Review: Moto GP 22

MotoGP 22 is probably the most realistic MotoGP game that I’ve ever played, which is fantastic news for fans of the sport. However, it also means that it’s the hardest.

It took me a while of heading towards corners and flying right off, the brakes seemingly useless before I started to figure out what was going wrong. You absolutely, wholly cannot jump into MotoGP 22, stick the AI on easy and expect to wrap up victories for easy achievements and trophies. It’s not going to wash.

Despite being a full-fledged simulation, there are a number of assists to help you this year. My tip? Put everything on. The assists range from the obvious – auto brakes (you don’t want this), where you just steer, to assisted braking, input and roll modulation, brake input modulation, electronic is assistance and others. It’s still rock hard. Oddly, and annoyingly, there is no dual brake option, so you’re forced to use two different buttons for braking. You’re going to want analogue (trigger) brake and gas control, which leaves one requiring a button. Not a lot you can do here, but I found it too severe (though can be mastered with a lot of effort).

Thankfully, the effort is worth it. As once you get the hang of it, it’s a really quite fantastic replication of Moto GP racing. It’s exciting, requires skill and precision, and is rewarding – everything you could want from a racing game. Punishing too, although there is a rewind feature for when the mistakes come (and they will).

Career mode is the main attraction here, and it’s more filled out than in previous years. Much like the WRC games, the racing is only part of it. Hiring staff, making sure they get along, managing your contract status, signing to different teams and making/receiving offers – all of these things play a part. It’s overwhelming at first but reasonably simple after a while to get to grips with. 

There are a lot of tutorials and tips which pop up that walk you through the various options, such as managing sponsors (another subset of your career). Fortunately, there’s a detailed training mode which helps you understand and learn how to take lines around corners, braking, as well as more advanced techniques like managing the electrics (assuming you don’t leave the game to do that for you with the settings above). Regardless, it gives you an appreciation for the incredible depth that’s gone into the game, to recreate the most fully-featured Moto GP simulation there has been.

Like most sim-racing games these days, there’s a full livery editor for bike, gear and helmet, with the option to download from the internet (well, from other players’ uploads). Also taking cues from Gran Truism, there is the Academy – offering circuit experience challenges to ensure you master every track (of which there are all of the official tracks which you would expect). Matching the realism of the license, there’s some good commentary on the build-up to each race, and a full grid full of riders, staff and press buzzing around, which is a nice touch to hype up the start to each Grand Prix. Finally, you can deal with multiple weather conditions if you want to be really challenged.

Of course, multiplayer exists if you think you’ve mastered the AI, although at the moment it’s not too busy. One final option which I’ve not yet mentioned is that you can take part in the infamous (I’m told) 2009 season. With 9 selected races, the historic season is recreated so you can relive the drama. This is a cool touch and a nice into to one of the sport’s most memorable eras, particularly if you’re not too familiar – it gives you something to lean on if you ever brush shoulders with hardcore Moto GP fans.

There’s not really a lot here to complain about, aside from the difficulty. It lacks maybe a bit of the high-end polish which can be found in the top end car racing games, but it’s not detrimental. It’s a rewarding, and fun experience – and the definitive Moto GP title to date.

Reviewed on Xbox Series X

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