MotoGP 22 review: A sim racer with a steep learning curve

MotoGP 22Milestone

MotoGP 22 offers a deep and rewarding superbike simulator, but it could be overwhelming for beginners or those unfamiliar with the sport.

As a franchise that releases an annual game, the MotoGP series must always maintain a balance between giving MotoGP purists the superbike racing simulator they deserve, but while making the game feel welcoming to newcomers. This second goal is the one that proves to be the biggest sticking point for the series, and MotoGP 22 continues to suffer from this issue, despite the developer’s attempts to overcome it.

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MotoGP 22 doubles down on its predecessor’s efforts to appeal to new players. New tutorials have been added and they are more helpful than ever. Working through them will make you a better player, but not doing so risks utterly ruining your enjoyment of the game.

MotoGP 22 – Key Details

  • Price: $59.99 / £54.99
  • Developer: Milestone and Dorna Sports S.L.
  • Release date: April 21, 2022
  • Platform: PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Nintendo Switch & PC

MotoGP 22 trailer

MotoGP: Learning the basics

Players who engage with these tutorials and apply their lessons in races will soon get to grips with MotoGP’s tense and demanding mechanics. In time, they’ll be flying around the tracks at great speeds, braking into corners with surgical precision, and making a name for themselves in the online rankings.

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The only issue here is that the tutorials, for all their value, are still painfully dull. They’re not mandatory, but if you want to make the most of MotoGP 22, and really experience the thrilling races it has to offer, not only will you need to play through them, but you’ll also need to master them.

This means sitting through the tutorials multiple times, as skipping them and learning these skills in a race is not recommended. You’ll lose a lot, then get frustrated with the game for your own shortcomings. However, those who are already familiar with MotoGP’s gameplay can simply familiarize themselves with the subtle changes, then get right into the action.

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MotoGP 22Milestone
When you finally master MotoGP 22, it feels amazing.

Unparalleled realism

As far as creating a realistic and engaging superbike racing simulator goes, the team at Milestone has really nailed it this time. We can’t stress that enough. The developers have been refining the formula for years now, and this latest installment is the closest they’ve come to perfecting it.

With the AI help turned off and first-person mode on, you’ll genuinely feel like you’re whizzing around a real racetrack. The bikes feel smooth and the slightest movement of your thumb on the left stick will ease your bike into the direction you want to go, but with a slight delay. Experienced fans will know this feeling well, but it will take some getting used to for new players.

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Those who come to MotoGP 22 from games like Forza Horizon 5 will be in for a shock to the system. Forget what you know about racing games, as MotoGP will make you relearn it. Racing bikes is different to cars, especially when it comes to turning corners. You’ll be expected to brake much earlier than in most games and this feels awkward at first, even to experienced and skilled racing players.

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Drops also don’t exist in car racing games, but in MotoGP falling off your bike is an added pressure. When a drop happens, the camera switches to an embarrassing first-person view that really adds insult to injury. Although this will teach you to not make the same mistakes twice.

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We played in third-person, but first-person is also highly immersive.

Comprehensive career mode

A lot of the above observations about encouraging new players to stick around also apply to MotoGP 22’s new and improved career mode. This offers an incredibly intricate set of options for not only modifying your bike and rider, but your support teams, such as managers and various other roles. You can hire and fire NPCs based on their skills and experience until you’ve crafted the best team for you.

We cannot do justice here to the sheer number of customizable options that are available to players in what may be the deepest career mode in MotoGP yet. You don’t just race in MotoGP 22, you live the career of a professional racer.

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Superbike enthusiasts will also feel like a kid in a candy shop, however, the level of detail may be overwhelming to other players, or those unfamiliar with the inner workings of the sport. While the game does its best to hold your hand through these menus, some players will become frustrated.

For example, it took us way too long to figure out how to move on to our next race after establishing our team and settings. While this was admittedly a failure on our part, we can’t help thinking we’ll not be the only player this happens to.

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MotoGP 22Milestone
Careful when leaning into corners too much.

Who is MotoGP 22 for?

We can’t criticize Milestone for delivering such a comprehensive and authentic MotoGP experience. After all, this is a game built primarily for committed MotoGP fans, who are already the intended audience of the series. Dumbing the game down or simplifying it wouldn’t be fair on them.

Yet, we can’t help thinking a more streamlined experience could attract more players, who in time, would see the benefit of everything else the game has to offer. Then perhaps, they’d be more inclined to engage with the game’s many customizable options in career mode and the steep learning curve on the track.

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Those who go into MotoGP 22 looking for some casual arcade racing action on superbikes will likely come away disappointed. However, those who take the time to learn the game’s mechanics and like the idea of being a professional MotoGP rider will find a rich and rewarding experience. If you’re willing to put the time into learning its intricate mechanics, then you’ll certainly come away satisfied.

Reviewed on Xbox Series S

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