MotoGP 20 (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Josh Di Falco 12.05.2021

Review for MotoGP 20 on Nintendo Switch

MotoGP 20 has raced onto Nintendo Switch, courtesy of Milestone, and this year's iteration boasts the current lineup of riders and tracks. With a bevy of modes available, from a deep career mode that promises to be an immersive experience, and historic races designed to bring riders back to the racing on a daily basis for new rewards, let's see where exactly MotoGP 20 sits on this system. The main problem with previous iterations has been how niche these games have been and how unintuitive it has been with getting new riders into the experience - so let's see if this year's iteration has made the adjustments to become more user-friendly.

Unfortunately, the same old issues that have plagued previous titles are back to once again prove troublesome for MotoGP 20. Fans of the franchise with vast experience and a pool of knowledge with MotoGP will feel right at home here, whereas newcomers trying to discover whether they'll be able to slot right in will have a bit of a steep learning curve to compete against. Oddly enough, the riding mechanics are actually quite easy to pick up and learn here - it's all the bells and whistles that come accompanied with the mechanics that are incorporated into career mode that provides the most trouble for the inexperienced. Before jumping into the career mode, it's important to remember that unlike some other riding titles, MotoGP 20 is a simulator designed to emulate or be as realistic as possible to the real sport. This means the movement of the bike is heavy, rigid and not as flexible with turning corners as TT Isle of Man 2 for example. These are not arcade bikes that will zip around corners - so respect has to be given for slowing down and turning into the corners, while maximising speed out of the corners. For a simulation experience, the controls feel good and the bike is responsive to the various turns and nudges on the left stick.

Fortunately, there are a bunch of riding aids and guides that are available for those who are willing to apply themselves to the conditions of MotoGP 20, and these can be turned off at anytime as well as the confidence grows. Experienced veterans can turn these off from the outset and jump straight in, giving themselves a bit more of a challenge. Riding aids can be in the form of automatic brakes that kick in when the bike should start braking, or driving guides that specify where the best way to take a corner should be, or even in the form of the handy 'rewind' feature that can be used to roll back time to rectify a wrong turn or an accident that could've been avoided. Again - these things don't break the immersion or the experience, and they are there for those who need them, while they can be turned off by those who would rather the extra challenge of nailing a race on the first try.

Screenshot for MotoGP 20 on Nintendo Switch

The big beefy mode in MotoGP 20 is Career Mode - from creating a rider's appearance to outfitting their attire, to hiring a team comprising of an agent, researchers and support staff that are ultimately there to help the rider progress through their career. Choose a difficulty, select which league to start in, from Moto3 to MotoGP and begin reaching those rider goals and craft a nice and lengthy career. The agent is designed to reach out and find new sponsorship deals which then enable the rider to earn credits upon reaching sponsor goals - which in turn then enable them to hire better support staff who can then in turn be used to research new upgrades and developments on the R&D skill tree. Career mode actually has quite a bit of stuff going on in here that provides a fun managerial experience outside of the straight-shoot racing elements.

Where Career Mode fails is once again, in the lack of a tutorial. Brand new riders are thrust with a bunch of information and technical jargon that aren't properly explained. For those who are technically-minded when it comes to MotoGP bikes, then this is probably a non-issue. However for those with low-experience who are wondering whether MotoGP 20 is the right time to jump in, Career Mode can be quite tricky to get going. While upgrading parts on the skill tree can improve the performance of the bike, the game does a horrible job of explaining what each component or skill upgrade actually does to the bike, without becoming a linguistical nightmare for those who aren't adjusted to the jargon of what it means to upgrade the temperature of the exhaust gases, or the fluid dynamics or whether improving the "torsional rigidity" of the bike is worth it. It's a shame really, because other riding titles like Ride 4 have done a fantastic job of breaking down the technical jargon for those without a clue as to what impacts what, and unfortunately MotoGP 20 doesn't seem to really care.

Screenshot for MotoGP 20 on Nintendo Switch

Once it becomes time for the next big event, the weekend can be experienced in full or part-thereof. Friday's consist of 2 Free Practice (FP) periods, Saturday consists of 2 more FP's and 2 Qualifiers while Sunday has the Warm Up followed by the Race. Performing all of these activities will grant plenty of experience and practice on the track so that come race time, the rider is well-equipped to face any and all challenges. Or for those who want to power through, riders can skip straight to the race and begin at the back of the grid after foregoing the Qualifiers. For those who jump into the entire race weekend, tyre management to ensure that the tyres are preserved for race day has to be taken into account - so ensure that good tyres aren't destroyed too early in the weekend.

Outside of Career Mode, there is the fun Historic Mode which acts as a "daily challenge" feature that generates 3 random challenges to achieve each day, with pre-modified settings for the races. Doing these net in-game currency which can then be used to purchase historic riders and bikes. This is a clever way of appealing to those who love to "collect 'em all" by giving them a long-term goal to strive for, all the while adding new riders and bikes to the mix via updates until the next MotoGP title drops. Beyond this, there are offline race modes, while local multiplayer exists for those who wish to race over a local network - despite this, there is no real online option nor is there the ability for local split-screen with a friend, which is a rightful shame, and it's quite bizarre that MotoGP 20 doesn't support either.

Screenshot for MotoGP 20 on Nintendo Switch

Graphically, MotoGP 20 is a fine-looking game, though the lifeless stands, bland detail in the tracks, and unmotivating arenas makes this title look more like an experience from 6 years ago than a 2020 title. The rainy races and the wet tracks are as impressive as this title looks visually, with the water droplets on the screen being a nice touch as well, however beyond that this looks like a port from a PS3 title. Still, riders who are keen to jump into another year of digital GP are probably not going to pass this title on the basis of the visuals. The tracks themselves are so uninspiring, and the stands look less lifelike than the crowds did in the old-school WWF games. While some riders may not care about the lack of immersion from the details that go into the presentation of MotoGP 20, it's so obvious to not ignore.

Screenshot for MotoGP 20 on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

MotoGP 20 is a fine title to play on Nintendo Switch for those who are itching to jump into a digital bike racer. However, MotoGP 20 suffers from the same old troubles that this may only appeal to the hardcore fans who watch the sport religiously as it is. However for those who haven't dabbled in MotoGP 20 up until this point, it's unlikely that this year's iteration is going to move the dial or sway opinions. But for those who do decide to jump into this title, there is a steep learning curve - but once it's overcome, this title can provide plenty of hours of fun, despite some of the visual hurdles and lack of local competitive racing or online modes.

Developer

MileStone

Publisher

MileStone

Genre

Sport

Players

8

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

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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