It has been a while since I tried out one of Milestone S.r.l.’s bike racing games, so it seems I was due to taste the asphalt again. My break from the series left me a little worried about jumping back in, since I was a rather terrible driver in previous entries to begin with.

Thankfully, there’s some new hand-holding options in MotoGP 24 that made the game accessible to my uncoordinated self. I realize many of the series’ followers will immediately jump into harder difficulties, but it was nice to be competitive in races from the beginning and slowly bring the difficulty up as I improved. In previous entries, I easily became frustrated by the high barrier of entry, and I wish these options had been more fully realized before. I got to go deeper with MotoGP 24 than I have with any previous Milestone S.r.l. game.

Not much has changed in the presentation for MotoGP 24, but there have been significant improvements to the game’s accessibility and AI. In theory, the AI riders will adapt to the player’s skill levels to keep matches competitive. The marketing information is quick to point out that this is not the infamous “rubber-band AI” of many sports games, but even if that may be technically true, the end result is indistinguishable. On the one hand it did mean I could keep up with the AI riders in my first races — almost insultingly so, like the kid who is jogging in place to let you catch up to them.

Additionally, the new MotoGP Stewards system does actually result in your AI opponents getting punished for doing things like cutting corners, which they could previously get away with. On the other hand, at higher difficulties the AI basically cheats outright in order to keep up with you when you’re winning — just not in any ways that trigger the Stewards system. Perhaps counter-intuitively, I often felt like the better I got at the game, the harder it became to actually place in the standings — and not in an organic way, such as when you go up into a higher racing bracket. That said, I think the pluses far out-weigh the negatives on this one.

As with previous entries, MotoGP 24 takes a minimalist approach to presentation. There’s commentary between races and before starting, but once the race begins it’s just you and the engine noise. There’s more variety to that noise this year, with a deeper range of pitch and tone that accompanies you throttling up or braking, but even, so the noise quickly drops into the background. Unburdened by things like commentary or background music, this can result in entering an almost zen-like state at times, though with the AI always on your heels it can be difficult to maintain that for any length of time. I often put Spotify on in the background to add a little variety to the sound of the engines, but I suspect true racing fans will enjoy the purity of the experience provided here.

As I mentioned briefly, MotoGP 24 was a lot more accessible to me than previous entries. I will lead with a caveat here that since I did not play MotoGP 23, I do not know how much of this is new to MotoGP 24 specifically, and how much came from last year’s entry. There are the AI changes I mentioned above, and they also did a good job explaining how to customize your bike’s performance between races this time around.

For newbie accessibility, the game offers a customizable set of assists for riders. Even at my most raw, I found the easiest settings to be too generous. Essentially it boiled down to me holding the throttle and leaning in the general direction of the turns, while the game took care of everything else. By the same token, the settings of the next lowest preset resulted in me frequently sliding gracefully across the track… without my bike. Fortunately, there are a lot of options that can be tuned individually, and it only took two or three races for me to zero in what worked for me. I slowly crept the settings up as I felt more confident in my abilities, and by the time I sat down to write this the settings were at a higher difficulty than the one that sent me sliding across the asphalt previously.

For long-time MotoGP fans there is one new feature that will garner a lot of attention. Namely, the oft-requested ability to change your team during the career mode in the game. In previous years you were locked in to whatever team you chose at the beginning, but now, at certain points, you can switch. Your opponents can also switch, and this adds a surprising amount of depth to the career mode.

The only thing I can say about the multiplayer mode is that I spent the entire time getting lapped by far superior riders. Finding games wasn’t difficult, and there seems to be a good community in place already. That said, I think it will be a very, very long time before I feel up to trying my hand at those races.

MotoGP 24 Review Final Thoughts:

Taking a break from MotoGP last year was a good call for me. Not because I thought MotoGP 23 was going to be a bad game, but because taking a step back from the series let me approach it fresh this year.

For annual release titles it can often be difficult to see the incremental changes. As such, I can tell that MotoGP 24 is an overall improvement in just about every way that matters from MotoGP 22 and before. The bike handling feels better, and the game is more accessible to novice riders like me, but not in a way that prevents us from improving. The AI improvements come with both pluses and minuses, but I think the overall result is a net gain for players who want an engaging experience. The ability to change race teams in career is a shockingly big move that adjusts how the entire mode feels, in a good way. Frankly, MotoGP 24 is the best the series has been so far, and, if they can build on this, then next year will be even better.