- Milestone S.r.l
- Bandai Namco
- Single Player, Multiplayer
- Playstation 4
- PC, Xbox One
I’m going to be real with you, dear reader, I am not the best authority when it comes to racing titles and even less so for motorbike games. I have played one MotoGP game in my life for a brief spell and that is as far as my knowledge goes with this sort of game. So going into Valentino Rossi: The Game, I was at a distinct disadvantage, but rather than going on about my inexperience, I’ve decided to theme this review around the perspective of a newcomer. What does Valentino Rossi do to provide entertainment for someone that doesn’t have a vested interest in the MotoGP? As it turns out, there’s quite a surprising amount to be excited about, but with some glaring caveats.
As you can no doubt deduce from the title, the game is centred around the world-famous motorbike champion, Valentino Rossi, and his name has a prominent role within the game. In the career mode, he is your mentor, and there are modes dedicated to his career as well as optional unlockable content that features stories and factual information about him. The game takes notes from his lifestyle and his presentation and it does a great job of conveying that to the player. Fans of the man himself would be overjoyed with all of the content dedicated to him and to have his actual voice guide you throughout the game.
Despite the perhaps misleading name, the game is definitely a MotoGP game at its core. It’s the official sequel to last year’s MotoGP 15 and it continues with all of the mechanics and features that the series is known for with a generous sprinkling of Valentino Rossi’s sensibilities and methods. You ride powerful motorcycles around tracks and the riding mechanics are easy to learn. The game features robust difficulty modifiers to allow you to tailor how you want to play. You can go as simulation focused or as arcade as you want. Of course, with my limited skill and knowledge, I put all of the modifiers on off and the experience that it gave me in return was an enjoyable and easy racing game as opposed to struggling into oblivion with the control schemes and the like.
However, something somewhat surprising got thrown on me as I played the career mode. The game also has different racing modes with different vehicles. You can participate in drift events with Ford Mustangs and sort of faux rally racing with set designed tracks around the traditional motorbike tracks. It was a pleasant surprise since I thought the game was mainly going to be about MotoGP. However, the car racing is somewhat derivative and not quite competitive with more focused rally games. The cars handle somewhat awkwardly and you can clearly tell that this wasn’t the developer’s strength. Regardless, it served as a welcome distraction from the constant motorbiking.
I cannot stress just how much control the game gives you. There’s options everywhere for anything ranging from the colour of your tights to the length of the races you participate in. Feel up for a fully simulated riding experience and going for 24 laps around a course? You got it. Want to leisurely cruise around a track for 3 laps while not really struggling to obtain a lead? You can do that. It all depends on the player and it also makes the experience a lot more palatable for newcomers. There’s also a plethora of modes available for you to pour through if you are so inclined. Multiple categories of races, online races, championships, time trials and so on. There’s definitely enough content for the diehard to explore.
The biggest criticism I have of the game is the visuals. Even though the game released on current generation consoles, the visuals are sorely lacking compared to the offerings of other racing games. I reviewed the game on PS4 and the textures are flat, the lighting is sub-par, the models are remnants of a time long passed, and the overall visual representation of the game leaves a lot to be desired. It took me out of the experience somewhat since I’ve gotten so used to racing games pushing the boundaries when it comes to visuals. DriveClub, Forza and those of its ilk have set a precedent for how racing titles are supposed to look like and Valentino Rossi falls well flat of that expectation.
From my first little excuse ridden explanation at the top, you can clearly tell I wasn’t the target market for this game. But throughout my experience, the game grew on me a little. There was nothing outwardly offensive about it and it delivered a lot of variety, even if I don’t really enjoy the core gameplay. For diehards and fans of MotoGP games, however, this game is something to be excited about. They beefed up a lot of the content and the inclusion and focus of Valentino Rossi is an interesting deviation from the standard presentation style of such games. It’s a shame the visuals do not live up to expectations, but it doesn’t spoil the overall gameplay too much.
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