The MotoGP series has always been hard to judge. On the one hand, you have a very talented and clearly very passionate developer in Milestone, but on the other, you have the kind of obvious budget constraints that have always kept MotoGP from truly competing with the big budget racers on the market. Sure, from a purely mechanical perspective, you could argue that MotoGP has been the equal of Gran Turismo and Forza for quite some time, but in terms of its feature set, and in particular, its presentation, it has invariably fallen short.
While that remains true for this latest edition of the long running two-wheeled racing series, Milestone have gone above and beyond in their attempts to close the gap. Clearly taking inspiration from Codemasters’ F1 series, MotoGP 19 does a much better job of presenting the full racing experience, including the full race weekend and a host of additional narrative details and racing options to provide a more rounded racing package. You can actively manage your level of involvement in that regard, but for those looking to get a fully immersive racing experience, MotoGP provides all of the content and detail a fan of the sport could hope for.
It still has a few rough edges though, and like the rest of the game, the visuals are wildly uneven, but with all three major classes included, the Red Bull Rookies Cup added and all the official racers, teams and bikes on board, this feels like the most complete package that Milestone has ever delivered. The game also benefits from a more structured sense of progression that incorporates winter testing, more in-depth research and development and an improved sense of narrative as you move through the season.
As always though, as good as these additions might be, the star of the show remains the actual racing. It will take some getting used to for fans of two-wheel racers, but thanks to a wide range of difficulty setting and a huge number of customisable assist options, it’s easy to adjust the racing to both your personal tastes and current skill level. Whether you choose full simulation (which is brutally difficult by the way) or a more arcade approach (more my style), the exceptional sense of speed, inertia and weight remains consistent. However you choose to play the game, nailing a corner as you lean your bike precariously close to the tarmac feels consistently fantastic and quite unlike anything else within the genre.
The new AI also helps to fully immerse you in races with A.N.N.A., the all new AI system ensuring that competing racers act in line with their predefined goals. Those in lesser teams will now act in accordance with their specific expectations and hopes for each race, subsequently pushing hard at the end of races to achieve their mid-table aims. In career mode, this works brilliantly and helps build a stronger sense of narrative when out on the track, but in terms of the moment to moment racing, the AI is still a tad oblivious to your position, often riding straight in to you or making no attempt to avert collision when you’re racing in close quarters.
Outside of career mode, there is a very solid selection of online racing options which, from my experience at least, all runs very smoothly, thanks to the game’s dedicated servers. It still falls short of the options and modes available in the likes of Forza Motorsport, but like just about everything in this game, there has been a concerted effort to push the series forward.
One of the best additions for MotoGP 19 comes in the form of the Historical Challenges mode. This is obviously aimed at serious fans of MotoGP, but even if you’re little more than a casual fan of the sport, this mode provides a challenging and hugely enjoyable history lesson, one that allows you to play out many of the sports’ greatest historic moments, while giving you the opportunity to race as (and subsequently unlock) some of MotoGP’s biggest names. With all of the historic bikes and racers included and some very cool videos of the events themselves, this mode does a great job of expanding upon the core MotoGP experience.
It’s still home to its fair share of rough edges, but thanks to its 4K resolution and 60 frames per second gameplay, out on the track, MotoGP 19 is as good as the series has ever been. The AI might be a bit hit and miss, but like every aspect of Milestone’s latest, it’s a step in the right direction and a significant move towards closing the gap on its big budget competitors. The refinements to the career are universally successful and the Historical Challenges mode provides an exciting look at the sports’ illustrious past. Milestone have clearly set out to create the best game in MotoGP history, and while it remains just short of the genre’s finest, it represents a notable jump in quality for this consistently brilliant series.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Xbox One code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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MotoGP 19 Review
Gameplay - 8/10
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 8/10
Replay Value - 8/10
User Review( votes)
Milestone have clearly set out to create the best game in MotoGP history, and while it remains just short of the genre’s finest, it represents a notable jump in quality for this consistently brilliant series.