Content Type: Gaming Reviews
Date: September 5, 2019
MotoGP 19 is a motorbike simulation racing game available from retail stores and for download from PlayStation Store for PS4. MotoGP is the pinnacle of motorbike racing with the first-ever MotoGP season taking place across six races for the 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, sidecar 600cc and constructors’ 500cc world championship in 1949. The first-ever MotoGP race rather unbelievably took place on June 17th 1949 at the Isle of Man TT within the 250cc, 350cc and 500cc categories with Manliff Barrington, Freddie Frith and Harold Daniell winning their respective 250cc, 350cc and 500cc race, while the Isle of Man also hosted the longest ever MotoGP race in 1957 with eight laps totalling to 301.84 miles which was won by Bob McIntyre. Nello Pagani, Bruno Ruffo, Freddie Frith, Leslie Graham, Eric Oliver/Denis Jenkinson and AJS went onto win their respective 125cc, 250cc, 350cc, 500cc, sidecar 600cc and constructors’ 500cc world championship category titles to etch their names in history during MotoGP’s debut season in 1949.
MotoGP 19 is the official game based upon the 71st season of MotoGP, although there have been other MotoGP games licensed to a specific season such as Namco’s MotoGP games released within the PS2 generation, THQ’s MotoGP games released within the original Xbox generation and Capcom’s MotoGP games during the earlier years of the PS3 generation. Milestone got their first taste of MotoGP when developing MotoGP 07 and MotoGP 08 for Capcom before purchasing the rights to develop and publish their own MotoGP games starting with MotoGP 13. Milestone has a great pedigree of not only developing great racing games, but priding themselves on the authenticity of the racing experience which is what has forged their history of exceptional sports racing games as the Italian passion of motorsports radiates from their games in the home of Ferrari and Ducati. Milestone has been especially prolific with multiple iterations throughout various forms of motorbike racing including SBK, Motocross and MotoGP. Can Milestone Italy not only improve, but also reinvent MotoGP gaming in MotoGP 19 and how will it compare to previous efforts from Namco, THQ, Capcom and Milestone Italy within the MotoGP series?
MotoGP 19 features all of the official licenses for the 2019 season that comprises of 19 tracks situated in various locations around the world including: Losail, Qatar; Termas de Rio Hondo, Argentina; Austin, USA; Jerez, Spain; Le Mans, France; Mugello, Italy; Catalunya, Spain; Assen, Holland; Sachsenring, Germany; Brno, Czech Republic; Spielberg, Austria; Silverstone, Great Britain; Misano, San Marino; Aragón, Spain; Buriram, Thailand; Motegi, Japan; Phillip Island, Australia; Sepang, Malaysia; and Valencia, Spain. Elsewhere, historical tracks are introduced including Donington Park, Great Britain, Laguna Seca, USA and the previous track layout of Catalunya, Spain from previous seasons that make their debut rendering in Milestone Italy’s optimised Unreal Engine 4.
There are 22 MotoGP riders, 32 Moto2 riders, 29 Moto3 riders, 25 Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup riders and 18 MotoE riders that totals to 126 riders from the 2019 season. Every rider from MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 is complimented with their official imagery, rider number, age, race experience and nationality, while riders from Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup and MotoE categories do not have official imagery included. Every bike and team is also officially licensed such as Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, Kalex Engineering, KTM, Speed Up, Suzuki, Tech3 E-Racing, Yamaha and many more besides, alongside the quality of their respective team performance in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.
However, the most interesting official MotoGP licenses of all is the inclusion of the all-new MotoE category in the inaugural season of MotoGP embracing electric bikes in a similar fashion to Formula E. Meanwhile, there is a re-introduction of historical riders within two separate categories including 38 historical MotoGP 4-stroke riders and 12 historical MotoGP 500cc 2-stroke riders that totals to 50 historical riders and 176 riders amongst every category combined. Every historical rider has beautifully drawn artwork that accurately depicts their official likenesses, alongside their bike livery from that particular season and their race experience up to that season. Only 3 historical riders are immediately available with the other 47 riders being unlockable via earning medals in relevant events within Historical Challenges mode such as achieving a bronze medal in the first event of The Dawn of the MotoGP titled Max Biaggi vs the Rookie of the Year in order to unlock Max Biaggi riding for the Yamaha team during the 2002 season on a MotoGP 4-stroke era bike.
