Milestone is back with their latest release in the racing genre. This time around they are returning to the two-wheeled variety with Valentino Rossi: The Game
. The game is split into two parts. One side offers the standard career mode that you’d expect to find in an officially licensed MotoGP
title; the second is dedicated to one of the sport’s most iconic riders, Valentino Rossi, allowing you to relive some of the best moments from his career.
The problem with many career modes in officially licensed racing titles is that they can quickly become repetitive for anyone who isn’t a massive fan of the sport in real life. You normally start at the bottom by joining smaller and less powerful teams, or have to race in lower classes of the sport. Gradually you work your way up to the top over a number of seasons. By that point (usually the point at which you wished you were at the start) you can already be dozens of hours into the game and its appeal can be wearing a little thin.
Thankfully, that’s not the case with Valentino Rossi: The Game
due to a number of new additions to the MotoGP
franchise that make the career a lot less predictable. The first thing you will notice is that the action isn’t confined to circuit racing, or even motorcycles. Flat track races, rally car events and drifting challenges all appear throughout the course of a season, with each race type feeling and handling completely differently, meaning that you’ll avoid being in the situation where your brain slips into autopilot and you effortlessly complete race after race.
The career mode also offers a number of transfer periods in which you can switch between the different teams and classes depending on your reputation at the time. At the start you are limited to the less powerful Moto3 teams, but if you do well enough in races then you can quickly progress to Moto2 and MotoGP teams that each handle differently due to the increased power on offer.
Another significant inclusion is the use of RPG elements that see your rider slowly improve skills over time, changing the way that you handle the bike the further into the game that you progress. While playing, the gradual changes don’t feel like they add up too much, but if you switch from a leveled up rider to a new one, you can actually feel the difference in your fingers when braking into a corner and accelerating out of it.
The second part of Valentino Rossi: The Game
’s single-player offering is the Rossi Experience. Here you can use the Rossipedia to take a look at the various liveries worn by the legend throughout his career, and go head to head with ‘The Doctor’ in timed races across each of the game’s circuits. The standout mode, however, is the collection of 20 historic events that task you with replicating 20 accomplishments that span the star’s career, with each one being introduced by a video interview that gives some insight into the importance of each event.
Outside of the single-player game modes, split screen allows you to race with a friend locally and there are a number of multiplayer options available. You can complete in mini championships, take part in single races across each class and even take part in flat track races, drift events and rallies. Unfortunately, matchmaking can take some time due to a lack of available players, with some race types being dead since release.
Being a simulation, the handling in Valentino Rossi: The Game
can be extremely unforgiving with players needing to factor in front and rear braking, weight distribution, and how much throttle to use on the winding tracks. With no driving aids applied it can be a challenge to remain seated on the bike, but thankfully there is a wide selection of customisation options available that can be tweaked in order to get the right experience.
Off the track, some of the issues that have hampered previous Milestone releases are still present. Visually the game has some extremely drab backdrops with textures and lighting looking outdated when compared to other racing titles. Loading times are occasionally excessively long, too. Most importantly, framerate issues can genuinely hinder the experience. For the most part it’s a pretty smooth ride (although 60 frames per second would be a welcome upgrade), but there are still occasions when the frame rate drops alarmingly with very little reason to do so. It’s a genuine shame that despite getting so much right, Milestone still can’t polish some of the essentials in Valentino Rossi: The Game
The game’s achievement list does a good job of asking players to try the various game modes on offer within the game, with achievements available in career mode, Rossi events and multiplayer. Most players will unlock the majority just through playing the game, but there are others such as An apple a day…
that may require some practice. At the time of writing three achievements for simply racing a set number of miles in-game appear to be bugged, with very few people unlocking them (one still showing as no one earning it) despite the number of miles needed being relatively low.
SummaryValentino Rossi: The Game
is a solid racing game that offers more content than any of the previous releases in the series. The single-player offering is vastly improved thanks to a much deeper, personal and varied career mode and the introduction of the Valentino Rossi experience gives players a genuine insight into one of the sport’s most iconic riders. It’s just a shame that the game’s engine can’t quite keep up the pace with all of Milestone’s other improvements.
- Deeper and more personal career mode
- Rossi Experience gives insight into one of sport's greats
- Different racing disciplines included
- Lots of content
- Aging visuals
- Framerate drops
The reviewer spent 18 hours racing through the game's single-player content, learning more about one of the sport's most iconic riders, earning 25 of the 35 available achievements. Unfortunately he also spent a lot of time searching for online races. This Xbox One copy of the game was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review.