MotoGP 20 Review – Watch Those Knees (PS4)

MotoGP 20 is, for the time being, the closest most of us can get to professional MotoGP racing, what with major sporting events canceled around the world due to the novel coronavirus. Is this year’s version different enough than MotoGP 19 to warrant a purchase? Find out in our review.

MotoGP 20 Review – Choose Your Cup

As before, the player can choose between starting a new career in Moto2, Moto3, and MotoGP classes, with MotoGP, of course, being the most challenging, but featuring the best bikes and most iconic riders. Now, you can unceremoniously hire and fire a personal manager, chief engineer, and data analyst, who can help you scout better talent, earn more research points from the crewed staff, and gain more points from test sessions, respectively. More experienced staff can help you upgrade your bike more quickly, but of course such staff command higher salaries. So, the big change this year is that the player has more say in the buildup of the team, though this can easily result in cost overruns if you’re not careful.

In between events, the player can opt to engage in research and development, which involves tasking staff with either earning development points, or spending those points on upgraded parts and components on the player’s bike, both of which take time to develop or craft. The calendar tracks things on a weekly basis, and a season spans a full 52 weeks (many weeks do not include races). This section of the campaign isn’t explained handily by the game, but it isn’t too complicated to grasp either.

MotoGP 20 does a good job of catering to players of all levels. At the easiest setting, most players won’t have a problem nabbing a pole position in qualifying or winning a race. Those looking for more challenge can increase opponent levels and dial-up other settings to better reflect reality. When you’re in a first-person view, deftly leaning and carefully managing your throttle through the apex of a turn, things can feel pulse-poundingly realistic.

MotoGP 20 Review – Fuel Guzzling

One oft-overlooked aspect to racing is fuel consumption. When you’re gunning for the fastest lap time, you’re not really concerned about your vehicle’s fuel economy. However, a motorcycle is a much smaller vehicle and is affected by fuel levels even more than a four-wheeler. New to MotoGP 20 is the option to choose how much fuel to load up your motorcycle with prior to hitting the track. MotoGP races have no pit stops, so this decision can make or break your race. As you race, an indicator in the heads-up display (HUD) shows approximate fuel left, in terms of laps. If that is lower than the number of laps remaining in the race, then you run the real risk of running out of fuel and being forced to retire early from the race. A user-controlled power setting, labeled PWR, is usually the biggest culprit when it comes to fuel consumption. Turning this up ensures a speedy bike but turning it down (or off entirely) ensures you’ll actually cross the finish line. So, there’s a balancing act the player needs to maintain if they want to achieve victory. This is an aspect of the race that feels like it should have been in the game a while ago, but it is nice to see now.

Graphically, MotoGP 20 has seen a few improvements to graphics, such as an improved character model being used for the riders. If played on the PS4 Pro, the option of prioritizing 60 frames per second or graphics quality can be chosen. HDR is also supported, which does make a difference when playing in cloudy weather, or when turning into or away from the sun. The helmet view showcases a lot of this and is the most intense form of riding available in the game, even if you do give up some of the advantages of other camera angles. If you damage your bike, some markings will show up, and with higher difficulty levels this will have a noticeable effect on the bike’s handling model as well.

MotoGP 20 Review – This Sounds Familiar…

A bit of reused assets from last year’s game can be found in the audio. During practice, qualifying, and other pre-race events, a generic commentator will say uninspired lines about how the racer is going to talk things over with the engineer, or that we’re going to see whether they are trying for a fast lap time, or something new. These are the exact same lines that were used last year, and something most veterans of the series will recognize right away. When a game releases yearly, you’re bound to see some asset reuse. But to not hear much in the way of new audio is somewhat disappointing.

MotoGP 20 represents an iterative upgrade over last year’s entry. Fans who skipped MotoGP 19 should definitely pick up this year’s release. The challenge is there for those who want it and taking care of the business side of being a professional rider can be its own reward. Taking a no-handholding approach will no doubt turn off new fans of the sport, but difficulty sliders help to ensure all but the most incompetent leaners will see a podium finish. There may not be many choices when it comes to MotoGP simulations, but thankfully what is here is choice.

MotoGP 20 review code provided by publisher. Version 1.02 reviewed on a PS4 Pro. For more information on scoring please see our Review Policy.

  • Steady performance
  • Tough higher difficulties
  • Inclusion of fuel consumption is appreciated
  • Still generic presentation
  • Reused assets from last year
  • Barebones feature set