Racing games are all well and good, but there are certain genres that may entertain more than others. Forza and Gran Turismo, for example, took things to a new level in regards to car-based racing games - managing to put a large effort into vehicle and track selection. The Moto-racer genre, on the other hand, feels like something that has struggled from the get-go. Now, I have fond memories of playing bike-oriented racing games such as MX World Tour ft. Jamie Little, but in regards to a title like MotoGP 17, I must say the experience is quite lacking.
Gameplay-wise, I found the learning curve to be surprisingly steep. When I first started the game, the amount of races I lost in the exhibition mode was staggering, to say the least. Not that I’m expecting any hand-holding in a game such as this, but it shouldn’t be overly difficult to turn left or right in a title that focuses on turning left or right. It’s a bit jarring, really. I understand there has to be some sort of challenge for players, but that should be in the form of a setting, not the controls.
After exhibition, I decided to give the brand new managerial mode a try. Being a big selling point during the promotion, this was something I definitely had high hopes for going in. I must say, the level of detail that’s featured is really nice, but it has a certain simplicity to it that makes it fall short of other sports titles that do the same thing. Yes, you can upgrade your staff, racers, and bikes to give you an edge, but there’s no real involvement in it personally. You’re not going to be cutting in-depth promos or building yourself up from the ground up. Your already established, so there’s no sense of having anything to lose when all's said and done. If anything, the mode itself is just a more thought out career mode, without the personal investment.
On a more positive note, MotoGP 17 really manages to bring its world to life with some solid presentation. As well, it features a variety of, albeit samey, game modes (such as time trial, career mode, tournament, and the aforementioned managerial campaign). It does feel, however, that variety was sacrificed for style in the long run. The title looks quite detailed in terms of stadiums and tracks, but the possibility of any unique gameplay features are squandered for the sake of realism and following the norm. Frankly, it’s a basic GP game that could have been so much more if things were more tightly focused in specific areas. Whether that be the multiplayer, the graphical capability, or the controls, a larger focus on one of these aspects wouldn’t have gone amiss.
Speaking of multiplayer, it’s exactly what one would expect out of title where people race bikes. The tracks I raced on were so boring and repetitive that I’m pretty sure the developers copy pasted circuits from other games because it would save money. Then there’s the choice in bikes which aren’t really different in anyway because each bike has to have some sort of chance to win, which begs the questions “why even bother giving them stats at all?” Basically, it really doesn’t matter which one you pick, they all have the ability to win the race regardless. Frankly, even if you have no prior knowledge of the game heading into multiplayer, you could still win just as easily as someone who’s been playing for a year.
Actually, despite my rant earlier, I don’t give enough credit. The game does have a really nice balance when it comes to racing, but it just feels like more could’ve been done in the realm of differentiation. That’s where the roster comes in I suppose. Now, unfortunately not being an avid watcher of GP myself, I can’t say for certain if the roster of riders is acceptable to any standard. There are such names as Andrea Dovizioso, Marc Márquez, and Jorge Lorenzo that make their way in-game, with several more that follow, so for the amount there is I’ll definitely chalk it up as a pro. The more the merrier, right?
As I mentioned before though, it seems presentation was first and foremost in mind when designing MotoGP 17. It’s a style that’s worth appreciating all in all; the circuits, the fanfare, the video packages. It’s all part of a bigger spectrum, one where you race to be the best. The only issue is although the style is well done in many respects, players eventually start moving to a point of maximum efficiency, skipping to get straight to the actual gameplay itself. In actuality, I found myself doing this after the first couple of tracks, so even though the thought is there, the presentation will most likely be outweighed by the gameplay.
Despite some nice design choices and good balancing, I can’t recommend MotoGP 17 for anyone out there. This is going to sound harsh, but the game could have used another month or two in development before release. It is done and playable, for sure, but I feel there could have been a lot more added on. DLC is always an option, but there should have been more effort put into the main game as a whole. MotoGP 17 is, more or less, the game for GP fans, but that’s due to a lack of other titles rather than anything else.
MotoGP17 (Reviewed on PlayStation 4)
Minor enjoyable interactions, but on the whole is underwhelming.
MotoGP 17 is, all in all, the choice motorcycle racer for fans. Unforanetly, this is due to a lack of options rather than anything else.