Players taken for a ride

All the equipment, colourful bikes, and sponsors are available, as well as all the real-life riders.Photo: Supplied
All the equipment, colourful bikes, and sponsors are available, as well as all the real-life riders.Photo: Supplied

Four wheels good, two wheels bad? That is probably an exaggerated summary of the respective treatment of motorsport disciplines in the video game industry, but it is not wholly inaccurate.

The list of lovingly-created, fun to play, multi-levelled car racing games is absolutely huge.

Rattle off series titles such as Gran Turismo, Forza, Need For Speed, Dirt, Project Cars, Burnout, Nascar and F1, and you realise just how fortunate gaming petrolheads (yes, they exist) have been in the past 20 years.

But motorcycles?

That starting grid is a lot leaner. There have been some decent motocross games, and the Trials series was a blast, and the little known Tourist Trophy back in the days of the PlayStation 2 was actually really good.

Mostly, though, the two-wheeled fraternity has been all but ignored. Not, to be fair, by the Moto GP series, which has cranked out an annual game for a while now without ever making a massive splash.

And that sums up the 2018 update, which is — as far as I can tell — a decent representation of the sport and a pleasant enough game to play, but hardly reason to slither into your leathers, bend over the handlebars and rev the throttle.

It’s obviously an officially-licensed game, and that means everything looks sort of nice.

All the equipment, colourful bikes, and sponsors are available, as well as all the real-life riders. (I mean, I presume that’s the case — Valentino Rossi is sort of the only one I know.)

The game’s also really easy to access. A dunce like me was able to pick it up, start a new career and get into the action with no fuss or bother.

So, too, are the difficulty settings easy to find and modify. You can crank things way down, to ensure you can make the podium with relative ease, or you can go for uber­realism.

So far, so good.

What you then discover is a relatively underwhelming racing game that really won’t have anyone other than a die-hard fan coming back for more.

It all feels a bit sterile. Most races feel the same and most tracks kind of look the same. And while the bikes handle well, you never really get a huge buzz out of piloting them around corners or along straights.

My biggest bugbear is that the sense of progression — so vital in a career mode in any sport or racing game — is extremely weak. After winning a few races, a few random categories automatically level up, and none of it seems to mean anything. Can you get new bikes? Cool new gear? Sign a big sponsorship deal? It doesn’t seem so.

The game is crying out for more unlockables and levelling options, and even a couple of different modes to break up the monotony of track racing.
I sense Moto GP fans will like it fine enough, but this is a game series that will need to do better if it is to appeal to a wider audience.

MotoGP 18. Photo: Supplied
MotoGP 18. Photo: Supplied

MotoGP 2018
For: PS4, Xbox One, PC, Switch

From: Milestone

Rating: (G) ★★+

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