When you’re stuck to a yearly release schedule, it can be very difficult to innovate year after year. It’s generally accepted that 12 months isn’t enough time to create a new video game from scratch, so what tends to happen is an iterative approach that builds over time.
This is something that, of late, the MotoGP video games have wrestled with. Last year, there was an intriguing ‘NINE’ historic documentary mode, but perhaps a lack of updates in key areas – namely the career and online multiplayer.
So, for MotoGP 23, the latest title does away with distractions and focuses on what matters more. It’s all the better for it.
New for this season are this year’s riders and liveries, of course. But this time around, the motorcycle details are closer to actuality from launch, as opposed to a few weeks down the line via an update.
There are also two new tracks, in the form of India’s Buddh International Circuit and Kazakhstan’s Sokol International Racetrack. Sadly, for the latter, the race has been cancelled, but it remains in the game. Reminiscent of Finland’s Kymi Ring, which was in MotoGP 21 and 22, only for the event to collapse before the riders took to the track.
Perhaps even more importantly, for the first time, dynamic weather with the flag-to-flag rule is present. If a race starts in dry conditions, then it beings to rain, you must visit the pitlane to swap bikes for one fitted with rain tyres. A shame that the pitlane process is automated, however. For the included Moto2 and Moto3 categories, a race stoppage is enacted.
The system works well, randomly spicing up career events, especially if you have a longer race distance set. Also accurately representing the series, you can now take part in sprint races on every weekend – or alternatively, switch them off. It’s up to you.
Stoppie-ing the fun
While these are pleasant additions, some things remain constant. Chiefly, the riding experience, which is only lightly modified.
There are artificial intelligence-powered riding assists, only allowing you to pin the throttle when the time is right. The system is unique in racing games, and while it feels a bit odd at first, we can say that this is a worthy innovation that hopefully only gets better from here.
But, the aggressive tendency to stoppie under braking remains. Mercifully, you can tune this out through set-up work and the guided option remains, but if you didn’t know that, it can be frustrating. In Moto3, it’s also possible to accidentally wheelie out of corners a bit too easily for such a low-powered, momentum-based, formula.
For this year, there’s a tendency for the bike to feel rigid at the corner exit upon applying power. There seems to be less compliance as if the stature of the chassis becomes frozen as soon as you hit the throttle. Get on the power a little too early, and the rear tyre isn’t breaking away, but rather the front pushes…
Read More: MotoGP 23 game review: significant progress 2023-06-09 20:54:23