Valentino Rossi: The Game is the next instalment in the MotoGP series, and although the name doesn’t say it, it’s essentially MotoGP 16. The series developers struck a deal with the nine time MotoGP Champion, and his name was slapped on the title and game. That is definitely not a bad thing since some extra Valentino Rossi related content has been added on top of all the licenses the series already owns.
Welcome to the Ranch
The game features several modes, including Multiplayer, Time Attack and Career mode. The first season you do some races on the flat track, and get invites to race at some of the Grand Prix events. You get your contract for a MotoGP3 team in the second season, and then have to start improving to get better contract offers from MotoPG2 based teams.
[pullquote_left]You will not easily win your first few races, but as you get better you start climbing in the standings and you get a great sense of progression.[/pullquote_left]Some of the races in the beginning of career mode takes place on a flat track at Rossi’s Tavullia’s Ranch in Italy. You get to race on dirt bikes around a specially designed track. It teaches you the basics well before you get to a MotoGP race. And make no mistake, getting the basics right is essential in doing well in races. You will not easily win your first few races, but as you get better you start climbing in the standings and you get a great sense of progression. You get certain Team objectives, which moves as you accomplish or miss it.
To spice up something that can get repetitive.
The inclusion of dirt bikes makes for a difference when it comes to keeping gameplay fresh and fun. Other modes such as the Monza Rally in a Ford Fiesta Rally car, or Drift in a Ford Mustang also adds some flavour to the game. The events are though in-between the regular MotoGP season to shake things up a bit. They are a bit underwhelming, but it is nice additions to the game that is mostly about MotoGP. I wanted to try multiplayer, but could unfortunately not find any matches, so elaborating on that is not possible at this time.
Not that having a MotoGP licensed game is a bad thing. All the regular teams, tracks, bikes and sponsors are there, and once you reach the big league, you can essentially make your pick of any of your favourite teams you might want to race for.
Technically good, but a little bit bland
Gameplay is very solid, and the bike look and feels like the real deal, along with some acceptable controls. You can make it as easy or as difficult as you want. Settings range from the bike almost riding itself, to full simulation where gearing, seating position as well as independent front and rear braking is required. I tried using these full simulation features, and fell off the bike on the first turn. It also has a very clean menu design, and navigating to the event or mode you want to use it simple enough.
But the game is not perfect, and as stated it can get a bit boring. Fans of racing sims and MotoGP will love it, but casual gamers might lose interest very quickly. It also doesn’t help that the game looks and sounds a bit dated. [pullquote_right]The game is not perfect, and as stated it can get a bit boring. Fans of racing sims and MotoGP will love it, but casual gamers might lose interest very quickly. [/pullquote_right] The bikes sounded okay, but something was a bit missing, it might be what it sounds like while riding in a pack of 30 motorbikes, but it just felt a bit bland and didn’t quite get the blood pumping like some other racing games would. The music is horrible though. It’s the typical racing game of the early 2000’s kind of music and it got annoying very fast. Luckily an option to turn it off altogether does exist, so be sure to use that.
The visuals of the game is also a bit dated. Seven years ago the game would’ve been stunning, but it is simply not good enough by today’s standards. I saw some weird pop-ups, and lifeless character models both on the bike and next to the track. It also doesn’t help for immersion when the crowd all wave the same flags in perfect synchronisation. There’s is a free camera mode which allows you to pause the game and take some cool bike action selfies, but since the game doesn’t look so great to start off with, this feature seems a bit redundant.
Is it worth your time?
If you’re a fan of racing simulation and/or MotoGP, then you might look past the imperfections of the game, and will be pleases with what’s on offer. There is a lot of content, and that alone should warrant your attention. The game doesn’t look or sound perfect, but it plays well, and sometimes that’s all that matters. There is a lot to improve on, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a decent enough game already.