Some of the highlights from the historic categories includes the late great Nicky Hayden from his 2006 MotoGP championship winning season in the Repsol Honda team and the late great Marco Simoncelli riding the San Carlo Honda Gresini from the 2011 season, while Casey Stoner aged 21 from his 2007 MotoGP championship winning season in the Ducati team and riding a Repsol Honda at the age of 26 when he retired from racing in MotoGP at the end of the 2012 season. Max Biaggi aged 29 riding for the Yamaha team in the 2001 500cc 2-stroke season in which he finished second after winning three races and making it to the podium on nine occasions and the 2002 MotoGP 4-stroke season and aged 32 from the 2004 MotoGP season in which he finished third after one win and nine podium finishes riding for the Camel Honda team. Loris Capirossi riding the 2003, 2004 and 2006 Ducati models that seen three wins and eight podium finishes riding for the Ducati team in the 2006 season.
Valentino Rossi features heavily starting at the age of 21 when he debuted in the 500cc category for the Honda team in the 2000 season, while Valentino Rossi aged 22 kept up his record of winning a category in the second season of participation as he won the 500cc category for the Honda team in the 2001 season. Valentino Rossi won the MotoGP category championship in consecutive seasons from 2002 to 2005 with the 2002 and 2003 Repsol Honda and 2004 Yamaha available to ride when Valentino was aged 23 and 25 respectively, while the 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 Yamaha bikes are also available, alongside the 2012 season when riding a Ducati and the 2013 season upon returning to Yamaha. Further riders that feature significantly include Andrea Doviziosi, Dani Pedrosa and Jorge Lorenzo.
Further historical riders include Kevin Schwantz riding the Suzuki in the 1993 season; Wayne Rainey riding the Team Roberts Yamaha in the 1993 season; Mick Doohan riding the Repsol Honda in 1995 and 1999; Alex Criville riding the Repsol Honda in 1995 and 1999; Kenny Roberts Jr. riding the Suzuki in the 2000 and 2004 seasons; Garry McCoy riding the Yamaha in the 2000 season; Jeremy McWilliams riding for Aprilia in 2000; Sete Gibernau riding the Honda in the 2003 season; Shane Byrne riding for Aprilia in the 2004 season; Troy Bayliss riding the Ducati in the 2006 season; Chris Vermeulen riding the Suzuki during the 2007 season; and more besides. A particular suggestion for an expanded version of the historic categories would be the legendary British motorbike rider Barry Sheene who won Formula 750 in 1973 before winning the 500cc MotoGP championship in 1976 and successfully defending the title in 1977.
Prior to beginning gameplay; players can customise their rider’s licence from your rider’s facial portrait from a choice of 12 pre-set faces including 10 male faces and 2 female faces, first name, surname, abbreviation, age and nationality. Further rider customisation from the rider customisation menu includes 36 crash helmet designs, 15 racing numbers, 10 rider stickers, 7 glove designs and 3 boot designs with 200 shades of colour respectively and 2 racing suit designs, while players can utilise the graphics editor to create their own unique crash helmet design, rider number and rider sticker. The largest area of the rider customisation feature has to be choosing your riding style that consists of half a dozen available pre-sets including balanced, centred, elbows to the ground, shoulders out, body out and old school with a choice of positioning the braking leg, feet during the race start and quantity of braking fingers. Riding style is a great feature that even educates the player on the difference of rider positioning for each riding style resulting in players being able to ride their motorbike in the style of their favourite MotoGP rider.
Career mode features two entirely separate experiences with the introduction of pro career mode that does not allow the player to adjust riding aids or race options to their preferences, while the majority of riding aids and race options are set to the most realistic setting possible, alongside the player also not being allowed to restart any session of the race weekend; therefore the far more customisable experience of standard career mode should be where all but the most confident of MotoGP gaming veterans should begin their rider’s journey through their career.
Whereas previous MotoGP games from Milestone Italy insisted upon the player starting career mode from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup or Moto3 category; MotoGP 19 provides more freedom as the player can start career mode in Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, Moto3, Moto2 or even MotoGP. However, there is a rather appropriate balance in each category as Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP would task the player to begin at a slower paced team nearer the back of the grid before earning their way to a factory team towards the front of the grid with points scoring finishing positions; resulting in a progressive nature to the career mode regardless of what category you choose to begin career mode within.
