MotoGP 17 PS4 Review

MotoGP 17 is a motorbike simulation racing game available from retail stores and for download from the PlayStation Store for the PS4. MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorbike racing with the first-ever MotoGP season taking place across six races for the 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, sidecar 600cc and constructors’ 500cc world championship in 1949. The first-ever MotoGP race rather unbelievably took place on June 17th 1949 at the Isle of Man TT within the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc categories with Manliff Barrington, Freddie Frith and Harold Daniell winning their respective 250cc, 350cc and 500cc race, while the Isle of Man also hosted the longest ever MotoGP race in 1957 with eight laps totalling to 301.84 miles which was won by Bob McIntyre. Nello Pagani, Bruno Ruffo, Freddie Frith, Leslie Graham, Eric Oliver/Denis Jenkinson and AJS went onto win their respective 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, sidecar 600cc and constructors’ 500cc world championship category titles to etch their names in history during MotoGP’s debut season in 1949.

MotoGP 17 is the official game based upon the 69th season of MotoGP, although there have been other MotoGP games licensed to a specific season such as Namco’s MotoGP games released within the PS2 generation, THQ’s MotoGP games released within the original Xbox generation and Capcom’s MotoGP games during the earlier years of the PS3 generation. Milestone got their first taste of MotoGP when developing MotoGP 07 and MotoGP 08 for Capcom before purchasing the rights to develop and publish their own MotoGP games starting with MotoGP 13. Milestone has a great pedigree of not only developing great racing games, but priding themselves on the authenticity of the racing experience which is what has forged their history of exceptional sports racing games as the Italian passion of motorsports radiates from their games in the home of Ferrari and Ducati. Milestone has been especially prolific with multiple iterations throughout various forms of motorbike racing including SBK, Motocross and MotoGP, but how does MotoGP 17 compare to previous efforts from Namco, THQ, Capcom and Milestone within the MotoGP series?

MotoGP 17 features all of the official licenses for the 2017 season which comprises of 18 tracks situated in various locations around the world including: Losail, Qatar; Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina; Austin, USA; Jerez, Spain; Le Mans, France; Mugello, Italy; Catalunya, Spain; Assen, Holland; Sachsenring, Germany; Brno, Czech Republic; Spielberg, Austria; Silverstone, Great Britain; Misano, San Marino; Aragón, Spain; Motegi, Japan; Phillip Island, Australia; Sepang, Malaysia; and Valencia, Spain. There are no classic tracks or any tracks from previous seasons; therefore tracks that have featured in recent MotoGP games such as Indianapolis, USA which was removed from the 2016 and 2017 MotoGP calendars cannot be raced on in MotoGP 17, despite the track being modelled for MotoGP 15.

There are 23 MotoGP riders, 32 Moto2 riders, 31 Moto3 riders and 25 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup riders which totals to 111 riders from the 2017 season, while every rider has performance percentages outlining their respective strengths and weaknesses including braking, throttle management, cornering and body positioning that are all accurate to their real life counterparts. Every bike and team is also officially licensed such as Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, Kalex Engineering, KTM, Speed Up Racing, Suzuki, Tech 3 Racing, Yamaha and many more besides, alongside their specifications and level of team performance.

However, the sensational introduction of historic categories includes riders who had previously joined a different formula of racing, retired from racing or younger versions of riders from when they had raw talent before becoming legends of the sport; riding a bike within a team during a specific season that is important to their respective legacies and careers. Historic categories allow players to ride their historic bike, rider and team amongst an entire field of historic riders, bikes and teams from one of the four available eras including 13 riders in the 125cc two-stroke category, 11 riders in the 250cc two-stroke category, 23 riders in the 500cc two-stroke category and 29 riders in the MotoGP four-stroke category totalling to 76 historic riders. The vast majority of historic riders, bikes and teams are unlockables with specific unlock conditions such as completing or winning a particular number of races in MotoGP or Moto2. Some of the highlights from the historic categories includes the late great Nicky Hayden from his 2006 MotoGP championship winning season in the Repsol Honda team, while Casey Stoner aged 21 from his 2007 MotoGP championship winning season in the Ducati team and riding a Repsol Honda at the age of 26 when he retired from racing in MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season.

