few positives that really do stand out in the game. The main one for me is the graphics which feel really quite refined compared to your average arcade racer. But for the majority, the game didn’t come across as a breakthrough title. The novelty simply wares off too quickly.
But if we start with the positives, the graphics did take me by surprise. There has been a real attention to detail here to make the game seem as visually advanced as it could be and thankfully it works well. The game looks detailed whilst still keeping the cartoon, arcade-like style. The developers also did a great job at making sure the graphical detail kept its prestige at high speeds because let’s be honest, this isn’t a game to stop and take in the views. The motion blur used whilst dodging traffic works brilliantly and really adds suspense to the races making them more exciting.
There are two forms of racing – road and dirt. “Only two?”, I hear you cry. Well for me, this wasn’t a serious fault of the game itself as there is enough variety in these two modes to hold my attention for a good amount of time. Within career mode, there are different pre-race challenges that need to be completed before being entered into the race. You choose how many stars you think you will achieve, one to three, with three stars being the best making it quicker to qualify. However, the issue comes with the leap in difficulty between each stars. From my experience, the AI speeds increased too much on the hardest difficulties to the stage where I couldn’t even compete with a fully upgraded bike.
There is variation however in how you take on each race. You can choose which character you wish to play as which as a result changes the bike. This alters your playing experience as some bikes may be more tailored to speed where as others specify more in handling for example. However, the unfortunate truth is a few stages into career mode you are forced to choose a specific character. And if you haven’t upgraded this character, it’s back to grinding the first races for you to get those precious upgrade points.
Another feature that frustrated me was if you don’t achieve the stars you claim you’re going to, you can end up losing the stars you already have. So in the instance of failing a championship because of buffed opponents, you’re being pushed far back to the start for something you can’t really beat. It just adds to the frustration of having to build it back up again before it inevitably will happen again in the later stages of the game. It’s a system that confuses me, as it doesn’t really have to be there and it discourages people to want to play on.
Overall Moto Racer 4 is a great looking game and actually racing in the game is fun. The issue comes with the systems put in place for progression and inevitability of not being able to compete at a comfortable level. Which is a great shame as it discourages players to progress and therefore makes it difficult to recommend this game with any sort of prestige, other than it’s nice to look at.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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