Cold, rain and a few handkerchiefs consumed too much, because of an allergy still clinging to the last breaths of a spring that, in reality, never arrived. Spending time in these unfriendly conditions in front of the TV, pad in hand, is almost mandatory and what better way to “warm up” body and mind between drift and another riding a robotic KTM Rookies Cup format? Nothing, we would say, even if it would be a matter of anticipating by a few days what your feelings will be once you get your copy of MotoGP 19. The new course dedicated to the most beloved centaurs in the world by Milestone is now in the home straight, with a quantity of important news that promise many hours of quality play.
Engine rush, traffic lights go out… Go!
Many pretenders to the final success
The first thing that catches your eye, once the game has started, is the disarming amount of activity that can be undertaken. One of the strengths of this new MotoGP 19 is certainly to be found under the heading Modes of play: many, different and, above all, fun and rewarding. Milestone has decided to enormously inflate the content of the title and in addition to the classic fast competitions such as the single Grand Prix and the Time Challenges, the Championship already becomes an important agglomeration of quality and quantity. It is possible, in fact, to start a single season, being able to choose between many different categories (not only MotoGP, therefore), for an exciting variety of games. This, of course, also extends to the key mode of production, that is, the career. The latter, once selected a type between the Classic and the Pro (the one, to be clear, that puts the brakes on any kind of help) allows once again to start from the slums, even from the MotoGP Rookies Cup, thus trying to a long climb to the queen class, clearing opponents after opponents, progressively more and more difficult.
An exciting career, therefore, not only for the desire to improve on the track, but also off. Thanks to the development points, in fact, it will be possible to invest in one’s own bike, thus considerably increasing – over time and with victories – the overall quality of the bike. Here, however, comes into play also the exaggerated goodness from the point of view of official licenses present in the game. Choosing with which team and in which category to start your career is certainly made even more magical by the possibility of choosing from virtually all the cars in circulation, with lots of official drivers attached. An incredible care, from this point of view, that contributes strongly to make even more exciting every single Grand Prix of every single year, with the final goal of the climb to MotoGP.
Clearly, the surprises don’t end there: the arrival of the Challenges, so many and all well-designed, will further sweeten the pill and allow us to relive the (so many) most exciting moments in history. You will happen to impersonate Stoner against Rossi, Rossi against Stoner, to travel along the avenue of bitter memories in the company of the late Simoncelli and Hayden and so on, in a cocktail of fun and longevity truly commendable. To complete the park, and it could not be otherwise, is the excellent multiplayer section of the title: no split-screen local, okay, but the arrival of dedicated servers (offered by Amazon, ed) and the now official entry into the world of eSports should abundantly compensate for this lack, making the game of the boys of Milestone one of the most important from the point of view of competition.
Fun with style
Milestone, by now we know, is synonymous with quality on the gameplay side, but has always shown the side to some too many variants, capable of affecting sometimes even heavily the overall quality of their work. Fortunately, this time, the work done by the Milanese team seems to be more refined and cared for than usual, bringing as a dowry a driving system clean, fun enough, rewarding and, above all, scalable. Thanks to the convenient menus, the player can easily select different settings to best set up their gaming experience, thus directly influencing the offer of play in general. For example, it is possible to set the level of difficulty of the opponents, the index of realism in the collisions and their consequences? As well as on the actual performance on the track, on factors such as the presence or absence of penalties by the jury. The good new ones, however, do not stop there: Milestone has done a commendable job as far as artificial intelligence is concerned, and this seemed to us to be very evident from the very first jokes. The opposing drivers, even at the most modest levels of difficulty, are very smart, clever and above all aggressive.
This contributes heavily to making it all more exciting and exciting, thanks to the good introduction of the A.N.N.A. experiment, a kind of evolution of the concept of Drivatar. Thanks to this technology on the track you never feel, for example, the annoying elastic effect typical of most driving games. Every race has its own story, every clash has its own protagonists, for a convincing and satisfying play experience. To crown it all, there is the splendid differentiation of the various motorcycles available. Whether it’s a MotoGP, a Moto 3 or one of the “historic” bikes, those that can be used during the various challenges, the feeling returned pad to the hand will always be different. Get used to having to adapt to the various changes from one category to another. We’ve found that out for ourselves. We have often flown away on a Moto 3 after the Rookies Cup, because of the different performance of two-wheeled racing cars. A great result, from this point of view, a clear sign of the excellent work of Milestone in this respect. Clearly the game is not free of defects on the side gameplay: setting the difficulties you risk seeing a scissor of difficulty sometimes excessive, on both sides. Changing the AI of the opponents, you can reveal a level of challenge too low or too high, so in the second case, a slight error can frustrate (a bit ‘like in reality) an entire weekend. Honour to realism, of course, but not to everyone this thing will please.