Max Biaggi aged 29 riding for the Yamaha team in the 2001 500cc season in which he finished second after winning three races and making it to the podium on nine occasions, aged 32 from the 2004 MotoGP season in which he finished third after one win and nine podium finishes riding for the Camel Honda team and riding a Repsol Honda team aged 33 in his final MotoGP season in 2005. Loris Capirossi aged 25 from his 1998 250cc championship winning season in the Aprilia team, aged 28 from the 2001 500cc season in which he finished third after nine podium finishes riding for the West Honda team and aged 33 from the 2006 MotoGP season after three wins and eight podium finishes riding for the Ducati team. Colin Edwards aged 31 riding for the Yamaha team in the 2005 MotoGP season were he finished a career high of fourth position with three podium finishes.

Valentino Rossi features heavily starting with a 17 year old Valentino in his debut season in 1996 riding in the 125cc category for the Aprilia team, although the 1997 125cc season is just as important as that was Valentino Rossi’s first-ever championship within any of the MotoGP categories aged 18, while the 1998 season seen Rossi remain with the Aprilia team but step up to the 250cc category in which he finished second aged 19 before winning the 250cc title in 1999 for the Aprilia team aged 20. At the age of 22, Valentino Rossi kept up his record of winning a category in the second season of participation as he won the 500cc category for the Honda team in the 2001 season. Valentino Rossi won the MotoGP category championship in consecutive seasons from 2002 to 2005 with the 2002 Honda and 2004 Yamaha available to ride when Valentino was aged 23 and 25 respectively, while the 2008 Yamaha is also available from Valentino’s return to winning ways, aged 29. A particular suggestion for an expanded version of the historic categories would be the legendary British motorbike rider Barry Sheene who won Formula 750 in 1973 before winning the 500cc MotoGP championship in 1976 and successfully defending the title in 1977.

Rider Career mode starts towards the end of the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup which has made the transition from downloadable content in previous MotoGP games to being immediately available in MotoGP 17. Teams from MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 categories have always scouted the best up and coming talents from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup since it was introduced in 2007, especially given how the category challenges young riders to perform to the best of their ability on the best tracks situated throughout Europe on a KTM RC 250 R bike that is modelled closely to the Moto3 bike specifications. Your participation in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup begins in the sixth race of a seven race season at Misano, San Marino followed by Aragón, Spain as your custom rider sits in second place in the championship on 97 points; only 9 points off the leader having already earned two second place finishes, two third place finishes and coming off your rider’s maiden victory in the previous race in Spielberg, Austria.

Winning or performing to a high standard in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup will earn you the choice of competing in a full Rookies Cup season or being promoted to race in the Moto3 category. E-mails from your personal manager will congratulate you on a job well done; inform you of race weekend objectives and new opportunities such as contract offers from teams in any category. Choosing a promotion to the Moto3 category results in an 18 race season in parallel to the tracks contained within the MotoGP season calendar as you continue your venture towards not only ascending into the MotoGP category, but also attempting to win the ultimate prize in all of competitive motorbike racing by becoming MotoGP champion.

Every setting within race options and riding aids are fully customisable, although selecting the easiest settings gradually reduces your reputation bonus until it reaches 0%; therefore providing a risk and reward gameplay element within Rider Career mode as reputation points is the very thing that will attract teams from a higher category to produce a firm contract offer. For instance, achieving a race objective earns 5,000 reputation points, winning a race will earn 5,000 reputation points and winning a championship earns upwards of 25,000 reputation points, alongside an appropriate percentage for the race options and riding aids you have chosen prior to the start of the race weekend such as disabling rewind functionality and extending the duration of the race weekend to include qualifying or practice sessions in order to easily earn a 10% bonus in reputation points.