The best career mode experience is to begin from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup that made the transition from downloadable content in previous MotoGP games to being immediately available from MotoGP 17 onwards and is retained in MotoGP 19. Teams from MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 categories have always scouted the best up and coming talents from the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup since it was introduced in 2007, especially given how the category challenges young riders to perform to the best of their ability on the best tracks situated throughout Europe on a KTM RC 250 R bike that is modelled closely to the Moto3 bike specifications in a category of MotoGP that is all about the skill and raw pace of the rider. Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup commences from the very first race of the season in Jerez, Spain; winning or performing to a high standard in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup will earn you the chance of a promotion to race in the Moto3 category.
Upon completing your rider’s debut season in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup category; the player will be asked to choose their favourite MotoGP category team to be integrated into a future element of their career as the factory team that you aspire to ride for. Winning the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup earns 4 offers from teams in the Moto3 category including two teams that are not expecting immediate victories, but want a rider to assist in developing the bike in the direction of being capable of achieving better finishing positions, albeit with the rather low expectations of completing the Moto3 season in 25th position or higher. Meanwhile, the further two teams providing contract offers require consistent points scoring and expectations of finishing the Moto3 season in 15th position or higher.
Every contract offer has multiple factors to consider including an initial trust of how close the rider is to dismissal if their performance is significantly below that of the team’s expectations. However, the flipside of that is if the rider’s performance exceeds the expectations of the team; your rider will become the team’s first rider as each team has varying expectations in accordance with each team’s performance. Your chosen team also has a range of race weekend objectives including qualifying position, race position and finishing ahead of your teammates; achieving your team’s race weekend objectives gradually progresses the player towards being the team’s first rider, while earning career reputation points for not only achieving each objective, but also bonus career reputation points for exceeding the team’s expectations. Whereas the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup is a 7 race season; Moto3 is a massive step-up to a 19 race season in parallel to the tracks contained within the MotoGP season calendar as you continue your venture towards not only ascending into the MotoGP category, but also attempting to win the ultimate prize in all of competitive motorbike racing by becoming MotoGP champion.
Practice session programmes remain as an integral method to progressively improve the specifications of your bike over the course of the season in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP categories throughout career mode; therefore providing more of a purpose to practice sessions instead of learning the track within a few laps and skipping the rest of the practice sessions. However, there is some strategy involved as the practice session programmes yield a limited budget for bike upgrades including 4 engine upgrades and 4 frame upgrades that individually cost varying quantities of development points. However, practice programmes have had a further overhaul as MotoGP 19 involves development tests for distance analysis were the player is tasked to complete 2 laps within a certain lap time per lap with 5 development points earned for low track affinity and another 5 development points for high track affinity; race simulation challenges the player to completing 3 laps within a specific lap time per lap to earn 5 development points or a total of 10 development points for completing 5 laps within the lap time per lap; and quick lap simulation that tasks the player to complete a single lap within the provided lap time for 5 development points, although if the player improves on the lap time, then that would equate to an immediate 10 development points.
Fan-favourite feature Real Events mode from MotoGP 15 makes a comeback in the form of the incredibly expanded Historical Challenges mode. Whereas MotoGP 15’s Real Events mode focuses on the 2014 season and the 2-stroke era; Historical Challenges mode spans multiple eras from the perspective of specific riders in certain scenarios. There are four separate categories including 10 events in 500cc Heroes, 16 events in the Dawn of MotoGP, 16 events in Great Rivalries and 18 events in the Modern Era totalling to 60 events with video footage showing what happened during the qualifying session or race for every event. However, Historical Challenges mode provides particular stipulations such as a race length of 2 to 4 laps at the end of a race, mostly medium A.I. difficulty, tyre wear, tolerant penalties and no rewinds. Each of the 4 Historical Challenge categories have time trial and race events; for instance the 500cc Heroes category tasks the player to complete a lap as Kenny Roberts Jr. on the Suzuki during the 2000 season in Sepang, Malaysia in qualifying with a time of 2:11.500 for a bronze medal, 2:09.300 for a silver medal or 2:08.100 to earn a gold medal. Meanwhile, the Great Rivalries category includes a battle between Valentino Rossi and Max Biaggi at Donington Park, Great Britain that sees the player needing to pass Max Biaggi and win the race for a bronze medal, winning the race with more than 8.6 seconds advantage for a silver medal and winning the race with more than 12.5 seconds advantage to earn a gold medal.
