Game Info:

MotoGP 19
Developed By: Milestone S.r.l
Published By: Milestone S.r.l
Released: June 6, 2019
Available On: PlayStation 4, Switch, Windows, Xbox One
Genre: Racing, Sports
ESRB Rating: E for Everyone
Number of Players: 1 player offline; up to 12 online
Price: $49.99
(Humble Store Link)

Thank you Milestone S.r.l for sending us a review code!

Grand Prix motorcycle racing isn’t exactly a household name, especially here in the Americas. Like fútbol/soccer, the sport receives most of its fame in Europe, although it is practiced all over the world. MotoGP 19 is yet another entry in the MotoGP series, which Milestone obtained the license starting in 2008. It also seems like they’re the only company creating these kinds of games, making each strength and flaw stand out more than usual.

Although MotoGP 19 is a motorcycle racing game like Milestone’s Monster Energy Supercross 2 (released earlier this year), the two games couldn’t feel any more different. While MES 2 has much more of an arcade-like feel, with lightweight vehicles that can soar through the air, MotoGP is almost the complete opposite. The purpose-built motorcycles are much heavier than their off-road counterparts, giving a sense of weight and gravity. If one wants to successfully turn, you’ll have to start leaning into the curve way before even making the turn as the vehicles take a second or two before they start moving. Not that I’ve ever ridden these kinds of motorcycles before but when comparing to the live-action footage of these events, I’m sure it’s as realistic as this type of game can get. For those who don’t want to “micromanage” all of the actions required for efficient racing, there are a lot of toggleable options that show off the best trajectory to start turning, turn assist when cutting corners, the option to ignore tire wear, and many more features.

Numerous options can help out newcomers and casual players alike, although, from my experience, the game feels rather unforgiving even on the easiest difficulty. I’ll go along with the fact that I suck at this game as even with a few dozen hours of playtime from me, I still couldn’t manage to get first place in any of the races. It’s possible that this could be attested to the new Neutral A.I. system Milestone has implemented in this entry, dubbed A.N.N.A. (stands for Artificial Neural Network Agent). This A.I. was created by Orobix, who specializes in this kind of work. It makes the A.I. act more “human” as they’ll learn from your actions and mistakes, while also taking more risks that may end up in failure. I don’t know whether I’m extremely unlucky or the A.I. wasn’t working as intended—they were kicking my butt from the get-go. Even making one mistake from my end sent me plummeting into last place for the majority of my races. The A.I. also seems to act more like a hivemind from my experience, making flawless turns around every corner while keeping in sync. I guess the best word for the A.I. would be inconsistent? Oh well, I much prefer this system than the rubber band A.I many other racers resort to.

MotoGP 19

Strong Points: Solid physics; online multiplayer is well-constructed; lots of content for people who enjoy these kinds of games
Weak Points: Pretty unforgiving for newcomers, even with its many accommodations
Moral Warnings: Some of the custom numbers, logos, and stickers that you’ll come across in the shared content section aren’t the most appropriate to share

The graphics are very colorful. They’re not what I would call realistic, and the graphical fidelity has been done better in similar games, but it still looks nice especially at night time. For me, the pitch-black darkness of the night sky complements the design when the lights shine on the race track. A recommendation on my part, but out of the five different views when racing, I recommend the helmet view. It looks the most genuine of all the options and even the sound effects sound a bit muffled like you’re wearing a helmet. There isn’t much in terms of music outside of the main menu, which I think is techno. The motorcycles do sound authentic, although the repetitive dialogue from the announcer pre and post-race and no commentary at all during races do sorta kill the immersion.

MotoGP contains a lot of content, which I’m sure excites all of the fans of the previous entries. Career mode is your main mode with two options: Standard Career, which is the experience that will let you retry races that you are unsatisfied with, and have driving aids active. Pro Career scraps all of those options, offering a challenge that the more experienced and hardcore players seek. Before each race is the option for test runs on the track to familiarize yourself with the terrain, qualifying races which will net a better starting position, and special objectives that net you performance points to upgrade your ride. Considering that almost all of these optional choices take place on the very track that you will race in, it can feel a bit repetitive. The choice, however, is yours to make giving you a lot of freedom at your disposal. If you simply want to strictly do races, no one will stop you. If you don’t need to get familiar with the track, you don’t need to.

The other major mode is Quick Mode that contains Grand Prix. It’s just pure racing on any track of your choosing and you can make it as short or long of an experience as you like—whether that is three laps or twenty-eight. Championship is like Grand Prix, but with consecutive tracks, ranging from as low as three or as many as twenty. Time Trial is a time trial. Very self-explanatory. You can compete for the best time against yourself or with the leaderboards.

One of the more interesting modes is Historical Challenge. It’s a legacy mode, but for motorcycle racing. It goes through history, replicating famous moments of the sport. It’s one of the more unique game modes featured and how you go about unlocking new riders and motorcycles. Each challenge has preset rules and objectives that go as far back as 1993 with at least sixty challenges to partake in. Combined with the previously mentioned game modes, you could get dozens of hours from the single-player alone.

MotoGP 19
Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 76%
Gameplay - 16/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls - 4/5

Morality Score - 100%
Violence - 10/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 10/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

If you get tired of the single-player experience, you can always test your skills in the multiplayer. With dedicated servers and both private and public lobbies, Milestone made sure that this experience is done well. The PC version from what I see isn’t too populated but there are typically enough lobbies around that you’ll get in a race with a decent amount of people during most timezones. (I would recommend playing during primetime European hours.) The twelve-player online matches are only about half of what single player can get up to, but it’s still a good amount, even if you may not experience a full lobby. My experience in online races went as well as you’d expect—if I was having trouble with the easy level A.I., there was no chance I could even compete with the people on the internet.

Player customization only consists of a few predetermined models, helmets, gloves, and boots. Where the craziness of the customization comes from is the sheer amount of options one can put on their helmets, numbers, and rider stickers. With hundreds of different options and the ability to place up to one-thousand layers, the things that people create are truly a spectacle. To see someone recreate the sprite of Zero from the Mega Man X series into this game to use as a logo takes some extreme dedication. With the freedom of creation being a positive effect of interaction, that also does come with the unintended negative side effects. If people have the option to create, they will use that freedom to create something inappropriate. Milestone discourages this behavior, with a disclaimer at the beginning and a report feature for flagging inappropriate behavior. A few do slip through the cracks every once in a while.

The online interactions of the player base don’t have anything to do with the actions of the developers, or every game with online features would be morally unjust. From Milestone’s side, as it is a game based on a real-life non-combative sport meant to be spectated by people of all ages with sponsorship out of the wazoo, there is no violence, language, sexual content, or unethical decisions to speak of. As expected of a spectator sport, it’s unsoiled.

Sports fans have very limited options if they want to play video games in the genre. The realistic-like simulator sports games are typically dominated by one developer or publisher due to license rights, and the more wacky fantasy sports games only come out every once in a while. For fans of Grand Prix motorcycle racing, MotoGP is all they have. Luckily, MotoGP 19 will satisfy fans of the genre due to the wealth of content, solid physics, and the number of options to make it as easy or as hard as you want. (It also comes with a sweet photo mode which let me take the picture above.) As for me, I think I’ll stick to Supercross when it comes to Milestone. This game smoked me to the point where I’m willing to admit defeat, and that I’m bad, but I'll give it to them that I enjoyed most of the game even if I spent the majority of it losing hard. If you have an interest in motorcycle racing or follow it extensively, I can’t see why one wouldn’t like it.