One of the major features introduced in MotoGP 17 is that of Managerial Career mode which begins with a video showcasing MotoGP’s greatest talents. Your personal assistant welcomes you to your team headquarters and informs you that you have been registered as a wild card for the last race of the Moto3 season in Valencia with only the formalities of completing paperwork, finding a bike and signing a sponsorship agreement before starting your venture in the Moto3 category. Finalising your custom rider is followed by entering your own team name, then the tough decisions come through immediately such as which bike to purchase when utilising your 120,000 credits budget, then selecting one of three available sponsors that each provide a fixed sponsor reward and an objective sponsor bonus which will fund your team with credits in addition to a race objective finishing position.

Every team within motorsports has their own unique livery which is reflected in the ability to create a custom livery by choosing three main colours and a wheel rim colour from dozens of colours in a gloss, opaque, chrome or metallic finish, then selecting one of three liveries that alternates the positioning of your team and category sponsors; therefore allowing you to be as creative as you want to be in a sense that you could be managing a team that races in the same colours as your favourite sports team. Your custom rider starts out with 40% throughout their braking, throttle management, cornering and body positioning attributes which gradually increases as your rider competes in more race weekends, alongside their affinity with each category. Every race weekend will have its costs for your team which makes your team’s income all the more important as you will need to upgrade your bikes or purchase better bikes and hire more staff in order to be successful; yet that results in a significant increase in costs.

Progressing from the wild card entry at the end of the season in Valencia into a full length Moto3 season encompassing 18 race weekends means that your team has to hire a second rider to complete your riding talents with nine riders to choose from who all average out at 43% overall quality, but have different attribute percentages, while a scout report highlights their current value, potential value, growth and distinctive style which is vital to consider given that each rider demands a different hiring fee.

Bikes can be upgraded in a three step workshop research and development (R&D) programme with bike development comprising of four upgrades for the engine, frame, suspension and brakes which cost varying amounts of credits and weeks to implement.

Managing costs in relation to performance does not end there though; as the sheer amount of customisation within your team’s staff management is quite impressive as there are mechanical engineers, track engineers, motor engineers, telemetry analysts and sports management personnel to hire for the pits, while there are also marketing department, community management, PR office, technical co-ordination and logistics management within the team’s offices, alongside suspensions engineers, ECU engineers, hospitality chefs and nutritionists and athletic preparation team for the team’s support department.

Throughout the duration of the season; there will be times for a break here and there, but outside of race weekends your team will most probably be participating in an activity day to raise bonus credits or reputation for your team by appearing in sponsor television advertisements, participating in autograph sessions and photo shoots with fans, television studio appearances to discuss the upcoming race weekend and participating in Q&A sessions with fans on social media. However, there will be some weeks in which you can decide to participate in a sponsor event for a credits bonus, a social event for a reputation bonus, an interview for a race credits bonus or taking part in a meeting with fans who have won a competition organised by sponsors. A rather interesting alternative is riding a currently in development bike with the goal of beating the time to receive a reduction in time for the bike’s development worth multiple weeks resulting in the bike upgrade being ready for the upcoming race weekend instead of the race weekend after that which drastically improves your chances of a podium position or even winning a race. Be wary as quite frustratingly even if your bike leaves the confines of the track for barely a tenth of a second during a test session; your lap time will immediately be invalidated, therefore making the test session lap time not as easy as you may initially believe. It is most certainly definitive that rising through the ranks from a wild card in the final round of Moto3 to becoming MotoGP rider’s and constructor’s champions in Managerial Career mode will be a long and challenging journey; yet an extremely rewarding one.

Reputation points are also featured separately in Managerial Career mode to represent the popularity of your team which is incredibly important to your team’s potential as it will increase the probability of attracting more capable riders and leading manufacturers to sign contracts with your team instead of going elsewhere. Team reputation points can be earned from positive finishing positions at the end of race weekends or engaging in activity days with existing fans of your team and fans of the sport, alongside the same methods as Rider Career mode by selecting harder race options and riding options.

