MotoGP 21 Review – Brake Checking (PS5)

Developer Milestone churns out yearly installments of the official MotoGP game like clockwork. Last year’s iteration was a slight improvement, but this year’s entry has launched on the latest generation of consoles. Is this merely a port from the last generation, or has the advantages of the PlayStation 5 been put to good use? Find out in our MotoGP 21 PS5 review.

MotoGP 21 PS5 Review – More Speed

The PlayStation 5’s SSD is once again a shining star, this time working its magic on MotoGP 21. While previous releases had much-improved loading times, you can only do so much on a traditional hard drive or even regular SSD. Here, races load in a handful of seconds. The Unreal Engine 4 powers the experience as usual, and the PS5 hardly breaks a sweat. MotoGP 21 is tuned to run at 60 frames per second, a benchmark that the system hits the vast majority of the time. Even during rainy events, where each bike on the road produces a plethora of particle effects, the frame rate does not noticeably dip. Graphically, MotoGP 21 on the PS5 has better lighting, reflections, and more detailed environments compared to last year, though you’d be hard-pressed to notice the differences without seeing side-by-side videos of the versions running. HDR is supported, but ray tracing is unfortunately non-existent. It looks great, at any rate, and the solid frame rate helps things look smoother than before.

The DualSense is a perfect controller for motorcycle racing games as it has sensitive joysticks, and that is reflected in MotoGP 21. First, the triggers provide resistance when accelerating and braking. If a tire’s grip slips, you’ll feel it in the throttle trigger as its tension drops since the throttle can now be more easily opened – though doing so will likely result in a spinout at this point. This is a wonderful feedback system that allows you to “feel” how well the bike is gripping the road. Haptics on the controller’s vibrations also let you feel what surface you are currently rolling over, though hopefully that consists of pavement and kerbs only! If you do find yourself driving over some sand outside the track, you’ll be able to feel some intense vibration as another reminder that something’s not quite right.

Racing motorcycles professionally is one of the most difficult forms of racing that exists. The majority of gamers who buy MotoGP 21 will go into the game knowing this, but for the few who may be trying it for the first time, turning the difficulty settings down is highly recommended. Even at intermediate settings, things will quickly go from bad to worse for someone who doesn’t know how to ease on the brakes and throttle when appropriate, which on a bike can be hard to tell without prior experience. You can’t just slam on the brakes, nor suddenly open the throttle, and expect the bike to behave. With enough assists turned on, however, most players should be able to at least complete a race without wiping out at every corner.

MotoGP 21 PS5 Review – Brakes Need Love Too

MotoGP 21 has three new marquee features this year. The first is bike retrieval. It used to be that crashing or otherwise losing control of your bike meant you waited for the crash animation to finish, at which point you would respawn and get back into the race within a few seconds. Of course, in reality riders have to recover from a fall, and if they’re lucky, retrieve their bike and salvage what’s left of their race. With this feature, players have to guide their rider to the bike, at which point they are shown an animation of the rider picking the bike up, and re-entering the track. While most players will opt to use the rewind feature to simply undo a crash, those looking for extra realism, and perhaps online matches especially, will see heavy use of this feature. Well, with any luck the better racers will hardly have a use for it!

The second new enhancement involves brake temperature. It’s hard to believe the series has gone so long without such a feature, but now the size of disc brakes can be changed, which can alter how hot the brakes run. The front brake’s temperature is especially important, as if it is too cold or too hot the performance of the bike will suffer. Naturally, this feature doesn’t have to be turned on, but if you’re interested in this game you’re likely interested in realism, so it is recommended to leave it on for a more realistic experience.

The third major improvement includes the official use of the long lap penalty. In the real-life MotoGP, when racers jump the start, cut corners of the track, or perform other actions that give them an unfair advantage in a race, they have to take a long lap by riding along a designated section of each track which makes their lap physically longer, thus resulting in a slower lap time. This is now included in MotoGP 21, whereas before players would simply receive a time penalty. Now, players receive warnings for race infractions, and on the fifth such warning they are issued a long lap penalty. Within four laps, the racer must ride through the long lap section on the track, or else they are given a three second time penalty. If the race is particularly close, this can result in the loss of several positions. This is a realistic addition that can add to the tension experienced in tight races.

MotoGP 21 PS5 Review – Newbies Welcome!

Another new feature that isn’t necessarily marquee but will be appreciated by new players is the addition of a tutorial mode! It covers topics from beginner to advanced, and allows the player to get used to the many assists on offer. It is presented in a mission-like structure, where the player must perform certain actions to check off a tutorial as done. This proved to be a bit picky during our time with the game, as sometimes the tutorial would say it was incomplete when we followed every instruction. Still, this is a great thing to see and can help new players ease their way into this complicated game.

The steady improvement of MotoGP continues with MotoGP 21. The move to the PlayStation 5 affords a bunch of benefits inherent to the latest generation of consoles, and having a race load in a handful of seconds is such a nice luxury. The inclusion of the DualSense’s haptics is appreciated, as a useful feature to tell when tires are losing their grip. Brake temperature management combines with fuel consumption and tire wearing to increase immersion. It may still not excite much with a lacking presentation, but MotoGP 21 is a solid contender that’ll have you feeling like you could almost take to the track yourself. Just, watch those knees, yeah?


MotoGP 21 review code provided by the publisher. Version 1.004 reviewed on a PS5. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy.

8.0Silver Trohpy
  • Now has a much-needed tutorial
  • Load times are incredibly quick
  • Brake temps add to immersion
  • Presentation still barebones
  • No ray tracing