Grand Prix mode provides the opportunity of racing on a single track with the ability to have a full race weekend, any combination of individual practice, qualifying and warm up sessions in the build-up to the race or only a race competing against 21 MotoGP opponents or as many as 31 opponents in Moto2. When selecting Grand Prix mode; you can choose any of the official riders, bikes and teams or alternatively select your custom rider from the MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, MotoE, MotoGP 4-stroke or 500cc 2-stroke categories, alongside any of the 19 tracks from the 2019 season and the 3 historical tracks, while retaining the freedom to adjust the race length between 3 laps, 25%, 35%, 50%, 75% or a full length race distance for each circuit, A.I. difficulty and full customisation of riding aids to your ideal preferences. There are also various areas of customisation to complement everything else such as variable weather conditions; tyre wear; manual start management; tolerant or strict penalties; and more besides.
Championship mode allows you to create your own championship season comprising of races against 21 MotoGP opponents or as many as 31 opponents in Moto2 that is customisable to your preferences as the championship will be the official 19 race calendar of the MotoGP season by default, although you can customise the race calendar to a minimum of 3 races and a maximum of 20 races including the ability to repeat your favourite tracks anywhere amongst the calendar or even choose from the 3 historical tracks as many times as you prefer within a championship season, alongside the same riders, bikes, teams, race options and riding aids as Grand Prix mode.
Time Attack mode provides players with the opportunity to set the best lap time around any of the 19 tracks from the 2019 season or the 3 historical tracks in an attempt to climb the online leaderboards representing the fastest lap times as you compete against players from across the world to see who performs the best lap time in a one lap scenario, although you can complete as many consecutive laps as you prefer with a full selection of riders, bikes and teams from all 7 classes or your custom rider, while you can also customise weather conditions to make them as unpredictable as you prefer and full customisation of riding aids to your ideal preferences.
Weather conditions include clear blue skies with no risk of rain; cloudy with a possibility of rain; torrential rain throughout the duration of the race; a wet track; and even random weather conditions that are capable of presenting any form of weather in the build-up to and during the race. Unreal Engine 4’s graphical improvements are especially apparent during wet weather conditions. For instance, during a direct comparison between MotoGP 19 and MotoGP 17 in full wet track conditions on Silverstone when raining it becomes clear that while MotoGP 17 has droplets of rain on the camera, water splashing up off the track surface as bikes ride through it and reflections of the trackside buildings within the wet track surface; MotoGP 19 enhances the detail of everything that could be reflected on the wet track surface and has a better density of water puddles instead of being one continuous wet track surface. All weather conditions are modelled more accurately than ever due to Unreal Engine 4, while continuing to present a unique challenge as each type of weather will make your bike behave differently; particularly in relation to how difficult your bike handles during high speed acceleration and upon the entrance and exit of corners during braking zones. One of the most challenging weather conditions has to be the wet track creating a scenario in which the sun has came out but not for long enough to entirely dry the track providing its own complexities as riders will need to start on wet tyres yet the normal racing line will gradually become dry as the water is dispersed from the bikes riding through it, therefore riders will have to adjust their racing lines to follow where the wet patches are situated within each straight and corner in order for the wet tyres to be kept within their optimum performance.
Bike setup can be changed in the pits which can potentially provide a significant performance advantage if you experiment enough in an attempt to absolutely perfect your bike setup for each track. Bike setup is spread across half a dozen categories including tyre compound, suspension, steering adjustment, gear ratio, brake system and ECU with each category having various settings such as the ability to choose a soft, medium or hard front and rear tyre compound that can also be alternated such as a hard front and a medium rear tyre compound; changing the suspension by adjusting the front and rear preload, rebound and compression fork and single shock absorber and front and rear damping of springs; changing the steering adjustment by adjusting steering head inclination and trail; changing the gear ratio by selecting a maximum speed for all six gears and the final gear ratio from a set of 10 point sliders; changing the brake system by selecting a smaller or larger front and rear brake disc; and choosing the strength of the traction control system (TCS), engine brake and anti wheelie from 4 point sliders. However, there is also the ability to communicate with your race engineer in order to discuss what feels wrong on the bike and to fix it accordingly such as mentioning that the steering responsiveness of the bike is generally too slow or fast results in a suggestion of raising the bike’s centre of gravity by adjusting the suspension or alternatively changing the settings to the total opposite if the steering responsiveness is too fast will be offered by the race engineer which you can decide to accept or ignore. Realistic communication between the rider and race engineer certainly produces an appropriate level of realism that provides a real element of strategy to gameplay in almost every mode and increases competitiveness even further. There are options to save, load or delete your preferred bike setups and to return your bike setup to its former default setup.