A variety of sponsors including Dorna Sports and BMW have partnered with MotoGP and PlayStation to create the inaugural official MotoGP eSport Championship exclusively on PS4 in which players from around the world will be able to attempt an access test to surpass a lap time in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Moto3 and Moto2 categories for entry into a qualification stage in which players have a chance to compete at a live final race in Valencia within a final group of 16 players for the much coveted title and a grand prize of a BMW M240i car.

Grand Prix mode provides the opportunity of racing on a single track with the ability to have a full race weekend, qualifying and race or only a race competing against 22 MotoGP opponents or as many as 31 opponents in Moto2. When selecting Grand Prix mode; you can choose any of the official riders, bikes and teams or alternatively select your custom rider from the MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup categories or from any of the previously unlocked riders, bikes and teams in the 125cc two-stroke, 250cc two-stroke, 500cc two-stroke and MotoGP four-stroke historic categories, alongside any of the 18 tracks and retaining the freedom to adjust the race length between 15%, 25%, 35%, 50% or a full length race distance for each circuit, A.I. difficulty and full customisation of riding aids to your ideal preferences. There are also various areas of customisation to complement everything else such as variable weather conditions; light, heavy or no bike damage; tyre wear; penalty timer; and disciplinary flags.

Championship mode allows you to create your own championship season comprising of races against 22 MotoGP opponents or as many as 31 opponents in Moto2 which is customisable to your preferences as the championship will be the official 18 race calendar of the MotoGP season, although you can customise the race calendar to a minimum of four races and a maximum of 18 races including the ability to repeat your favourite tracks anywhere amongst the calendar as many times as you wish within a championship season, alongside the same riders, bikes, teams, race options and riding aids as the Grand Prix mode.

Time Attack mode provides players with the opportunity to set the best lap time around any of the 18 tracks in an attempt to climb the online leaderboards representing the fastest lap times as you compete against players from across the world to see who performs the best lap time in a one lap scenario, although you can complete as many laps as you wish with a full selection of riders, bikes and teams from all 8 classes or your custom rider, while you can also customise weather conditions to make them as unpredictable as you prefer and full customisation of riding aids to your ideal preferences.

Unfortunately, the excellent Special Events mode introduced in MotoGP 15 has not been brought back for MotoGP 17. Special Events would have certainly fitted in as there is always drama in motorsports; therefore the Real Events in which the player must replicate what happened in favour of some riders’ positive results during race weekends throughout the season or changing the outcome after a rider has had a problem to recover to the podium to preserve their championship hopes is always a relevant feature and one that future MotoGP games would benefit from re-introducing. Meanwhile, there are also no post-race podiums in any modes; which would have increased the raw emotions such as any controversial moments between two team-mates or rivalries in contrast to ecstatic celebrations from unexpectedly making the podium or winning a race.

Weather conditions include clear blue skies with no risk of rain; cloudy with a possibility of rain; light rain within the race; torrential rain throughout the duration of the race; a wet track; and even random weather conditions that are capable of presenting any form of weather in the build-up to and during the race. All weather conditions are modelled accurately to present a unique challenge as each type of weather will make your bike behave differently; particularly in regards to how difficult your bike handles during high speed acceleration and upon the entrance and exit of corners during braking zones. One of the most challenging weather conditions has to be the wet track creating a scenario in which the sun has came out but not for long enough to entirely dry the track providing its own complexities as riders will need to start on wet tyres yet the normal racing line will gradually become dry as the water is dispersed from the bikes riding through it, therefore riders will have to adjust their racing lines to follow where the wet patches are situated within each straight and corner in order for the wet tyres to be kept within their operating window.

