REVIEW – Milestone’s annual game adaptation of the MotoGP championship was released a month and a half late this year, but that was good for this year’s installment, as the shortcomings common in previous installments are mostly gone. The franchise has physically improved while remaining a fun experience for beginners, although the entry-level felt since RIDE 4 has been raised here, too.
Open the throttle, pass your opponents, and cross the finish line: live the dream of being the next champion with the new MotoGP™23, more amazing and challenging than ever!
For example, the physics got an upgrade for the brakes. The brakes are there, and they apply, and sure enough, if you’re careless, you’ll fly off the bike if you overdo it. You can’t keep on the throttle in the corners: you have to be careful when you come out of them to keep the rear tire from skidding (and wearing out because you have to watch out for that too; it can cost you seconds towards the end of races). The entry-level mentioned in the introduction suggests that since RIDE 4, Milestone seems to be moving in that direction. There, too, it was observed that the basics were not easy to master, and only then do you start to get into it. The situation is similar here, but with the help of the tutorial academy, you can get used to things, but it takes a while to get used to the machine underneath you during the seasons and races. You have to be careful in the rain because if the bike starts to shake, it’s not easy to make it stable from there.
If it’s raining, the game looks nice. Whatever level you’re racing at, handling a bike that feels heavy (somewhat naturally, as F1 cars too have become ridiculously overweight, so the trend is similar) can be helped by the game’s three levels (off, moderate, strong) of braking, acceleration, and cornering. The AI is good here, but unfortunately, the other drivers still ignore that you’re in its way, so you can end up on the tarmac more than once because of them. Milestone hasn’t corrected it in the AI behavior for years (apart from that, though, it tends to try, which is good). Not everyone rides like Marc Marquez or Jorge Lorenzo did (the latter was banned in the 250cc class for it). Also, during quali, the AI tends to ignore the player, who can justifiably swear when he suddenly sees someone warming up their tires on the racing line for the next timed lap. Therefore, you have to be prepared to suddenly turn in a different direction so that you don’t knock them off (when they should be paying attention to you coming up behind them).
In career mode, you can have rivals, which can affect their behavior on the track (so Milestone has taken a concept from the Codemasters/Electronic Arts F1 series). There’s also a community interface where you can see their reactions this time. Relationships with the other drivers can be vital because they can determine whether you can join their teams and how you improve your bike (how many new parts you can test). The weather changes, so it’s never as simple as starting on the pole, leaving the others behind, beating them by 20 seconds in the Saturday sprint races, and repeating the same in the primary races. The lighting and reflections aren’t bad (and the sound has been improved), but there aren’t many games of this genre (mainly from Milestone, so we don’t have much to compare them to). The animations aren’t entirely up to par, though.
The bikers on the bike move adequately, but the visuals aren’t as good when it comes to falls (just don’t end up causing a red flag, as that is a thing in this game). On the PlayStation 5, it should be pointed out that the haptic feedback via the DualSense controller is outstanding. You’ll always feel a bump on the track surface, even if you put the bike on the grass. The gearshifts and throttle response are also noticeable. However, the performance doesn’t feel stable either on PC or console. On PC at ultra-wide resolutions, it tends to bog down even on more modern configurations. Unfortunately, Milestone has made DLCs, which are available from day one this time. One of them offers more racing suits for one euro. It’s not that expensive, but the one for five euros is again a paid cheat by offering more credits in career mode if you buy it (and it’s not surprising that the test code again only provided the base game, not the DLCs…).
MotoGP 23 gets a benign seven-and-a-half out of ten because at least here you can see that Milestone tried. The game has indeed been strengthened, and there are new features, but knowing the Italian developers, you have to wonder what they’ll take out next year. One of the hallmarks of the studio is that they leave the game behind after a few months of support. Now, there are still some technical bugs, and maybe if the AI were a little stronger or more attentive, it would have got an eight out of ten, but not like this, and not because of the paid DLC. The split-screen play, the cross-play available by default, and the dynamic weather gave the game a thorough boost in the rating. Turning Points (how we stack up against others) in the career mode and the different bike development from manufacturer to manufacturer are also interesting. The question remains, what can we expect next year?
+ Career and multiplayer strengthened
+ Not bad audiovisually
+ He became serious, in almost every area
– Artificial intelligence is still not very attentive to the player
– Published in a technically incorrect state
– Still a paid scam, still afraid of the next part…
Publisher: Milestone (Embracer Group)
Style: World Speedway Championship game adaptation
Release: June 8, 2023.