Visual spectacle, but with some flaws
Graphically speaking, MotoGP 19 does not differ much from its predecessor, but still manages to convince from a visual point of view without too much effort. The models of the bikes, the animations, their effect on the track and everything related to the graphics, in general, is a really good level, even on a modest PlayStation 4 Slim, version used by us in the review. From a graphics point of view, in fact, the overall experience offers impressive insights from the technical side, bringing on screen an overall graphics rendering almost photorealistic if you analyze elements such as motorcycle, track and riders. Once again, however, Milestone ends up getting lost on the usual mistakes of the past: if you exclude the rendering, precisely splendid, of riders, motorcycles and elements closer to the screen and the track, all the contour appears to be of much lower workmanship, thus revealing a certain listlessness in going to touch up a defect that has become historic not only for the series in question, but a bit ‘for all racing games in general. The real big gap, however, is represented, once again, by the absence of 60 fps, which for a racing game is a rather important limit. We hope to make progress from this point of view, perhaps already in the near future.
Splendid, however, is the sound sector: the engines of the bikes, very well built and differentiated according to a category, offer an exciting experience and all to live, almost as if we were really in front of a race on television. This is also helped by the complete presence of all the official licenses of MotoGP and the good Guido Meda in the commentary. It’s a shame, however, that this can only be heard in the sequences of Intermezzo and never on the track. Highlights, to conclude the speech on the audiovisual aspect of the title, the ability to customize several aesthetic factors of the pilot. You can, in fact, create your own custom helmet or stickers to be attached to the suit and even the style of the number to wear. All this, then, can be uploaded (and downloaded) online, completely shared with users from all over the world.
Online Sector: eSports and… Competition Judge!
For this edition, Milestone has decided to do things really big, as far as the online multiplayer sector of this MotoGP 19 is concerned. First of all, there are the new dedicated servers, “offered” by Amazon, able to create online gaming sessions of great level, for stability and number of players connected. Before taking part in any session, you can manually set up a lot of preferences, and even take part in the sessions impersonating the Race Judge. This feature is clearly one of the most interesting and allows you, among other things, to judge even the work of your virtual colleagues who are busy speeding on the tracks. In MotoGP 19 there are also Private Races. Clearly, you can choose to join a session already available, selecting the type of rules, the preferred track and all other settings. The pulsating vein of the multiplayer sector, however, is certainly that linked to the eSports factor, on which Milestone is focusing heavily for its MotoGP. Thanks to the excellent changes made to the gameplay and especially to the new servers (whose stability, we repeat, we have not yet had the opportunity to try), the title is called to take the decisive step to production and we are convinced that the goal has already been achieved, at least in part.
MotoGP 19 shows solid, fun and rewarding in virtually every respect, also strong graphics increasingly refined, an impressive amount of motorcycles and riders under official license and many game modes. If you add a renewed artificial intelligence – the so-called A.N.N.A. – that makes every rider capable of unpredictable and realistic actions, well, you’re done. You have to consider, however, in the long run how much this mechanics can actually safeguard the title at the level of variety in gameplay. What hasn’t convinced us so much, however, is the overall challenge rate. Although settable, as well as the driving model, the overall level of challenge has proved on some occasions or too bland or too high, something potentially frustrating and that could lead to moving away from production, at least according to the game in single. We didn’t even like to notice once again the absence of the local split screen, but by now we’re slowly getting used to this (sad) gameplay solution and not even the usual absence of 60 fps, but you can’t have everything from life.
Our overall assessment of this MotoGP 19 is still more than positive. If you are a fan of engines or driving games in general, you have no excuse: the work of Milestone is praiseworthy and, therefore, run – in every sense – to buy your copy!