MotoGP 18 is the first MotoGP game using the Unreal Engine. Milestone claimed that they could make quantum leaps in terms of bike handling, damage simulation and graphics.
I thought before I carry on I should translate this developer statement into reality so you know what you are going to get.
Quantum leap in bike handling = Twitchy and oversensitive
Quantum leap in damage simulation = the same scratches no matter how hard you slam your bike into the tarmac
Quantum leap in graphics = little bit shinier
I was really looking forward to MotoGP 18. I have been playing TT Isle of Man: Ride on the Edge for a little while and it really brought me back to motorcycle games.
I have been playing a lot of car racing games using an Oculus Rift and a steering wheel. The immersion is intense and it shows in your lap times. You can shave seconds off of your laps and you really start to feel what the car is doing.
I am using a Logitech G920 and whilst it isn’t a direct drive wheel it does give you a great sense of the road.
Playing TT Isle of Man the immersion level of VR is gone and as the nature of the game dictates I play with a gamepad. The Xbox One controller does a reasonable job of feeding back what is happening and the rumble is enough to let you know the bike is slipping. It doesn’t compare to car racing but its still really good fun.
Onto MotoGP 18 then and I am lost for words at the lack of any sensation when racing. I really cannot explain to you how removed you feel from what is happening on screen.
To start with, playing the game in first person is impossible. There is so little feedback that you cannot tell what is happening to the bike so you are forced to play in chase mode.
Next, you have the sound. I know bikes are quieter now but this is another level. It feels like I am following an automatic scooter around.
The feedback from the track surface is virtually non-existent. I have rumble set to max and the best I get is a short thrum just before the bike lets go.
The AI is over aggressive and infallible. Seriously, I worked hard to qualify in pole position. I pushed the bike about as hard as I dared and was a second up on second place. The race started and I took off pretty well. Not perfect but a good start, at the end of the first lap I was racing hard and had made no mistakes. Why then were all of the other racers still right there with me? Not only that, but at the next corner I was crashed into, hit off my bike, and then I just appeared on my bike sat at the side of the track, flashing while the pack drove through me. When I finally got going I was dead last and the only one dethroned in the crash.
After being hit, slamming into the tarmac at 80 miles an hour, sliding a few hundred feet into a gravel trap you would assume that my bike would be fairly beat up. You would have assumed wrongly, in MotoGP 18, this type of accident will give you the same cosmetic damage as high siding at 20MPH and dropping the bike directly to the ground.
The disconnect from reality is my biggest issue with this title. I can honestly say, I have not had any fun playing.
The tracks are laser scanned so you would expect them to perfect representations of reality right? Well, if in reality, the tracks are all as smooth as a babies butt then yes, these tracks are realistic. The turns are all in the right places but that is about as real as it gets.
There doesn’t appear to be a lot of content here either. Its been sometime since I played MotoGP 17 but I would swear there is more content than in MotoGP 18, I can say for sure and the devs have claimed this is the best version of the game to date, it makes me wonder, there is a new track in Thailand so that could be what they meant!
I should stop being sarcastic, however, its hard not to pick holes. For example, the first thing I did after downloading MotoGP 18 was a time trial. Its where most people naturally head to for their first blast around a track they already know.
After my initial disappointment with the graphics, handling, sound and disconnect I started trying to put a fast time in. After 40 minutes of trying, I gave up. I could get around the track and record a time or I could go fast and have my lap invalidated EVERY DAMN TIME because I bumped a kerb.
Next up I tried career mode. In MotoGP 18 you can ride a series of races in a career mode and you can qualify in first, that is allowed, you can start in pole but you will have to be knocked off of your bike at some point so you drop back, sometimes this will even be back in dead last, then you will be able to overtake 6 or 7 riders per corner until you are fighting with first place. Eventually, whilst the AI is taking a corner at a walk you will overtake and win. This is exciting.
OK, not every race but it happens often enough for me to know that there is some sort of formula for fun being applied.
If the AI reacted at all to where you were on the track you may not be slipping along the tarmac as often and I think this is the issue with the disconnect. I am not racing AI, I am racing against the weak controls and awful handling. The AI are just obstacles in the way intent on riding the rails around each course. I could just as well ignore them, use the fact that I know they will dismount me at certain points to ride out of the racing line and never have to deal with them.
Going offline has its own problems, however. The dictionary used by the devs is different to ours, for example, in their dictionary tyre wear means, everything is fine but then it’s not and you can fall off your bike now.
You can forget physics too, sometimes I could take a corner at 80mph or 40mph, if I come off, I am still flying into the gravel trap the same distance and doing the same damage to my bike.
To progress in career mode you need to develop the bike and your reputation as well as win races. This means you need to work on different areas of the bike to improve its characteristics in one way or another. Any sensible person would think they should increase the stats that will enhance their personal riding style. That would be great if the game allowed you to feel you had a riding style and weren’t just watching some graphics lean left and right on a monitor.
I was going to talk about the individual areas you can work on or how to quickly increase your reputation but I genuinely feel this game has stolen enough of my time. It is the worst MotoGP game I have ever played and I hope the developers think hard and fast before they release another pile of trash like this.
I had hoped that this new approach using Unreal Engine and the way the devs were talking about the game prelaunch would mean a new start and a solid foundation for the MotoGP series. I was very disappointed so if you are looking for a good Motorcycle racing game, TT Isle of Man Ride on the Edge is leaps and bounds ahead of MotoGP 18.
MotoGP 18 should have been better
- Gameplay - 25%25%
- Graphics - 84%84%
- Sound - 50%50%
- Longevity - 26%26%
- Value - 20%20%
You must not buy this game. It is the very worst motorcycle game I have ever played and I was being very lenient with my scores.