There are five excellently positioned camera angles including a camera angle positioned directly behind the rider, while the second camera angle is positioned further back to provide two separate views of the bike, opposing bikes and the track surface up ahead amongst the surrounding environments that certainly caters for the appropriate distances of third-person perspectives. There are three first-person perspectives providing a realistic and accurate representation of the cockpit including an LCD dashboard and speedometer to display your current speed, alongside the handle bars and crash visor from a close-up view, while there is an alternative viewpoint from a little further back, alongside another accurate portrayal of the cockpit albeit from the actual rider’s eye view looking out through the crash helmet with the rider’s peripheral vision only partially limited in the corners of the camera angle, although the camera angle positioned on the front of the bike looking outwards without showing any bodywork has not been retained. There is no optional re-positioning of the camera angle to bring it closer to or further away from the bike as has been expertly utilised in WRC 4 on Vita and MXGP on PS3; allowing you to move a slide bar 20 clicks further forwards or backwards from the rider to customise a third-person perspective that is suited to your preferences, although the focus of each camera angle can be adjusted in order to look to the left, right, above, below or behind the rider other than the first of the three first-person camera angles.
Photo mode is available from the pause menu; allowing you to observe the closer details of the racing in the foreground and trackside environments. Photo mode is a really great feature; allowing the camera to be positioned with freedom within the vicinity of the racing action including extensive customisation of images such as panning, camera height, zooming in or out and anywhere from a minor tilt to a full sideways tilt, alongside the ability to hide opponents, position the logo in any corner and choose from a 16:9, widescreen 2.35:1 or square 1:1 display ratio; aperture and focus distance; exposure, contrast and brightness; and eight image filters and the filter intensity, alongside half a dozen masks over the picture and the mask intensity in a fully immersive environment that works in perfect harmony with the PS4’s share feature.
You can watch a full race replay with the ability to watch in slow motion, pause, fast forward, rewind, change the camera angles for a different view of the action and to view the action from the previous or next rider. You can view the replay from nine camera angles including a dynamic camera angle positioned away from the bike with the TV camera angle changing from camera to camera in the style of Gran Turismo, while one of the third-person gameplay views is positioned closer behind the rider; a first-person cockpit gameplay viewpoint; a rider’s eye cockpit view; a first-person perspective looking directly ahead showing none of the bike’s bodywork; a front wheel mounted camera angle positioned just offset showing the rotation of the front wheel respectively with a clear view of the riders, track and scenery ahead of your bike that also shows the quantity of load going through the front suspension of the bike particularly when braking; the handlebar camera is somewhat inverted in comparison to the rider’s eye view as you get to view the action looking backwards at your rider as he spots the braking points, leans into corners and tucks in during straights; a camera mounted towards the rear of the bike that highlights the weight distribution of the rider through corners; and a rear wheel mounted camera angle positioned just offset showing the rotation of the rear wheel respectively with a clear view of the riders that you have overtaken being left in your trail amongst the scenery, while showing the quantity of load going through the rear suspension of the bike particularly when braking. It would be great to see some of these camera angles such as the front wheel mounted camera that could automatically switch from one side of the wheel to the other depending upon the direction of the upcoming corner or the Gran Turismo style dynamic TV coverage; make the transition to being playable as you are riding as they would further complement the immersion within the authenticity of the racing experience, while the same can be said for some of the gameplay camera angles being brought over to the replay coverage such as the further third-person camera angle. It would have been amazing for the gameplay and replay camera angles to include a helicopter camera angle from high above the circuit following the action with the sound effect of the helicopter in the audio mix.
It is disappointing not to see a Vita release of MotoGP 19 after the excellent retail releases for MotoGP 13 and 14 on Vita, although remote play is a consolation. MotoGP 19’s remote play performance is excellent as the graphics, audio and general performance are the same quality as the PS4 version, while the control scheme has been optimised resulting in acceleration being remapped from R2 to the bottom right of the touch screen and braking has moved from L2 to the bottom left of the touch screen, although they would have been better suited to R and L respectively, especially as you may have to lift your thumb from steering with the left analogue stick to brake. I had the best remote play experience with MotoGP 19 after customising the control scheme in which acceleration and braking was remapped to R1 and L1 respectively with rewinding moving to the bottom right of the touch screen or the top right of the rear touch pad and engaging the clutch moving from L1 to the bottom left of the touch screen or the top left of the rear touch pad; therefore providing a comfortable control scheme much better suited to the racing genre.
