MotoGP fans rejoice! The official game of the 2020 season, MotoGP 20, has been released today!
Due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the start of the MotoGP season has been delayed. The cancellation of the Qatar GP has meant that this game has been released before the riders have even turned a wheel in anger.
This means that Milestone have a huge opportunity to up their sales, as this is the only source for motorcycle racing fans to get their fix.
Does this game deliver? Keep reading to find out!
MORE THAN JUST RACING: Off-track interactions are as important as those on it
You can choose to start your motorcycle career in either MotoGP, Moto2 or Moto3. This will allow those already familiar with the game to jump in at the top level and less experienced players to begin at a lower level.
Customisation options for your rider are basic but good enough. Choosing which riding style you wish to use is a welcome feature though.
After creating your avatar, you choose your agent, something's that critical for the management of your team. Team Management is one of the biggest new inclusions for this year's game and even at Moto3 level, is crucial for how your team progresses.
As team manager, you get to dictate which direction the team heads in terms of research and development. Your agent will also recommend new staff as you progress through the career mode.
Like a manager, you need to balance the quality that's at your disposal with the cost of having better staff on the payroll. This adds another layer to what is becoming one of the best career modes on the racing market.
As always in the official MotoGP game, the full calendar and testing are included in Career Mode, despite the interruptions to the actual sport.
The main issue I find is that the game feels somewhat soulless. MotoGP 20 suffers from the same problem as the F1 game used to, it's as if you're an AI you control rather than an actual motorcycle rider.
Overall, though, Career Mode is improved over last year and makes the investment in the new game worthwhile.
ACTION-PACKED RACING: MotoGP 20's AI make for very challenging competition
Neural AI was a big improvement for MotoGP 19 and 2.0 has been introduced for this year's game.
As it's a learning AI, it's difficult to tell if there's a marked improvement over last year's version with limited gameplay. One thing's for sure though, it's not easy to fight the computer, even on lower difficulty.
Extreme realism has been implemented too, with more accurate depictions of tyres and fuel. You can now see the specific wear for both shoulders and the tread, as well as their temperatures.
Setups are always difficult to get right when starting a new game but thankfully, your race engineer is on-hand to guide you through them.
When in the garage during a race weekend, you can tell your engineer what your issue is in terms of performance and he'll adjust the setup accordingly. That's something that isn't present in many other racing titles.
On the graphics front, the bikes look, sound and feel as good as ever. The menus are easy on the eye and readily navigable. However, the colour pallet used when racing is quite dull. Even in the blazing sunshine of the Qatari desert, it feels overcast.
CLASSIC RACES: MotoGP 20 comes packed with historical content from the off
This mode has huge potential, as MotoGP fans will be looking to re-live their favourite moments from the series' history.
There's plenty of scenarios to have a go at and racing them is genuinely fun, just like career mode races are.
You get a description of the background for the race but it's very bare bones. No archive footage, no cutscenes with the drivers, it feels exactly like a career mode race but with old bikes.
Historical content does affect other areas of the game, though. With each completed challenge, you gain points which can be spent purchasing old riders, teams and bikes to be used in time trial and quick races. The harder the difficulty you opt for, the more you can attain.
More scenarios will need to be added in the coming months for this game to have re-playability though.
MotoGP fans will be very happy with the improvements over 2019's title. There's a lot on offer that makes MotoGP 20 a worthwhile purchase and marked step up from last year's game.
Milestone have maintained the core virtues of the MotoGP game but still have some way to go if they're to challenge the big boys of the racing genre. Some of the classic issues that smaller games face still afflict MotoGP 20. With a new generation of gaming consoles on the horizon though, 2021 could be a huge year for the Italian developer.
MotoGP 20 is still the best motorbike racing game out there and a must-buy for fans of the sport.
RealSport Rating: 4 stars (out of 5)