The MotoGP series returns with MotoGP 21, published and developed my Milestone. As the name implies to the unfamiliar, it’s a racing / sports / simulation title involving motorcycle racing, launched 22 April 2021 for the PS5, PS4, Xbox Series X | S, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PC via Steam and the Epic Games Store.
All things considered, this, like the games of its kind, is a niche title. For the benefit of completion, here’s the overview of the game, should it pique your interest:
Take your place on the starting grid and get ready for the most realistic and immersive MotoGP™ videogame ever.
THE VERY BEST OF MotoGP™
Live the 2021 Season at its fullest with the classes MotoGP™, Moto2™, Moto3™.
Live the most authentic and immersive 2-wheels racing experience with more than 120 official riders, over 20 tracks and new and improved features for an unprecedented level of realism. And for the first time, the Long Lap Penalty. Relive the history of MotoGP™ with more than 40 historic riders and their iconic bikes.
PLAN YOUR GAME
Take full control of your managerial career: joining an official team or creating a brand new one it’s up to you. Then select your Staff: a team of professionals will assist you throughout the season and your career, helping you to take crucial decisions like the choice of the best contract and the development of your bike.
And once you get to the highest classes, build your own Junior Team, handling every aspect.
EVERY DETAIL UNDER CONTROL
When you can control and manage every aspect of the race, every decision matters. Keep tabs on the level of Fuel, the Brakes temperature and the Tire wear. Take crucial choices based on your riding style and the conditions of the race.
WINNING WITH STYLE
Whether is the way you ride or the way you look, style is key in MotoGP™21. Show them who you really are! Customize helmet, suit, stickers, racing number and livery with 5 incredible graphic editors!
And impress everyone with your riding style too! Also, our revolutionary neural AI system based on machine learning is back with significant improvements: get ready to discover new faces of A.N.N.A. in the most exciting races ever!
Take the fun to a whole new level challenging your friends online or create your own events with the Race Director mode, enjoying a smooth and lag-free experience thanks to our Dedicated Servers.
MotoGP 21 is not a game beginners can simply jump in and expect to be somewhat competent to begin with. It leans harder on the simulation aspect, so basic knowledge on motorcycles will be handy to help you better understand the game.
To compensate for lack of familiarity, the difficulty was set to the lowest possible, with every single driving aid set to maximum. Naturally, veterans to the series will hardly need these, but for those who require the assistance, the options are available. The physics feel quite heavy and realistic, since as mentioned, it’s more simulation than something like an arcade racer. Progress through the game can feel quite slow, and can be even slower without the assists.
This review will be focusing more on the career mode, with Quick Mode and Multiplayer Mode options for additional experiences. In Career mode, you can start your own dream team from the bottom rung, or join an established team as a team rider. As you might expect, the latter option will give you an easier time as you won’t need to figure out how to set up a team.
Thoughout your Career, you’ll need to work on the management side – including signing on a team, then have your manager and engineer – and you can make the changes as you see fit. When you’re part of a team, you can be fired. See, while being on a team gives you a somewhat easier route, you still have to meet their goals and expectations. A race will have objectives for you to fulfill, typically regarding placements. If you fail to hit them, it will cost you career points, which in turn will affect your job security. As it goes without saying, failing too many times will see you kicked out from your team. Hardcore fans will have plenty to tinker around for a weekend race event, upgrading your machine or scouting new talent for your team.
ON THE TRACK
The handling is realistic, and is quite difficult. Sorry for not being a bigger fan of motorcycle racing, alas. Still though, the game is well suited for those who enjoy a level of challenge, and that sense of accomplishment will await you once you finish the race. There’ll be a lot of those you can participate in all over the globe, like Argentina, Germany, Thailand, Malaysia and Dubai. Each of these tracks have respective objectives, and will ask differing technical skills of you; for example, the Dubai one will have more corners, so you’ll need better control and not accelerate wildly. They will also have varying weather conditions – heavy rain, rain, sunny – that you’ll need to further adapt to.
For a newcomer such as myself, learning to follow the other riders and weaving into their pattern became key. Figuring out timings and anticipating things ahead of time is important to ensure you manage to keep up, if not outright win the race. You’ll find 20 different tracks to test your chops on, so go on a controlled spree. Before you head into the track, you can find your tempo with the Free Practise and Qualification Rounds to familiarize yourself. FPR can help with your track understanding and for bike setup. QR has Time Attack, so you can figure out said times. It gamifies the experience some, giving you time to observe, learn and repeat patterns for those you prefer it.
Prior motorcycle knowledge comes in handy here. Not only you can get a better feel of your bike, the skill tree-like customization will offer you options for its engine, frame, aerodynamics and electronics to cater to your riding style. Learning the system is another important aspect to the game, as a newbie would likely run out of gas before they finish a race.
There are AI racers that can help you learn corners, among other things. The AI is a useful learning tool, so be sure to play around with them. Hopefully you’ll be able to learn it well enough as this edition of the game has Real Lap Penalties and Long Lap Penalties.
On the PS5, the bikes, track, track environment, even the tire tracks and collision all look realistic, and look good. The weather effects easily give the game different feelings too, even though that’s not the primary point of the game. Additional customization comes in with your racer, along with their bikes. Mess around with visuals like face, gender, age and nationality, later colours and stickers for your bike suit and helmet. You can’t get sponsor tickets within the game itself, which you can opt to download online or other players.
The much touted next-generation console also makes the game perform smoothly at 60 FPS with no compromise on the graphics. The new Dualsense’s adaptive triggers give that satisfying resistance for the controls. The loading times are kept to a minimum, so that’s not an issue either.
Well, even for a non-enthusiast, there is actually lots of stuff you can play around with when you put in the time, in career mode. Once you get better, multiplayer’s open too. You just need to find that desire to keep going, and maybe you’ll find something new.
Good for enthusiasts, a new challenge for newbies.
- Realistic and challenging
- Great presentation, be it sound or visuals
- Various game modes to play around
- Not for beginners, especially harder if you don't put in the practice
Keeping the engine running for motorcycle racing fans