The controls are appropriately mapped to the DualShock 4 controller and are fully customisable. The default control scheme consists of holding R2 to accelerate; pressing L2 to use the front brake or reverse; holding L1 to engage the clutch during a manual start; pressing R1 to rewind following a crash or loss of direction; pressing X to use the rear brake; pressing O to manually shift up a gear; pressing square to manually shift down a gear; moving the direction of the left analogue stick to the left or right to steer your bike in that direction; moving the direction of the left analogue stick forwards or backwards to appropriately distribute your rider’s weight; moving the direction of the right analogue stick to the left, right, upwards or downwards to focus the camera in that direction; pressing R3 to view behind your rider; pressing up or down on the d-pad to increase or decrease electronics levels; pressing right or left on the d-pad to scroll through to the next or previous electronics options respectively; pressing the share button takes you to the share feature menu; and pressing the options button to display the pause menu.
Despite the customisable control scheme; there is no way of mapping the steering to the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality and the touch pad can only be mapped to once instead of the left and right sides having their own purpose. It is surprising as the gyroscopic motion sensing functionality could have provided an alternative steering method to the left analogue stick, while the touch pad implementation is under utilised as it only changes the camera angle, whereas an optional control scheme of MotoGP 13 on Vita included tapping the appropriate side of the rear touch pad to shift up or down a gear. Vibration occurs when entering a wheelie, the bike wobbles or riding over a curb, while light bar implementation was most recently supported prior to MotoGP 19 in MotoGP 17, albeit lighter tones of colour representing progressing through each gear in comparison to MotoGP 17.
Graphically, MotoGP 19 has been significantly refined in comparison to MotoGP 18 that previously introduced Unreal Engine 4, laser scanning every rider’s face and photogrammetry for each track to present a full 1:1 representation of MotoGP. However, MotoGP 18 had noticeable graphical frailties such as colour palette alterations on foliage and most trackside objects, although MotoGP 19 has definitely improved upon the majority of those instances other than for grandstands that still have some colour palette changes as the camera moves closer towards them. Elsewhere, bikes and riders have authentic models and lean angles, while a further benefit of realistic riders is seen during the brilliant post-race podium sequences; weather conditions show greater realism, while trackside environments are more detailed, alongside quicker loading textures in most scenarios.
MotoGP 19’s presentation is solid with a great user interface across various menus such as the main menu, career mode menus, quick modes menu, Grand Prix menus, Championship menus, Time Attack menus, Historical Challenges mode menus, online multiplayer menus, MotoGP eSport Championship mode menus, online leaderboards, rider customisation menus, options menus and various gameplay menus with support for navigation via the left analogue stick, directional pad and face buttons, although it does not include support for navigation via the right analogue stick or touch pad. Menu backgrounds consist of a corner and grandstand from Silverstone with super quick lights speeding around the corner as particle effects rise into the air from the curb and track surface, alongside track selection menus featuring a track map showcasing the complexity of the straights, corners and track length. Loading screens are as good in their presentation as the menus as they contain analysis of the track you are about to ride on with official aerial imagery of the track layout; accompanied by multiple helpful tips to read to keep you occupied during any loading times. Everything has an air of TV style presentation with pre-race camera angles panning around important segments of the track, alongside an overlay of weather conditions, air and track temperature, track layout and wind direction followed by a realistic pre-race grid and grid line-up that continues into the gameplay with overlays of the gaps between two riders who are duelling for position; when a rider has been involved in a collision with another rider or has crashed; fastest lap; podiums; and much more besides presented exactly as you would expect to see it when watching professional television coverage.
Pre-session introductions and post-session analysis returns which creates some atmosphere around the race weekend with leading BT Sport MotoGP commentator Keith Huewen taking the quality of pre-session and post-session commentary to a higher standard and showing more experience. However, there is still no commentary during practice, qualifying and race sessions that would certainly have increased immersion through having BT Sport commentators Keith Huewen and Neil Hodgson calling the action during actual gameplay. Sound effects include revving bike engines, running over curbs, weather conditions such as rain and ambience involving the aerodynamic rush of wind and atmospheric crowds cheering on their favourite riders as they make their way past their grandstands, during post-race paddock celebrations and the podium; complimented by upbeat instrumental themes composed by Ian Livingstone from a variety of genres during menus. There is no DualShock 4 speaker implementation that could have produced any layer of audio such as bike engines, collisions, pre-session and post-session commentary or ambient sounds from the atmospheric crowd.
