[Review] MotoGP 20 – Nintendo Switch

Written by Kieran Fifield
  • Developer: Milestone SLR
  • Publisher: Milestone SLR
  • Release Date: 23/04/2020
  • Price: £39.99 / $39.99
  • Review code provided by Milestone SLR

Introducing: MotoGP 20 Nintendo Switch Review

MotoGP 20 arrives on the Nintendo Switch family of systems with the aim of bringing high-octane motorcycle racing to the handheld audience. At least, I assume that’s the goal as if you wanted a more opulent experience, you would surely have to pick this title up on one of the dedicated home consoles.

What developers Milestone SLR have achieved with the Nintendo Switch version is admirable, and despite some overriding issues which we will explore later, the experience is perfectly amicable.

Hello Moto!

Firstly, and absolutely foremost, the game runs very smoothly indeed, providing a solid frame rate that holds everything together nicely, even when approaching corners at almost 100 /mph. That being said, the hand off for such fluid gameplay is delivered via the graphical fidelity. MotoGP 20 is acceptable in docked mode, however it becomes quickly apparent when playing in handheld just how much has been sacrificed. Textures take the biggest hit and it can be jarring just how grainy everything looks when playing in handheld. I tested this title on my launch day Switch, as well as my brand new Switch Lite and found both to be somewhat unkempt.

Obviously performance is paramount in a title such as MotoGP 20 and the loss of resolution makes sense if it means delivering seamless performance, however, there is no escaping just how inferior handheld is, not only compared to the stay at home consoles, but even to docked mode.

Moving past this particular issue, MotoGP 20 suffers from a few more little niggles which all prove detrimental to the overall enjoyment provided. The lack of any kind of tutorial section made the first hour seem like a real slog as I essentially learned on the job how to control an insatiably fast two-wheeled, high performance racing machine. The implementation of HD rumble is a nice touch, with the Joy Con reacting to your rider going off track or traversing bumpy terrain, unfortunately it’s a little wild at times and whilst playing at night, I often found that the noise that the rumble created overpowered the game’s audio. Try as I might, I couldn’t find an option to lower the intensity of the rumble.

Moto-ing on

Another aspect that made MotoGP 20 feels like a bit of a slog was the lacklustre commentary. When paired with a lack of ambience, which is halfheartedly provided by some light background music or the sounds of nature, something to fill the void that the monotony of five long laps would’ve been greatly appreciated.

On the track, thankfully, the game comes to life and the actual racing aspect is rather quite enjoyable. Accelerating in handled with the ZR trigger feels natural. Cruising around real life locations is a sheer joy that, can feel a little cumbersome and contrived at first, offers a fabulous feeling of freedom once the mechanics are mastered. Traversing the tracks via the on-screen marked racing line helps amateurs and experts alike to keep up with the pace and praise must be given to the developers for the excellence of the A.I. as there are no givens here and every place is earned. Every overtake feels like a well earned, hard fought tactical battle.

Moto Modes

MotoGP 20 has a rather in-depth career mode that can offer you an entry level position into one of MotoGP’s three leagues. If you choose to jump both feet in, the going will be tough but if you opt for the third tier of Motorcycle racing’s pyramid from the outlet, not only will you stand more of a chance at victory, you’ll also experience an intricate level of progression that will further your enjoyment of Moto GP 2020. The customisation options on hand are fairly extensive too and depending on who you opt to sign with, more and more aesthetic options come into play, providing ample room to kit your racer out however you so desire.

Away from the career mode, there is also an Historic Moments mode that sees you take to the track to complete daily tasks from the pages of, well you might have guessed, history. Being more of a Formula One kind of guy, I couldn’t report on how accurate these events were but they added yet even greater value to the package, offering daily content. Utilising a risk/reward structure, there are three difficulties to choose from, with the reward being greater for completing one of the more heinous historical tasks.

A quick mode option allows you to jump straight onto the saddle and participate in either a Grand Prix, Championship or Time Trial, should you wish to not lose hours and days to the demands of MotoGP 20’s career mode. A local mode allows you to create or join lobbies and race it out with friends, however it highlights a huge flaw as there is no online option and so any multiplayer racing must be between IRL friends and not those of a digital persuasion.

Creation, Moto style

The aforementioned customisation options really are quite something, with options to amend everything and anything from riders to your helmet, all the while creating custom stickers for your gear. The customisation tool for creating stickers offers a wide array of shapes, letters and colours to carefully craft your dream logo however, it is incredibly clunky in execution as you have to scroll between options with the L and R bumpers. Unfortunately, it’s only one way traffic and so if you choose an item from the far right side and want to add something else from the same group, say letters of matching font, you’ll have to navigate from left to right after inputting every single character. Utilisation of the Nintendo Switch’s touchscreen capabilities would irrefutably make the process a lot more user friendly.

That being said, with the possibility to lay 1000 layers on a single logo, the creativity provided is impressive and I’m sure far more creative folk that this humble scribe will put together some truly imaginative designs.

The final lap

MotoGP 20 is an impressive motorcycle racing simulator with enough content to keep you entertained, if of course this is something you are passionate about. Some immersion problems means that the cumulative experience is marred somewhat, but for fans of the genre who want to play in handheld mode there is enough here to provide ample entertainment. In the current climate however, if you can experience MotoGP 20 on an alternate console, the extra grunt available will likely elevate this title exponentially.

The creation tools are an accomplishment in their own right and will likely add hours and hours of game playtime to all who attempt to show their artistic side.

Pros

  • Smooth on track action
  • Intricate layers of customisation
  • Delightful gameplay, once mastered

Cons

  • Incredibly rough around the edges
  • Audio design is lacking
  • Difficult to master

Verdict
MotoGP 20 provides a smooth racing sim, that unfortunately has to make a lot of sacrifices to provide such silky on-track action. The customisation options on hand are impressive, though.
3/5

1 thought on “[Review] MotoGP 20 – Nintendo Switch

  1. Foo says:

    Spot on review; I downloaded the game on launch day and am now a 5 or races into a Moto3 career; loving it so far.

    But the lack of multiplayer online is (sadly) a huge flaw, especially considering how heavily marketed this is for other platforms like PS4; the Switch has been left out for no good reason. Unless this is corrected in an update, this may well prove to be the undoing of the game.

    And you’re so right about the vibration; even on lowest setting it can be quite jarring!

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