Moto Racer 4 (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 27.12.2016

Review for Moto Racer 4 on PlayStation 4

Developed using Unreal Engine 4, Moto Racer 4 is set to revive the craze for the winning formula that made the original games so memorable. High octane races on powerful bikes and motocross on more nimble machines across varied and old school tracks. Developed by Microïds and Artefacts Studio, under the supervision of the original designer, Paul Cuisset, it's set to hit the nostalgia buttons of fans who still love the 1997 original, and also saw a Nintendo DS spin-off. After an early hands-on with the new racer, it's time to kick start the review engine and use the boost to get through.

The original Moto Racer will be fondly remembered by gamers for its great fast-paced gameplay, slick graphics, and stylish levels, not least the Great Wall of China level with its huge jumps and colourful scenery. It was the motorbike equivalent of Ridge Racerp and it was fantastic fun; however, now that almost a decade has passed since the original release, technology should be able to provide more than twice the spectacle, especially with Microïds utilising the Unreal Engine 4, the same graphics engine used by Doom and for the upcoming Kingdom Hearts 3, as well as Final Fantasy VII Remake.

Screenshot for Moto Racer 4 on PlayStation 4

Right off the bat, there are several options for players to salivate over. The first is a career mode with many challenges to overcome. Career is essentially a big progress tree that begins with two choices: Motocross bikes or Superbikes. Both types of bike feature their own tracks, with mud bikes focusing on style and superbike focusing on speed or control challenges. Each of these challenges focuses on a different skill; one of the best is the slaloms, which are insanely fun, if a little difficult - for each correct pass of a car, a second is added to the timer. It's very high stakes and they require perfection for the best grades.

Grading is done by the player in a "rate yourself" system. It's all about setting the bar high and trying to achieve the best scores, but it pays to be wary, as if the goal is not achieved, the stars previously acquired in the challenge are removed. This can even result in a negative grading. On release, the challenges were ridiculously hard to beat without upgrading the bikes, which felt like an unfair or fake difficulty spike, but this was patched in the first update, which relaxed the expectations during the first three chapters, as before it felt like once the bikes were fully upgraded, the challenges became much more achievable.

Screenshot for Moto Racer 4 on PlayStation 4

Speed is the key here, to the point where even Sonic the Hedgehog would be proud. This has some super twitchy and responsive controls that once mastered are immensely satisfying. After all, who doesn't love nailing a quick hairpin bend? Moto Racer 4, like MotorStorm, has a quick charging boost system that is essential to master. It is almost impossible to beat time trials without it; for example, while learning the controls during this review, it led to failing a time trial twice by less than a second magically and, suddenly, the controls clicked and the time limits became much more achievable. The track design is well thought out, and offers challenging corners and plenty of obstacles without deliberately blocking the player with things like cars.


 
There is also a much-needed split screen mode; somewhat of a dying trend in racers, the games that benefit from them the most. It's so pleasing to be able to sit down with a friend and just laugh it up over a race. The game runs well in split-screen and it feels well balanced, overall. As well as split-screen, there is also an online mode that supports many more players and offers more longevity. Both of these modes give a new meaning to the violent side of the game... It is great fun to simply ram and shove each other around on the courses, especially with the high volume of incoming traffic.

Screenshot for Moto Racer 4 on PlayStation 4

On the whole, the presentation is extremely enjoyable. It feels like rather than pushing for visual detail in the engine, the developer has opted for a more streamlined look. It's a sort of semi-cartoony appearance that suits the arcade-y feeling the game sports. One graphical feature that is awesome - Akira level of cool - is the bikes having light trails behind them. It makes slipstreaming feel great! The best part, by far, is how fast everything feels and looks, with motion blur a-plenty, lots of sound, a mostly solid frame-rate, and twitchy controls, all contributing to the Sonic-like speed. Character designs are fairly standard, with each rider wearing "power ranger" style riding gear with subtle differences in some of the characters, like one of them having cat ears on their helmet.

Each character can be picked to play as; each of them has individual stats that are reasonably balanced. Each rider has a nemesis character that has something that rivals them, so speed might be rivalled by boost and control might be rivalled by style, for example. During gameplay, certainly at the start, it makes sense to pick a character centred round control, but as time goes on, it is much more satisfying to play as the speed-based character. The statistics can all be upgraded after each successful challenge, but to avoid unbalancing it mainly targets the primary stat of the character. It's not a deep system but it adds a little bit of depth where other arcade racers might not.

Screenshot for Moto Racer 4 on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

The feeling is all there and Moto Racer 4 does a lot right, but the crazy difficulty spike, and somewhat unpolished visuals drag it down to a degree. The best things about the original, like the sense of speed and the twitchy, responsive controls, are here and they do indeed bring the nostalgic PSone era feeling that this needed. With the help of a plentiful multiplayer option, and fun challenges, like the aforementioned slaloms, there is plenty on offer for those willing to take the plunge. It's a challenging romp that sets out with a single goal and definitely achieves it with a lot of gusto and its tongue firmly in its cheek.

Developer

Microids

Publisher

Anuman Interactive SA

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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