The trophy list includes 51 trophies with 38 bronze trophies, 10 silver trophies, 2 gold trophies and 1 platinum trophy. The majority of the trophies are based upon skill as you are required to win races across various scenarios such as 19 bronze trophies for winning at 19 tracks in Grand Pix, Championship or Career mode, alongside 3 bronze trophies for winning at 3 historic tracks in Grand Prix or Championship mode. There are 3 bronze trophies for completing 1, 10 and 20 online multiplayer races. The hardest trophies include the A Historic Success gold trophy for winning the gold medal in every historic challenge and the World Champion Pro gold trophy for becoming MotoGP world champion in Career Pro mode. It is estimated that depending upon skill and a good trophy guide to provide some helpful tips that it would take between 30 to 35 hours to platinum the trophy list.
There are half a dozen difficulty levels revolves around a slider that spans 20 to 29 for easy, medium ranges from 30 to 49, advanced ranges between 50 to 69, hard ranges from 70 to 89, realistic ranges between 90 to 100 and extreme spans 101 to 120. Major differences between difficulty levels being the A.I. will become gradually more clinical with each step up in difficulty as they will wait for an appropriate overtaking opportunity and capitalise on any mistake you make. There are further factors involved in the difficulty level besides the A.I. as there are three physics settings including assisted, normal and pro which increase the corresponding difficulty curve as the three physics settings each provide totally different handling. Assisted physics feel more arcade oriented with a much lower chance of crashing when you have become accustomed to the handling, while the normal physics strikes a balance between assisted and pro physics as the pro physics are far more realistic and fully depend upon you perfecting the weight distribution of your rider’s lean angles and braking accurately throughout every corner of the track, especially as the auto brakes and joint brakes are turned off as a consequence of riding with pro physics. The rewind mechanic can reduce the difficulty by having numerous opportunities to rewind back to before a crash occurred. Between the half a dozen difficulty levels, three physics settings and plenty of riding assists that can be turned on or off; players have full customisation over the degree of challenge they prefer to encounter in any single player mode as well as the difficulty for A.I. controlled riders, physics, gear shifts and riding assists in online multiplayer.
Rather inexplicably, instead of Unreal Engine 4 helping to improve the MotoGP franchise’s split-screen multiplayer performance; MotoGP 19 follows the trend of recent Milestone Italy racers; Ride 3 and MotoGP 18 by not actually featuring any split-screen multiplayer component.
Online multiplayer performance is as good as single player during gameplay with the same sense of speed, graphics, up to 12 players and the capability of A.I. fleshing out the field, while an additional player can participate as a race director and the refinement of MotoGP 19’s online multiplayer has also resulted in no lag, alongside retaining the global MotoGP eSport Championship.
Time Attack online leaderboards focus on fastest times from each player with rankings covering all 19 tracks and 3 historical tracks across all 7 classes with each leaderboard containing each player’s rank; name (PSN ID); the bike, manufacturer and physics setting used during the player’s fastest time; and the best time set by each player, while players can compare their positioning on the leaderboards with players that occupy the top positions, globally, from your friends list and to immediately find and display your position within any given leaderboard.
MotoGP 19’s replayability is quite significant due to the quantity of modes such as Career, Grand Prix, Championship, Time Attack, MotoGP eSport Championship for global competition and newly introduced content including Historical Challenges mode in single player, the inclusion of the MotoE electric bikes category in its inaugural season and 50 historic riders, bikes and teams, alongside online multiplayer and competitive online leaderboards all being sources of lengthy replayability that will bring players back for an extensive period of time. However, split-screen multiplayer and Managerial Career Mode definitely both need to return in a future sequel within Milestone Italy’s MotoGP franchise.
• Title: MotoGP 19
• Developer: Milestone Italy
• Publisher: Milestone Italy
• System: PS4
• Format: PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download
• Cross-Buy: No
• Cross-Play: No
• Players: 1/2-12 (Online Competitive Multiplayer)/Additional Player in Online Multiplayer as Race Director/Online Leaderboards
• Hard Drive Space Required: 16.77GB (Version 1.12 – PS4 Blu-Ray Disc/PSN Download)