Bike setup can be changed in the pits which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your bike setup for each track. Bike setup is spread across five categories including suspension, handlebars, gears, brakes and tyres with each category having various settings such as the ability to change the suspension by adjusting the preload, spring stiffness, compression damping and rebound damping for the front and rear of the bike; changing the handlebars by adjusting the rake and trail; changing the gears by selecting a low, medium or high gear ratio for all six gears and the final gear ratio from a six point slider; changing brake discs by adjusting the front and rear brake discs; and changing the tyres by adjusting to a soft, medium or hard compound tyre for the front and rear tyres, while there are options to save, load or delete your preferred bike setups and to return your bike setup to its former default factory settings. However, there is also the ability to communicate with your race engineer in order to discuss what feels wrong on the bike and to fix it accordingly such as mentioning that the responsiveness of the bike through the corners seems strange results in an option of it leaning too quickly or slowly; if it leans too quickly, then a suggestion of stiffer spring settings to set the compression and rebound damping setting to a higher level will be offered by the race engineer which you can decide to accept or ignore. Realistic communication between the rider and race engineer certainly produces an appropriate level of realism which provides a real element of strategy to gameplay in almost every mode and increases competitiveness even further.

Players can customise their rider from the MyGP menu which allows you to customise your rider licence from your rider’s personal data including their portrait from a choice of 18 pre-set faces, first name, surname, abbreviation, age, nationality, racing number, 6 font styles and 29 font colours, nickname, 6 nickname font styles and 29 nickname colours, alongside a selection of rider gear including 49 crash helmet designs, 20 boot designs and 20 glove designs. The largest area of the rider customisation feature has to be choosing your riding style which consists of five available pre-sets including balanced, elbows to the ground, shoulders out, body out and old school which is a great feature that even educates the player on the difference of rider positioning for each riding style resulting in players being able to ride their motorbike in the style of their favourite MotoGP rider, although it would have been even better if the player was able to meticulously create their own unique riding style in what would have been a similar approach to the Ride series.

There are six excellently positioned camera angles including a camera angle positioned directly behind the rider, while the second and third camera angles are positioned further back to provide three separate views of the bike, opposing bikes and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments which certainly caters for the appropriate distances of third-person perspectives. There are three first-person perspectives providing a realistic and accurate representation of the cockpit including an LCD dashboard and speedometer to display your current speed, alongside the handle bars and crash visor, while there is another accurate portrayal of the cockpit albeit from the actual rider’s eye view looking out through the crash helmet which authentically limits the peripheral vision of the rider at the top and bottom of the camera angle and the final first-person camera is positioned on the front of the bike looking outwards without showing any bodywork. There is no optional re-positioning of the camera angle to bring it closer to or further away from the bike as has been expertly utilised in WRC 4 on Vita and MXGP on PS3; allowing you to move a slide bar 20 clicks further forwards or backwards from the rider to customise a third-person perspective that is suited to your preferences, although the focus of all six camera angles can be adjusted in order to look to the left, right, above, below or behind the rider.

The free camera available from the pause menu allows you to observe the closer details of the racing in the foreground and trackside environments. Free camera really is a great feature; allowing the camera to be positioned with freedom within the vicinity of the racing action including extensive customisation of images such as panning, camera height, zooming in or out, anywhere from a minor tilt to a full sideways tilt and seven image filters in a fully immersive environment which works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature.

You can watch a full race replay with the ability to watch in slow motion, pause, fast forward, rewind, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and to view the action from the previous or next rider, restart the replay or enter the free camera feature. You can view the replay from seven camera angles including a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the bike with the TV camera angle changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo, while the handlebar camera is somewhat inverted in comparison to the rider’s eye view as you get to view the action looking backwards at your rider as he spots the braking points, leans into corners and tucks in during straights; a camera mounted towards the rear of the bike which highlights the weight distribution of the rider through corners; a first-person cockpit gameplay viewpoint; one of the third-person gameplay views positioned further behind the rider; and two wheel mounted camera angles positioned just offset showing the rotation of the front and rear wheels respectively with a clear view of the riders ahead of you or those that you have overtaken being left in your trail amongst the scenery, while the common thread between both wheel mounted cameras is that they show the amount of load going through the bike particularly when braking. It would be great to see some of these camera angles such as the front wheel mounted camera that could automatically switch from one side of the wheel to the other depending upon the direction of the upcoming corner or the Gran Turismo style dynamic TV coverage; make the transition to being playable as you are riding as they would further complement the immersion within the authenticity of the racing experience, while the same can be said for some of the gameplay camera angles being brought over to the replay coverage such as the rider’s eye view and the two further third-person camera angles. It would have been amazing for the gameplay and replay camera angles to include a helicopter camera angle from high above the circuit following the action with the sound effect of the helicopter in the audio mix.

