For a total gaming novice, the MotoGP20 game was challenging to get to grips with but thrilling once you have several laps under your belt.
Whilst the initial setup is very simple as you pick your skill level and decide whether you want to jump straight into the MotoGP class or work your way up from Moto3, gaining experience as you go, you are predominantly to your own devices to pick your way through the complex nature of the game and new managerial features.
You start off by choosing your rider. The options are limited especially if you are a female but the choice of five faces instead of last years two and the fact you can actually opt to be female is an improvement.
Once you’ve selected your rider, you choose your manager and team which is very simple if you read through the information they provide you. As I am awful at it, I opted for a team that didn’t expect front-row starts from every race and went with something more realistic like fourth-row. You can then customise your helmet manufacturer and design, leathers, fairing and just make things look cooler before you get into the actual track action.
After you’ve finished making your rider look as similar to you as possible, a tough task if you’re female by-the-way, it’s time to start your actual career as a Moto3/Moto2/MotoGP rider. Unfortunately, you are thrown in at the deep end with no help or instruction on what you are supposed to do except click on the various screens to see what is behind each one. After a little time and a lot of clicking back and forth, I ended up skipping eight weeks and being faced with my first free-practice session, not something I was expecting.
As I was less experienced with the general control of my Moto3 bike and was still trying to work out which buttons controlled gears, throttle, brakes, etc, I opted for the lengthy free practice sessions, qualifying and then the race.
The AI is, to put it nicely, chaotic. After getting rear-ended by Barry Baltus, Raul Fernandez and Maximilian Kofler, I learnt it was probably best to not stick to the racing line, even if it is the easiest option, it’s often not the safest. Whilst the AI may be somewhat reckless, it does give you a chance to see one of the new and impressive features in the game; aesthetic and performance altering damage. The cosmetic damage to the bike and leathers are a nice addition to the game as crashes big and small are such a regular occurrence during a race weekend and, until now, you could suffer a huge high-side and your bike and leathers could look fresh from the box.
The graphics are very hit and miss. While the on-track action is passable, the colours are somewhat juvenile, almost overly saturated and verging on offensive to the eye if you look for too long. The facial graphics resemble those of the early 2000s and the lack of mouth movement when riders are being interviewed or discussing situations with their team is quite off-putting.
Whilst there are flaws to the game, it is a thoroughly enjoyable game if you can actually get around the track without a trip through the gravel or into the air fence. For rookies like myself, it’s tough-going but good fun none-the-less but, for the more experienced gamer, the game’s new managerial settings add an entirely new dynamic to the experience and a real insight into the world of a professional rider.