mo­togp 17

Be the boss on and off the track

XBox: The Official Magazine - - START - Justin Tow­ell

Right The de­tail on the riders is ab­so­lutely su­perb, and ev­ery­thing stands up to close scru­tiny. be­low Last race, last lap, last corner. It’s mo­ments like th­ese that sep­a­rate le­gends from also-rans. “While Mo­toGP 17 feels a lit­tle too ‘by num­bers’, it nails the ba­sics”

It’s the last race of the cham­pi­onship and you’re tail­ing your ri­val. You’re one point ahead in the ta­ble, but if it stays like this, your whole sea­son will have been in vain. All the pub­lic­ity events you at­tended, the fans you chose to meet to boost your rep rather than your bank ac­count… it’s all come down to this. You push a lit­tle harder into turns, reel­ing him in hand over fist, un­til you man­age to man­u­fac­ture a wider line into a sweep­ing left­hander, and hur­tle past around the out­side. The cham­pi­onship is yours for the tak­ing, and the next tier of rac­ing beck­ons. This is Mo­toGP 17, and its new man­age­ment ca­reer mode is ex­actly what the series needed.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to be the boss of any­thing. You can still have a ca­reer as a straight racer, if you pre­fer, in a sep­a­rate mode. But build­ing your own team and trans­form­ing it from a Moto3 also-ran to a univer­sal-en­tered su­perteam with six riders on its books and the very best bikes and spon­sors is as good as it gets in vir­tual bike sims. The of­fi­cial li­cense is used su­perbly, not only of­fer­ing all the cur­rent riders, tracks, teams, spon­sors and tiers of the Mo­toGP uni­verse in 2017, but set­ting you in­ci­den­tal chal­lenges to un­lock over 70 clas­sic riders too. Ev­ery­thing is just that lit­tle bit better than be­fore, from the presentation style to the qual­ity of the en­vi­ron­men­tal graph­ics, mak­ing this the clear choice for twowheeled sim rac­ing on Xbox.

How­ever, it’s not ex­actly swamped with di­rect com­pe­ti­tion, and sev­eral four-wheeled equiv­a­lents do things demon­stra­bly better. Graph­i­cally, while it’s less ster­ile than last year’s game thanks to im­proved shad­ows and more re­al­is­tic tex­tures, it still feels a lit­tle life­less at times. There are also some no­tice­able tech­ni­cal hic­cups, with frame rate stut­ters, screen tear­ing and shim­mer­ing on en­vi­ron­men­tal de­tails, mak­ing this look much less as­sured than its peers. And the lack of speak­ing in cutscenes makes for un­in­ten­tional hi­lar­ity: when­ever your rider walks into the garage, the ten­sion is pal­pa­ble.

Get­ting it right

So while Mo­toGP 17 feels un­der­stated, re­served and a lit­tle too ‘by num­bers’ com­pared to the very best rac­ers on the mar­ket, it nails the ba­sics. The han­dling is su­perla­tive, whether you’re us­ing new­bie-friendly as­sists or lit­er­ally throw­ing your weight around with the ad­vanced physics op­tions. It’s a touch an­noy­ing that the as­sist set­tings can’t be switched off in the pause menu, and that pref­er­ences are saved separately for each of the var­i­ous game types, mean­ing you’ll fre­quently find auto-brake and the dy­namic rac­ing line re-en­abled as you make your way around the modes.

The canny AI de­serves spe­cial men­tion, slip­stream­ing you down straights and adapt­ing or­gan­i­cally to un­usual track po­si­tion­ing. For some rea­son, it is eas­ier to out­qual­ify op­po­nents than reel them in on race day, but the cut and thrust of nor­mal rac­ing is so en­joy­able, you won’t mind a hard-fought bat­tle for the lead.

And that’s where this racer wins hard­est. It’s a rac­ing game with ac­tual rac­ing in it. Ap­ply your­self with dis­ci­pline, and you’ll be re­warded with vic­to­ries that re­ally mean some­thing… even if your team does com­mu­ni­cate its con­grat­u­la­tions via the medium of mime. Funny lot.

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