It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of MotoGP 17 after the excellent retail releases for MotoGP 13 and 14 on Vita, although the consolation is remote play. MotoGP 17’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are the same quality as the PS4 version, while the control scheme has been optimised resulting in acceleration being moved from R2 to the bottom right of the touch screen and braking has moved from L2 to the bottom left of the touch screen, although they would have perhaps been better suited to R and L respectively, especially as you may have to lift your thumb from steering with the left analogue stick to brake. I had the best remote play experience with MotoGP 2017 after customising the control scheme via advanced options in which acceleration and braking was re-mapped to R1 and L1 respectively; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre. However, remote play during split-screen multiplayer is displayed in split-screen instead of a single screen when it would have been much better to have the player using remote play to have their own full Vita screen with the other player having a full television screen.

The controls are well mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of pressing R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to use the front brake or reverse; pressing L1 to rewind following a crash or loss of direction; pressing X to use the rear brake; pressing O to manually shift up a gear; pressing square to manually shift down a gear; pressing triangle to tuck-in for the best aerodynamic positioning of your rider; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your bike in that direction; moving the direction of the left analogue stick forwards or backwards to appropriately distribute your rider’s weight; moving the direction of the right analogue stick to the left, right, upwards or downwards to focus the camera in that direction; pressing R3 to view behind your rider; pressing up or down on the d-pad to increase or decrease TCS; pressing R1 to chat in online multiplayer; pressing L3 to view chat status in online multiplayer; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.

There is no gyroscopic motion sensing functionality which is surprising as it could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is under utilised as it only changes the camera angle and cannot be re-mapped at all, whereas an optional control scheme of MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear. The light bar produces white for a neutral gear on the starting grid, while green ensures the rider is safely within gear at a low gear ratio, yellow represents a medium gear ratio to show the rider should start preparing to shift up a gear and light to dark orange fading into red signifies that it is time to shift up a gear at the end of the gear ratio. There is a lot of vibration from the DualShock 4 controller which certainly adds to the immersion of heavy braking loads when braking from high acceleration, track undulation, making contact with other bikes, running off wide into a gravel trap and crashes resulting in your rider struggling to hold onto his bike or falling off his bike.

MotoGP 17 strives for better performance at 60 frames-per-second which is an impressive achievement when considering that Moto2 has 32 riders on track. Graphically, MotoGP 17 retains the flare of previous games despite not moving onto Unreal Engine 4 in the way that Milestone’s MXGP3 has, although between the new features and Milestone’s fastest ever MotoGP game; it can certainly be forgiven. That is not to say that MotoGP 17 has not improved in some areas graphically; as PS4 Pro support enables a resolution of 1440p, while HDR support produces further enhancements and still maintains 60 frames-per-second, although there is no downsampling for 1080p televisions.

The presentation of the game is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, Rider Career menus, Managerial Career menus, quick mode menu, Grand Prix menus, Championship menus, Time Attack menus, split-screen and online multiplayer menus, online leaderboards, My GP menus, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. The background of menus consists of blurred outlines of MotoGP action. The loading screens are just as good in their presentation as the menus as they contain analysis of the track you are about to ride on with a track map showcasing the split time sectors, right-hand bends and left-hand bends to keep you occupied during any loading times. Everything has an air of TV style presentation with pre-race videos that provide a build-up to the race by showing the culture and hospitality of the host city which carries through to the gameplay with data overlays of the gaps between two riders who are duelling for position; when a rider has been involved in a collision with another rider or has crashed; fastest lap; air and track temperature; grid line-up; warm-up lap; and much more besides presented exactly as you would expect to see it when watching professional television coverage.

