Review: MotoGP20 breathes life into career mode, needs more in damage

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After taking many years to get back into Motorcycle racing, there were a few things that stuck out on our playthrough of MotoGP 20 that you may have to consider.

Title: MotoGP 20
Developer: Milestone
Publisher: Milestone
Platforms: PlayStation 4 (reviewed on), Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, Microsoft Windows
Release date: April 23rd, 2020

MotoGP 20 is releasing earlier than usual in the calendar year. It’s also Milestone’s eighth title since taking over rights from Capcom in 2013.

It should be noted that you must first create your rider. If you’ve never played a MotoGP game before, you’d know that a true “female” (women) selection has always been missing. In MotoGP 19, it was just a face. That’s no longer the case as a gender option has appeared and you can change between being a Male rider and a Female rider! Ages vary, of course, but if you’re interested, you can be a strapping 16-year-old rider or the wise old 99-year-old.

If I were to complain about the rider creator, it’s just a few faces the women receive. There’s only five at the time of this release but they covered the base as best as they could and leave lots of hope for the future in this selected category. A sore spot should be you can’t customize hair in MotoGP 20, but that’s not too bad as the male characters suffer from the same fate.

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There is an immediately cool vibe picked up from the game upon starting. Music is reminiscent of any motorcycle game and is worth a moment to enjoy. A simplistic screen layout features the various game modes; Quick Modes, Career, Multiplayer, Customization, and Historic Mode are each some fantastic options.

Quick Modes is a popular feature to jump right into the game. Start a New Grand Prix, Time Trial, or Championship from this feature. If you’re a rookie to the game series, take some time out to familiarize yourself with tracks in a non-pressure situation.

In Multiplayer mode, you can take a view of all the lobbies available out there within the MotoGP community and set within some very cool search criteria. You can also create a public match, a private match where you and your buddies can gather and race without fear of random players or, my favorite, create a race director match.

Remember how I was complaining about the lack of changing hair. Still not a mention of how few options there are for that, but you can change your rider’s info if you made a mistake. The way the menu is laid out is also a positive because you can literally just select what you want without having to go through the entire menu if you so choose. You can also change helmets, numbers, ride stickers, gloves, knee sliders, boots, suit, and riding style.

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MotoGP20‘s Historic Mode is a unique draw. In this mode, you choose your favorite rider and tackle new challenges that are offered every day. The greater the difficulty level, the greater the reward will be. Rewards are broken down into four levels of rarity: Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Ultra Rare.

But that’s not the only draw to MotoGP20 that you’ll have to contend with. For those who paid attention, I intentionally left Career Mode for the bottom. Save the best for last right?

What’s a racing game without a Career Mode? Well, if you’ve grown bored of previous MotoGP generations’ approaches to the Career Mode, I’ve got news for you.

It’s new.

First, create and manage your own team, make decisions that will impact your path as a rider and more. The opening menu that MotoGP leaves you with before diving in is awesome.

Where will you debut? You can jump straight into MotoGP, Moto2 or Moto3 as your debut class. Starting from Moto3, you’re working your way up from the bottom to the top. You can sign a contract with one of the 2020 official teams or create a team of your own. You’ll be supported by a technical entourage to help develop your bike as well throughout the season.

After selecting a candidate for your personal manager you’re just about ready to go. But wait. You forgot one more thing. You need a team. Choose any of the five teams listed and this is where you will begin your MotoGP career.

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The calendar is a bit bare in the first few weeks, with little to do. The Personal Manager is where you find your contract information. You can search for some new contracts or receive some proposals throughout the season. The technical staff is where you research new things for the bike you’re riding. The Research and Development tree offers upgrades for the engine, frame, aerodynamics and electronics. You need some research data for all of this, and you get what your staff gives.

On the track, the action is pretty good, at least to my racer tastes. Learning the bikes during winter testing was a fun turn from car racing games and it was evident that the bike physics mattered. The beauty of the tracks mattered, too, and my first look at the Losail Circuit Sports Club since my old Formula One days was a bright refresh to what I’d seen in the past. It was brighter and felt more open than before.

If you’re interested in crashes, you’ll like the rider down animation but you’ll nary find a reason to stay on your bike as the rider is like a ragdoll. No true injury system to even the most brutal of impacts with a wall.

The bike also remains sturdy as most damage appears to be mechanical. I didn’t see any pieces fall off the bike upon contact. Only the steering of the bike was affected, and it didn’t show too well that it was; just a pop-up in the corner that signified you received bike damage and maybe some aerodynamic changes occurred as well.

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Fuel consumption and tire wear were close to realistic as you could get and you can feel a lighter bike being faster on fresher tires. A bike that had used tires was considerably a struggle to use. It was nice to feel that through a DualShock 4 controller. That was a focus the developers had this installment as they worked to reproduce some real-world dynamics.

On a non-PS4 Pro, the frame rate did drop at times as the world had brief pauses to keep up with the graphics the game was putting out.

If you’re jumping online in MotoGP 20, Milestone has teamed up with Amazon Web Services to make some dedicated servers for multiplayer modes including their ESPORTS Season. Neural AI is back as well and has learned how to manage tires and fuel strategies to further elevate the AI mode.

The MotoGP series that can, at times, feel like a reskin. This isn’t the case with MotoGP 20 and it should be a good game for veterans and new players alike.

MotoGP 20. 5.5. Even though I hadn’t played a <em>MotoGP</em> game in years, I found it hard to put down from an exploratory standpoint as <em>MotoGP 20</em> kept me interested. Handling problems were a big issue as it felt like the bikes weren’t fully in my control even at lower speeds. A visually pleasing game may need some better hardware if you’re playing on an older PlayStation that is not a Pro around other riders. Career mode will hold this game up in the long haul.. Milestone.

A copy of this game was provided to App Trigger for the purpose of this review. All scores are ranked out of 10, with .5 increments. Click here to learn more about our Review Policy.