Review: Valentino Rossi: The Game
A bit stuck for ideas on its major licenses, Italian studio Milestone has chosen this year to tie up with all Motorsports icons to theme their games. After a first successful test with Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo (which we reviewed back in January 2016), it is now the turn of MotoGP with the legendary Valentino Rossi, and thus his own title: Valentino Rossi: The Game. But is “The Doctor” enough to revive the series?
In Valentino Rossi as in any MotoGP title, everything starts with the rather crude create your own driver mode. After choosing his number (from a fairly limited choice), helmet, boots and gloves, we start as a young driver in the VR Riders Academy. The Italian champion will then follow us throughout a traditional curriculum beginning with some racing for the Moto3 wild card spot before reaching an agreement in the season and then a gradual rise in Moto2 and MotoGP. Besides some tweets of encouragement, our mentor will also offer us from time to time the chance to participate in some events which are the main novelties of this Valentino Rossi: The Game, including flat track racing, rally, drift and R1M. In short, all that Rossi did in his real life career is in the game, which is quite the attractive thing for fans of the legend.
Speaking of flat tracks, the mode is hosted on Rossi’s private track, modeled in-game and gives us three types of challenges: the classic races, Americana which consists of a series of elimination races and finally endurance which is a relay base race in which we alternate between two drivers. In terms of gameplay, we find something original enough but not necessarily pleasant. However, the formula is enticing: the track is dusty, the back traction physics of the bike chase are amazing for those slides. Unfortunately, no need to counter-steer, you just have to put small strokes gas as you would normally drift in a car, which almost makes you feel like the motorcycle is fighting against all laws of physics. The effect is confusing, especially when one has the impression of riding on soap.
Then there are the Rally events that logically rehash gameplay from the WRC series (which Milestones also develops). It is though very arcade and permissive, but pleasant despite not really exciting race tracks. With the sole Monza track and surrounding area, divided in several special events, they are mostly redundant and particularly not fun, as rally is still more suitable for small country roads to circuits with some tires placed here and there as obstacles. We unfortunately cannot say that the best of the WRC series gameplay made it in this game, as the drifts can be quite calamitous. The car seems to slide alone, even in a straight line and sensations are generally very bad. This is weird because the whole point of R1M races is to relax for a MotoGP ride, as this is their usual workouts that on their free time.
But the main point that will really enchant fans is the omnipresence of Valentino Rossi. Besides the usual MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3, you’ll find all the motorcycles he rode during his career since his debut in the 125cc back in 1996. It’s a real tribute to the Italian champion, knowing that we have the ability to relive his historic achievements, and player can also try to beat his lap time on each circuit.
It remains to address the MotoGP races themselves, since it is still the heart of the game. We thus find the sounds of motorcycles sadly still bad, halfway between a chainsaw and vacuum cleaner, yet there’s a slight change on the graphic front. Despite the personal involvement of Rossi, the gameplay has not really evolved. It still gives us something very arcade and easy to grab at first, but when enough technical choices are needed to win, good luck controlling your bike. The second problem which is something I’ve realized in most Milestones game is this sadistic AI opponent. In short, it’s not perfect yet, but there is a slight enhancement which means a better sequel, hopefully.
Valentino Rossi: The Game was reviewed using an Xbox One downloadable code of the game provided by Milestones. The game is also available on PC via Steam. We don’t discuss review scores with publishers or developers prior to the review being published.
• The new modes bring some variety
• AI is a bit better than last year
• The career mode is still a long investment for players
• Huge tribute to Valentino Rossi
• Lots of content
• The rally and flat track ganeplay
• Only one rally circuit?
• Very linear career
• These colision defies all sorts of physics laws
• The AI who rushes at us like a kamikaze
• Those sound effects from the 1990s