MotoGP 17 is a deep and bountiful racing/managerial simulator that is held back by its inaccessibility for the uninitiated. Fans of the series will still find lots to love, largely due to its on-depth managerial system and physics.
Developer: Milestone S.R.L
Platforms: PS4 (reviewed)
MonsterVine was provided with a PS4 copy for review.
To be completely transparent, I knew almost nothing about MotoGP as a series before being assigned MotoGP 17 for review. Outside of knowing it to be a motorcycle racing game/simulator, I had very little knowledge going into the game. I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of the management system and the detail behind the main driving mechanics, even if I didn’t find it overly accessible or entrancing.
MotoGP 17 understandably revolves around one thing: motorcycle racing. Set in a number of professional courses from around the world, MotoGP 17 gives enthusiasts and racing fans the ability to take on a large number of cyclists in surprisingly realistic races. One of the most enjoyable parts of the game is the ability to create your own avatar and bike to use in races. Whether you choose to create yourself or a ridiculous character like I did, there is a decent amount of customizability when it comes to your racer’s equipment and the appearance of your motorbike. While you can’t change much in terms of physical appearance (outside of equipment), this choice is more fitting for the game’s focus on realism.
Speaking of realism, MotoGP 17’s racing mechanics are as close to reality as I’ve seen in any game. While you won’t be able to jack-knife turns and do crazy jumps, there’s a unique challenge to be had in trying to properly race a large group of motorcyclists. Each bike feels heavy, and while there are quite a few different “styles” to suit each type of player, you won’t be doing any ridiculous tricks regardless of your chosen driving methods. This is a double-edged sword, as it means the casual racing game fan may not find MotoGP 17 to be overly enjoyable, while MotoGP fans and players who prefer more grounded racing experiences will find a bounty of racing goodness. While it wasn’t quite my speed, I can appreciate the racing mechanics for what they are.
The amount of detail put into the smaller details is what really takes the cake. Physics, vehicle damage, weather conditions, and even the wearing down of tires is all completely customizable. The sheer amount of minor things that can be changed to suit your preferences is nothing short of commendable, even though the average player, myself included, will likely not find any reason to change most settings beyond their default status.
The managerial campaign mode in MotoGP 17 is a surprisingly strong addition, blending races with micromanagement in an interesting way. After picking your main racer and team name, you are given a weekly schedule made up of races and “activities”, social events that improve your reputation or give you credits. Credits are used to level up a number of different things, ranging from your pit crew to your social media team. Each enhanced facet improves a different aspect of your team. While some improvements will net you more credits from races, others will help your racers. Weaving races between these events and moments of micromanagement leads to a rather fun campaign that will last you a decent amount of time, making it a highlight of the game.
The visuals of MotoGP 17 are impressive when it comes to environments, especially when affected by different types of in-game weather. There’s a fittingly lifelike style to the racers and courses, which further grounds this already sensibly styled racer. The human models are another story however, as they look surreal and almost lifeless. It’s an eerie feeling, and one that’s best remedied by your racer’s thick bike helmet.
The sound of MotoGP 17 is highly forgettable. Outside of the immersive commentary from commentators, the music is nothing special, and the sounds, while accurate, are somewhat grating. The sharp tones of a motorcycle revving up and driving can get old rather quickly, though this again comes down to your enjoyment of a more realistic driving experience.
The Final Word
MotoGP 17 is a racer that will mostly appeal to fans who prefer substance to style, for better or for worse. Featuring a fun campaign with decent racing and micromanagement, MotoGP 17 is a solid racing game for pre-existing fans, and a bit of a bore for anyone else.
MonsterVine Rating: 3.5 out of 5 – Fair