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Review: MotoGP 18 (PS4 Pro)

Racing
6.5

Fair

MotoGP is the pinnacle in the world of bikes. The power, agility and speed are unrivalled in any other category. Only a very select few people will ever get their bums on these bikes, but thanks to games it’s something we all get to experience. Milestone has slowly improved on its series, but I’m afraid they might have fallen off their bike this year and walked away with a fracture or two.

This year you have to match the expectations of your team.

As you might expect MotoGP 18 is very much MotoGP 17 with additional improvements 12 months later when it comes to the modes on offer. As before most of your time will be spent in the career mode where you’ll create and customise a rider that starts off in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. Your task is to make your way through to Moto3, Moto2 and finally mixing it up with the top riders in the world of MotoGP. Achieving all this isn’t as straightforward as it’s been in the past. This year you have to match the expectations of your team.

Sign your life away

Once you’ve signed with any of the officially licensed teams, they’ll expect you to meet certain criteria on race day. Fail in doing that and they might just dismiss you after a few races for losing their trust. Perform well or above average and you’ll be promoted to first rider in the team or you’ll receive offers from the bigger teams around the world. Excel in your group and you move up to the next tier, if you so please. It’s up to you to make the most of the transfer window. With each completed race you’ll also be rewarded with improved levels for Throttle Management, Riding Position, Brakes Management and Leaning Angle. All this helps you in landing that new and improved offer from other teams. The real hero of the game, your bike, has received some impressive updates too.

When completing any race you are rewarded with development points that can be used to upgrade the features on your bike. The engine, brakes, suspension, frame and aerodynamics can all be altered and makes quite the difference to your ride. I found that adjusting the ‘Lean’ attribute under Frame had me cornering with much more ease and that improving the ‘Elasticity’ in the Suspension section upgraded the bike stability drastically. It’s so much fun completing a race, upgrading your bike and feeling the results right away in your very next race. In terms of the actual racing, the game feels exceptionally good, but there is one major obstacle this year.

Still loading

Loaded

Each and every track in MotoGP is present. Before you enter a race you get to watch an introduction video of that country, which is something I really enjoyed. The official F1 game should take note of it. Once that video is over the first big problem rears its ugly head – long loading times. It takes over one minute, should you skip that intro video, to load your race. What makes it all the more baffling is that it leads to the next problem. The bikes and riders in MotoGP 18 look fantastic, but everything else looks like a dog’s breakfast. It honestly feels like a decent PS3 game. There is no point in having HDR and a 4K setting, as it’s just all so bland. There is also a problem with the textures loading (pictured above), and when it does eventually load it doesn’t look good at all. The problems in the graphic’s department do not end there.

Serious engine problems

MotoGP 18’s biggest blunder is that the game that was originally a 60 fps experience in 2017 is now a 30 fps game. The ride that was once butter smooth is now a little choppy. Also, small things like the animation of bikers flying off their bikes are cringe-worthy. So why has this all suddenly turned to s**t? Milestone decided to move to the Unreal engine with this game, whereas MotoGP 17 (and all the games prior to this in the series) ran on their own engine. The decision for this makes sense as they had other visual problems using their own engine and also did not have the resources to further improve on it. In 2018 it’s basically the first test drive and the bike flipped. It’s a genuine pity as the game actually plays really well. The positioning of the riders and the way the bike handles feels exceptionally good on the road, even though the game is tough as nails. You can at least drop the difficulty to make it enjoyable.

If you’re after a crisp 60 fps then I suggest you hold on to your copy of MotoGP 17.

Unfortunately, I also struggled to find any games online and there are no other offline multiplayer options. Other modes include Championship mode – where you get to play as one of your MotoGP heroes, Time Attack and a singular Grand Prix mode. There is also an in-depth tutorial that teaches players the ins and outs of handling a bike via a basic, semi-pro and pro tutorial. Veteran players will have a great time using the TCS (Traction Control System) to play it as a simulation or, for the first time, manually releasing the clutch at the start of the race to get the jump on the competition. Other than that you can get a look at your MotoGP ID purely for you to feel proud about your own achievements.

Moto GP 18 is the dawn of a new era for the series. This first outing has some serious problems at hand using the Unreal engine, but we expect this to be a different story next year. If you’re after a crisp 60 fps then I suggest you hold on to your copy of MotoGP 17, but if you need all the latest riders and other stats you’ll have to deal with this speed wobble in the series.

Good

  • Bike upgrades
  • Team challenges
  • It's fun to play, but...

Bad

  • Dropped from 60 fps to 30 fps
  • Loooooong loading times
  • Barely anyone playing it online

Summary

Bike games always seem to get the short end of the stick and MotoGP 18 isn't going to help that cause. It might be a build up towards a better tomorrow, but for now you'll have to deal with a finish out of the points.
6.5

Fair

Married to a gamer and she kicks my ass at most shooters. If the game is enjoyable I'll play it, no matter the format.

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