Gavin Emmett who is widely known as BT Sport’s MotoGP commentator and journalist provides pre-session introductions and post-session analysis which creates some atmosphere in the build-up to proceedings, although unfortunately there is still no commentary during qualifying and race sessions which would certainly have increased immersion through having BT Sport’s commentators Keith Huewen and Julian Ryder calling the action. Sound effects include revving bike engines, running over curbs, weather conditions such as rain and ambience as the crowd cheers as riders make their way past their grandstands and during post-race paddock celebrations, although the crowd could perhaps benefit from being more involved in the audio mix as they can quiet at times during races; which is complimented by an instrumental theme during menus. There is surprisingly no DualShock 4 speaker implementation, although it could have produced any layer of audio such as bike engines, collisions, pre-session and post-session commentary or ambient sounds.

The trophy list includes 36 trophies with 16 bronze trophies, 15 silver trophies, 4 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. Easier trophies include the Rookie bronze trophy for winning a Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup race in Rider Career; the A Good Start… bronze trophy for earning pole position in a MotoGP, Moto2 or Moto3 race weekend in any offline mode; the A Sunday Outing bronze trophy for racing a total of 155 miles; and the No Mistakes silver trophy for winning a race in Rider Career with rewind disabled. Harder trophies include the A Real Pro bronze trophy for racing and winning a MotoGP race with pro physics, tyre wear and damages active and The Legend gold trophy for you or one of your riders winning the MotoGP championship in Managerial Career. There are five online multiplayer trophies including two bronze trophies for completing 1 and 5 online races respectively; three silver trophies for completing 10, 20 and 25 online races respectively; and the Sofa Challenge bronze trophy for completing a split-screen multiplayer race. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 25 to 30 hours to platinum the trophy list.

There are five difficulty levels including very easy, easy, medium, hard and simulation with the major differences between difficulty levels being the A.I. will become gradually more clinical with each step up in difficulty as they will wait for an appropriate overtaking opportunity and capitalise on any mistake you make. There are further factors involved in the difficulty level besides the A.I. as there are three physics settings including standard, semi-pro and pro which increase the corresponding difficulty curve as the three physics settings each provide totally different handling. Standard physics feel more arcade oriented with a much lower chance of crashing when you have become accustomed to the handling, while the semi-pro physics strikes a balance between standard and pro physics as the pro physics are far more realistic and fully depend upon you perfecting the weight distribution of your rider throughout every corner of the track. The rewind mechanic can reduce the difficulty by having numerous opportunities to rewind before a crash has occurred. Between the five difficulty levels, three physics settings and plenty of riding assists which can be turned on or off; players have full customisation over the degree of challenge they wish to encounter in any single player mode as well as the difficulty for A.I. controlled riders, physics, gear shifts and riding assists in split-screen and online multiplayer.

Split-screen multiplayer for two players retains the speed and graphical fidelity found in single player modes and is a great addition with all of the tracks, riders, bikes and teams available for selection from all 8 classes. However, split-screen multiplayer does not come without limitations such as the field being cut from 23 MotoGP riders or 32 Moto2 riders to 10 riders albeit that is an improvement in comparison to the field of six riders in split-screen multiplayer from Milestone’s previous MotoGP games, while there are no custom riders; no customisable bike setup; no choice of sessions beyond the race resulting in no qualifying session; no customisable championship; the removal of two first-person camera angles; weather conditions are limited to dry, cloudy or a wet track with no light rain, heavy rain or random weather conditions; no rewind mechanic; no post-race paddock celebrations; and no replays.

