Valentino Rossi: The Game (PlayStation 4) Review

By Tomas Barry 29.05.2017

Review for Valentino Rossi: The Game on PlayStation 4

There's no doubt that nobody pumps out more racing titles than Milestone. Cubed3 has examined both the good and the bad. Many of the latter were rushed titles with harsh time restrictions imposed, such as the likes of WRC 5 and Ride, whereas the best have usually been projects given room to breathe. Sebastien Loeb Rally Evo certainly comes to mind at this end of the spectrum, which was another title that seemed to use the influence of a legendary driver to produce something successful. Which category, then, does Valentino Rossi: The Game fall into, and does it do justice to the seven-time Moto GP champion?

Considering that Ride 2 was released just four months later, it would probably be fair to acknowledge that Valentino Rossi: The Game never quite got the breathing space it needed to do justice to its namesake. Like many of Milestone's other racing projects, the main issues here have little to do with content levels (which are very impressive once more) and are much more to do with the core gameplay experience.

Screenshot for Valentino Rossi: The Game on PlayStation 4

The host of modes to get stuck into - a stereotypical career experience, the usual multiplayer options, as well as the standout feature, which is a mode celebrating Rossi's career with twenty of his most memorable races that comes complete with insightful commentary and course advice from the man himself - are all let down by something very crucial. Ultimately, it's the gameplay experience itself that doesn't really fulfil its side of the bargain.

This is unfortunate to say the least, because the title could be totally different if so many core aspects didn't let it down. The first and most glaring issue with Valentino Rossi: The Game is its rather mind-boggling physics engine, which does its best to assert a simulative element of detail, only for that to come crashing down at the moments it should really prove itself to be class. There's no explanation for the way you can mow through fellow drivers with no repercussions, and contact seems to be a little dodgy and certainly not very convincing.

Screenshot for Valentino Rossi: The Game on PlayStation 4

The second problem also relates back to these fundamentals. The sense of speed really isn't quite right, which doesn't help the sense of immersion and concentration, nor develop the ability to anticipate and navigate drivers. The way the bike slows down approaching a tight turn just doesn't feel quite right, leading to a few frustrating wobbles deep into a race when drivers should be in the zone. There's a possibility this is something to with focal point of view or frames per second, both of which are sticking points for driving sims, but that's up to Milestone to decide upon. The balance just doesn't seem to be quite right, with a weird sense of perspective and a less than smooth FPS, with some frames dropped at taxing times. These frustrations all amount to even more because it's so difficult to read other signs, such as engine and tyre noise. In this sense, then, the core gameplay, surprisingly, feels a little devoid of tender loving care.

Most other immersive aspects of the game are also quite dull and leave something to be desired, which also detracts from the driving experience. The sound seems lifeless, with too many unrealistic droning engine tones on track. There's no discernible difference in terms of the engine noise between bikes either, and overall that side of things falls short of driving game standards today. There's also something very washed-out about the visuals, particularly the saturation and colour tones of some of the smaller details players will spot occasionally, like tree foliage off to the side of the track.

Screenshot for Valentino Rossi: The Game on PlayStation 4

There is a sense, then, that perhaps this title was rushed because there was a gap in the market. With very little competition, if any at all, pushing out something solid enough, but overall perhaps fairly average, will at least feed the hungry Moto GP fans. However, there's no denying that this game could have been ten times better with all the same modes, tracks and content intact if only Milestone had dedicated a much bigger chunk of their time to the core experience. Since they've produced so many games under licence that have these defects, there's a sense of broken record syndrome kicking in. However, in their defence, it must be said once more, Milestone under no restrictions doesn't just make good racing games - they're capable of making excellent ones. Valentino Rossi: The Game can, however, be filed under the 'missed opportunity' category, like so many of its former projects. This is a shame.

That said, it's clear that Valentino's influence, just like Sebastien Loeb's on his project, has transmitted itself extremely well. The Rossi Experience mode is no doubt a memorable one for anyone who wishes to trace the span of his illustrious career. The content and videos that players are treated to whilst playing through these races really do provide a very personal window into his racing career. In this one sense, then, Valentino Rossi: The Game is a success. Milestone certainly seems to have an appreciation and skill at interacting with iconic drivers and extrapolating their racing memories into very accessible virtual terms. This seems like something they should draw upon more in the future, especially as it's a way to produce more distinctive racing titles.

Screenshot for Valentino Rossi: The Game on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

5/10
Rated 5 out of 10

Average

Admittedly, there is plenty of single-player content for motor racing enthusiasts to get stuck into here. However, there's no doubt that anyone who plays driving games with four wheels will probably impose a higher measure of quality on this experience. Far too many of the core gameplay elements let Valentino Rossi: The Game down, which results in something that can be enjoyed to an extent, but should also be viewed as a disappointment by anyone who sees the big picture. It's certainly not terrible, it's just that Milestone can do so much better - and has done in the past. While it's a regularly-cited criticism that they seem to pump out plenty of racing games with low average standards, particularly with all the Moto GP experience they already have under their belt, there was no good reason why this couldn't have been their best yet. That is, except for the fact that Ride 2 was on its way within four or five months. Most racing developers would have seen that as a scheduling conflict.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Driving

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10

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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