Milestone come back with not one, but two new racing titles. Today however, we’re here for MotoGP 17, a follow up to the MotoGP 16, which was oddly titled Valentino Rossi: The Game. Obviously this time around, Milestone have dropped the name of a single rider and have gone back to the focus of the sport. Yes, yes, that also means that the dirt bike aspects of the game have been stripped away too, but if you ask me, this is a justice for the series. I have no idea why they made MotoGP 16 the way that they did, or in effect why they’ve now jumped back to the core format, but it is what it is, and it’s all the better for it.
First and foremost, this game is chock-full of content. You’ll get to enjoy championships, online racing, exhibitions, riders and bikes that span across Moto 2, Moto 3, Red Bull Rookies, and MotoGP. Furthermore, there’s a total of 18 courses to enjoy, all of which are official representations of the much loved sport. To top it all off, you’ll also get to enjoy two career modes known as Managerial, and Rider. What’s the difference between these two career modes, you ask?
Managerial is the bulkier of the two, and allows you to create your own team, sign up new sponsors and riders, and keep on top of crafting new bikes as you climb from the Red Bull Rookies championship to the MotoGP. The twist however is that you can have different bikes racing in different classes, which throws in a management sort of functionality. It’s surprisingly well struck, and by that I mean you have to make careful decisions and respect the time-keeping of the mode. Example, you can spend money to work on certain parts of your bike, you’ll have to wait for the parts to arrive before you can apply them. Little touches like this make it feel more authentic, and it’s an excellent decision on the developers part to separate this from the Rider career. If you want that extra layer of realism, go Managerial, if you just want to enjoy the thrill of the race, start with Rider.
Rider is much more straight forward, and enables you to custom make your own rider from a selection of pre-set choices. Once you’ve got your male or female racer, you’ll be again working your way from the bottom championship, to the MotoGP. Really, I cannot stress how much content you’re getting in this entry to the series, it’s vast, and I mean that in every sense of the word.
None of this would mean sweet F.A. if the gameplay wasn’t on point. Let’s face it, Milestone are practically one of the few developers that give gamers motorbike racing titles, almost each and every year. RIDE was forgettable, and arguably one of their worst offerings to date. With that being said, Milestone seem focused on ensuring that they refine the experience with each and every release, and MotoGP 17 is undoubtedly the product of their best effort. Don’t get me wrong, MotoGP 17 isn’t a massive step from their usual formula, but it does feel more grounded, fluid, and responsive.
The game has clearly been made to cater for returning fans and newcomers alike. There’s heaps of assist settings and difficulty settings to help you find your comfort zone within, as you gradually test yourself and climb in both confidence and rank. You can select from standard, semi-pro, and pro handling modes, each of which feel totally different to take to, and vary greatly in difficulty. When you’ve picked your poison, you’ll be ready to take to the track, and it’s here where MotoGP 17 shines at its brightest.
The handling, the controls, the AI, the physics, and everything in between, is just bang on the mark. Every slight movement or corner judgement feels as though you have complete control, and it’s thoroughly immersive as a result. Much like the Forza series, if you have an accident or misjudge a corner, you can rely on a rewind function that allows you to turn back the clock for a few seconds so that you can resume your race and avoid whatever fate you previously fell victim to.
MotoGP 17 is hardly a perfect racer, but it goes without saying that it’s the best from Milestone, to date. The visuals wont do much to impress you, and in fact, they actually look pretty flat in places, but it’s the audio that picks up the slack on this front. Every single motor across every single class, sounds totally authentic and unique to each vehicle. I dare say that I compare the audio in MotoGP 17 to the likes of the aforementioned Forza series. It’s easily one of the highlights of the game, or at least it was for me.
Unfortunately, not everything is sunshine and rainbows for the experience at hand. There’s a small band of bugs present within, and whilst none of them tend to be game-breaking, they don’t half annoy the hell out you. Random black screens and the beginning of a race being the worst one, which forces you to mash the hell out of your buttons in a panic until the race commences. With that to the side, there’s very little that you can scoff at.
MotoGP 17 is one hell of a good game. If you can overlook some small issues, such as the pool of minor bugs and the below-par visuals, you’ve got heaps and heaps of content to look forward to. The racing is tense, accurate, and thoroughly energetic. The AI wont just test you, but they’ll push you to your limit with their unforgiving desire to win, so much so, you’ll feel like you’re beating real world players when you finally make it to the finish line in the higher divisions. Milestone have come a long way since RIDE, and it’s clear with this release that they intend to improve their formula with each and every experience they dish out. MotoGP 17 is by no means the best racer on Xbox One, but it’s certainly the best Milestone have created yet.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.