Online multiplayer performance is just as good as single player with the same sense of speed, graphics, up to 12 players and the capability of A.I. fleshing out the field, although if a player joins an online multiplayer lobby in which the race is already under way, then you will not be able to immediately join the race; instead having to watch a circuit tracker rather than being able at least being able to view the race as a spectator.

Online multiplayer includes create match mode for Grand Prix and Championship modes which provides the ability for players to create their own customised lobby with a choice of a single race or championship with additional options including any of the 7 bike classes; 4 sets of physics including a free choice for each player, standard, semi-pro or pro physics; semi-automatic, manual or a free choice of transmission; the number of races within a championship from 2 to 18; a race length from anywhere between 1 to 15 laps; the option of a qualifying session; track and weather selection policies for random selection or voting; A.I. difficulty between very easy, easy, medium, hard, simulation or no A.I. opponents; collisions; light, heavy or no damage; tyre wear; and privacy settings for a public or private lobby. Quick match mode for Grand Prix mode provide three major features from create match mode including class, amount of laps and presets, while the number of races is a fourth feature for Championship mode as search filters in order to help players find a race which fits their preferences. Lobbies list takes the same approach as quick match mode, albeit with the addition of match privacy preferences, while the lobbies list presents a detailed yet concise overview of race options, physics, amount of players and pre-race, qualifying or race status for each respective lobby, alongside each lobby defining every player’s abandon percentage to ensure that none of your opponents quit because they are being soundly beaten by a superior rider.

Co-op Season allows players to create a new season or continue a season that is already under way in an online co-operative multiplayer mode for two players by creating a lobby that provides some customisable riding aids, while locking you and your participating co-operative partner into 3 lap races competing against A.I. set to the hardest difficulty of simulation. Both players start out in a six race Moto3 season, while attempting to earn a promotion up a class to Moto2 before eventually arriving at the MotoGP season which is decided by how much both players are able to improve their respective ranking points from the initial 1,000 ranking points in order to progress the marker towards being within the higher division category.

Time Attack online leaderboards focus on fastest times from each player with rankings covering all 18 tracks across all 8 classes with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); the physics setting and bike used during the player’s fastest time; and the best time set by each player, while players can compare their positioning on the leaderboards with players that occupy the top positions, globally, from your friends list and to immediately find and display your position within any given leaderboard. There are two further online leaderboards including player rankings and manager rankings with positions assorted by ranking points and reputation respectively.

MotoGP 17’s replayability is quite significant due to the quantity of modes such as Rider Career, Grand Prix, Championship, Time Attack and newly introduced modes including Managerial Career in single player, the inaugural MotoGP eSport Championship for global competition and a staggering amount of historic riders, bikes and teams, alongside split-screen multiplayer, online multiplayer and competitive online leaderboards all being sources of lengthy replayability which will bring players back for an extensive period of time.

Analysis
• Title: MotoGP 17
• Developer: Milestone
• Publisher: Koch Media
• System: PS4
• Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1-2 (Split-Screen Multiplayer)/2 (Online Co-op Season)/2-12 (Online Competitive Multiplayer)/Online Leaderboards
• Hard Drive Space Required: 13.56GB (Version 1.07 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)

Jason

Jason

Jason plays all genres of games and enjoys all different kinds of experiences that the games industry has to offer. Jason’s favourite PlayStation exclusive franchises throughout various eras include: Crash Bandicoot, God of War, Gran Turismo, inFamous, Killzone, Little Big Planet, MotorStorm, Resistance, Spyro the Dragon, Uncharted, Wipeout and various games that never became big name franchises. A special mention goes to Black Rock’s superb Split Second: Velocity as it is rather unbelievable that it will never receive a sequel.Jason now mainly plays modern PlayStation games on home console and portably, but occasionally returns to the old retro classics on the 3DO, PS1 and PS2 such as discovering Cool Spot Goes to Hollywood 20 years after its original release on PS1. Jason is happy to see gaming coming full circle with updates for retro classics such as Alien Breed, Superfrog and Crash Bandicoot.

So what do you think?

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