Burning rubber and broken bones is what comes to my mind when thinking of MotoGP. In the preview build that I got to play, this was more evident than ever! There was a lot of times when I would winch, cringe and rage at my racing on this MotoGP 21 Preview.
In the build of MotoGP 21 that I got to play on PC over the last few days was a solid one. I did not experience many issues during my playtime. There were two game modes on offer in this build, Grand Prix and Time Trial, which were both under the Quick mode option. Grand Prix is what you would expect from a GP mode. Here is where you get to compete in a full-on race weekend, with practice, qualifying and then the race itself. There are also numerous race classes available too, though some where not available for me during my playthrough, from the full-fledged MotoGP Series to the Historical 500c and more, each with their own set of challenges to get to grips with.
In Time Trial, you get what you would expect as with any TT race setup. Jump on your chosen bike, get on the track, and go all out to get in the fastest time possible.
While playing in either Grand Prix or Time Trial mode, there was a lot of tracks within these modes, but only a small selection of tracks on offer, like Argentina, Qatar, Spain, and the US, there will be a total of 23 on offer upon release. Each of these tracks offer up their own unique style and difficulty with the environments like the pits, podiums and stands all present. A point to note that these are all in the polishing phase a may represent the final build of the game or there may be some slight tweaks.
In this MotoGP 21 Preview, there is a lot of customisations on offer on your bike and the rider himself. You can use the graphics editors that will allow you to create some cool liveries for the rider’s helmets, numbers, and the all-important butt-patches to show off your talents. There is a gaggle of options here to choose from when you are customising the look of your rider, from the colour of the helmets to the styles. You are also able to change the numbers on your bike and add some customisation to them by changing their liveries and colour scheme. A lot of the MotoGP community will no doubt love this feature in creating their own unique styles etc..
When it comes to the actual meat and veg of MotoGP 21, the gameplay, it has it in bucket loads! When you are out on the track and racing against the pack, everything gels well together. From the riders racing against one another to you trying to stay within in pack or ahead of them. As you weave in an out, take the corners and race to the finish, the bike feels like it has actual weight to it as you race around each of the tracks on offer. While this build did have it’s issues in regards to the learning curve of the bike’s handling. I feel this will be softened upon release like the previous MotoGP title.
It took me quite a few races to get to grips with the bike and at the start of my play, I was in a constant stream of rage and flips as I played. I found it quite difficult to stay with the pack and to stay on the bloody bike! However, once I got used to the game’s mechanics, the setting up and tweaking of the bike that you can do prior to each race, everything seemed to handle better. I’m not saying I was winning every race, but I felt that I was improving with each race I was in.
In relation to the bike’s settings, there is a shed load of options available that should keep the hardcore fans giddy as a schoolboy. You can tweak and tune nearly everything on offer. Thankfully, there is a more friendly approach to the tuning as well. This comes in the form of guided setup that your mechanic can auto-tune your bike for you from the setup and handling to the type of tyres you need for each race. Then there are the driving aids that will assist with your braking, turning and so on.
Out on the track the other riders AI is still being finalised into the full game and they do have some funny mishaps out on the track which leave your head scratching, even for me. At its current state, there was times when I would be knocked off my bike only to finish in last, while they happily went on their way to maintain their position. Though most of the time out on the track they are the usual state of affair and keep to the line and try to overtake where possible. The difficulty settings seem to be muddled up as well, as I found that some of the medium difficulty AI riders would be worse than their easy AI counterparts. However, these are being ironed out for the full release in April.
Visually, this current MotoGP 21 Preview build looks beautiful on my PC, even though it’s not the most powerful, the game really shines, and I can’t wait to see what the finished product will look like. The riders on screen as they race around the track are all represented almost perfectly, with a few glitches that are few and far between. The tracks themselves are a joy to behold in terms of how well they are represented to their real-world counterparts and in the varying different weather settings, some outshine others. Like the Spanish track Jerez in the rain looks amazing and how the rain bounces off the track and the riders themselves. You can almost get a sense of danger as you take a corner to fast that your rider will wash out across the asphalt and slide into the gravel.
The bikes themselves show off their own visual excellence when tyres are wet and then a coming off in the gravels shows that gravel sticking to them as you come back onto the track. It is these little things that really add up to the overall look and aesthetic nature of the game. The Qatar track, which was at night, is well lit up, thanks to the circuits floodlights that are spotted around the track and bounce of the bikes and riders beautifully. You can also see how the lights seem to illuminate back off the riders suits as well as you drive closer to them when racing around the track.
When trying to capture some of these visuals at the right moment, I feel that these screenshots are not doing the game justice and you really need to experience the game yourself to appreciate how amazing this game looks and even better so on a more powerful rig.
When it comes to the audio within MotoGP 21, you can hear the engines roar as you sit on the starting grid waiting to launch off into the first bend. Each rider waits until the lights are off then you hear the screams of the bikes as you are racing among the pack of riders. You are also aware of the other riders around you as they close in on you to overtake or the inevitable knockdown of you, and also the coming together of gravel and rider as you see yourself tumbling along the dirt and gravel. The crashes on MotoGP 21 do lead to some spectacular camera angles as you would see on TV. You are treated with some close-ups of your rider coming off the bike and sometimes a TV style replay of you tumbling and slide across the track or into the barriers surrounding the tracks.
The MotoGP 21 Preview build that I played was a lot of fun, even though there were some issues in relation to frames rates dropping and the occasional graphical glitch at the start. I didn’t experience much in the way that would ruin my enjoyment of the game. I was at the start also going through stages of rage, swearing, laughing and everything in between. It offered up a lot to help me get to grips with the game and what the full release has to offer. I enjoyed playing MotoGP 20 and I expect this year’s title to be the same. Before launch, there is more being added to the final build and with some tweaks and tuning happening before launch in April, fans of the series will love what the game has to offer! Especially for those on next-gen (or now current) hardware that will get to reap the benefits of better visuals, better performance, and more online racers to tackle against.
MotoGP 21 launches this April 22nd and is shaping up to be one hell of ride and no one does it better than Milestone. So, get ready racers, the wait is almost over!
**The MotoGP 21 Preview build was provided by BOPE PR & Koch Media UK**