STAFF REVIEW of MotoGP 20 (Xbox One)

Saturday, May 23, 2020.
by Adam Dileva

MotoGP 20 Box art Developers Milestone has been around for years, and they have quite a resume when it comes to dual wheel racing games. Most notable of the bunch would easily be the MotoGP games that have been around for quite some time. Much like other sports titles, the yearly installment of MotoGP is here with MotoGP 20, aiming to add a bunch of new features, modes and perform much smoother overall. Is this simply a fresh coat of paint with a couple new additions, or is it worth another lap around the track? Start your engines.

While I’m not new to motorbike games, I found that I almost always generally gravitate towards the four wheeled kind of racing instead, so jumping back into two wheeled racing was a bit of a shock in terms of difficulty. MotoGP 20 aims to be a simulator, and there’s plenty of challenge regardless of your skill and experience. For someone more novice like me, I was able to turn on a bunch of assists to help stabilize my rider, even with an option for auto braking, though pro’s can turn all of these assists off and play a much more hardcore and realistic version should they wish.

You’ll get to experience the official 2020 season in MotoGP 20, not just from the MotoGP, but Moto2 and Moto3, including a new official track that fans should be happy to have included; Kymi Ring. Given that you’ll be racing up to 300 mp/h, there are some seriously tense moments when you’re trying to brake hard before an apex to try and gain a position or two without wiping out. This is when bike racing is at its finest.

The bulk of your time will most likely be within its robust career mode. Here you’ll start out as a typical nobody, deciding what team to join, official or completely brand new, and starting your race career in either MotoGP, Moto2 or Moto3. I enjoyed starting out in the lower league, working my way up to the main show eventually as my skills improved. Like most career modes in racers, you’ll have a calendar to manage, highlighting what weekends are for racing and which are not.

There’s also a large element of career management as well, developing not just your rider, but your team. Yes, only one rider is out on the track, but teams are much more than that. You’ll start with a manager, eventually hiring other facets and roles, allowing for other perks and bonuses if successful. This also means you’ll have a bank roll to manage, so you better start winning to cover your costs. The better the candidate for a roll, the more their salary and signing bonus will be. While the bulk of your gameplay will be racing, obviously, you’ll be spending a fair amount of time within the career menus as well, as there’s a lot to sift through, not even counting the performance upgrades, R&D development and contract opportunities.

As this is an official MotoGP sim, you can expect actual teams, bikes, liveries, riders and of course, tracks. The classic and legendary staples are here like Laguna Seca, Le Mans and around twenty or so others. You’re able to pick a realistic and authentic team, but you can also completely customize them as well with their own liveries. The graphic editor is simple enough to use, allowing you to create some unique and custom tags and graphics should you wish for your helmet, racing number, stickers and more.

Some other improvements over last year have been included as well, such as the new physics, improved graphics and more. Playing on an Xbox One X, there’s an option for frame rate or visuals, and other than the odd hiccup here and there, the overall experience was quite smooth. The new physics are what most will probably have to take some time getting used to.

As a novice to the series aside from dabbling in it here and there, it took me quite some time to get used to the handling of the bikes. Without any assists on you can fully expect to wipe and slide out on nearly every corner as you’re beginning. You’ll want to play with the settings and assists to find a balance that works for you until you become comfortable with the cornering and braking. You’re on two wheels and need to balance yourself on your bike, so you have to pre-lean a little before your turn and find that sweet spot of letting off the throttle and not completely gunning it out of the apex to prevent your rear tire from coming out from under you. Factor in the aggressive AI and you’ll have your work cut out for you. Thankfully you can toggle the rewind feature to fix all of your poorly mistimed and too speedy turns that failed miserably and try again as much as you wish.

You’ll also be able to customize your bike much further than before, as now you’ll also need to tackle tire wear and fuel consumption as well. With damage turned on it can be either be simply cosmetic, or fully affect your bike’s performance if you take too big of a crash, taking you out of the race.

Newly added Historic Mode, is sure to please the true and hardcore fans of the sport. Here you’ll get to race as and compete against MotoGP legends such as Mick Doohan, Dani Pedrosa, Valentino Rossi and many more. This mode allows you to relive MotoGP history by giving you daily randomly generated races that reward you with a specific currency if successful that can used to purchase special bikes, riders and teams. With more than 40 riders and bikes, there’s tons of historic content here for true and lifelong fans that will surely put a smile on their face. Each race also has multiple difficulties so there’s something for everyone to check in on daily.

For those that were let down with last year’s outing and preferred to play online multiplayer, you’ll be ecstatic to know that MotoGP 20 has finally decide to utilize dedicated servers for their online play. No more laggy races, though you’ll still need to deal with the riders that like to slam into you through the corners. You can not only setup private and public matches, but even a Race Director lobby, allowing you to setup the starting grid, penalties and more. The few matches I played online had no lag and seemed to work flawlessly, though I didn’t always find many lobbies waiting for players

Graphically, MotoGP 20 impresses overall. The bikes look fantastic and incredibly detailed, as does the minor features, like the rubber on the tarmac as you race around lap to lap, the smooth animations of your rider leaning side to side coming out of a turn or looking behind to see who’s on your tail, and of course the weather effects. Rain in particular looks absolutely fantastic and completely changes how you race and tackle each corner. Puddles form, meaning you can hydroplane quite easily, leaving you unable to take corners at extreme angles and speeds, forcing you to adjust on the fly. The riders themselves also look quite good, but the mini scenes before races with secondary characters can look quite dated, though it doesn’t detract from the overall experience. Audio is just as good, as bikes sound distinct and you can hear the engine go through its gears as you shift. While there's no music during races or commentary, you’ll simply hear the engine whines constantly as you race, though nothing playing some of your favorite songs on Spotify in the background can’t fix.

While MotoGP 20 will be challenging for novices, it’s still accessible with its assists and options to make it possible to still be competitive in races eventually, though it will take quite a few hours to get to the point of actually winning as there’s not much in ways of a tutorial to ease you into the gameplay. For vets and MotoGP fans, there’s enough here to keep you challenged and tons of new additions that should appease you for another year until the next season starts.

Overall: 7.7 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


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