13 October 2016 (released)
21 November 2016
It’s difficult for developers to created original and inspiring racing games. Forza Horizon 3 proved to be one of the finest racing games of our time, an achievement in flawless design and execution but remain just a racing game built to greatness. But Moto Racer 4 aims to deliver a new and dynamic experience for the racing genre. Well after a 15 year hiatus, can it?
What Moto Racer 4 sets out to do like many series or resurrected franchises is to captivate and engage players with gripping dynamics and innovated gameplay elements. On the outside, we get a formulated motorcycle racing game that spreads across a vast campaign with different game modes and perks to keep you invested. Players will play through a legion of modes in order to acquire style points which in return will allows players to purchase new upgrades and cosmetics for their racers. There's a decent amount of content for players to unlock and play with, including new racers, bikes, perks and upgrades.
On the outside this is a simple but fun racer, but what makes it more interesting compared to others is a neat little feature that really engages the player. Moto Racer 4’s most interesting dynamic allows players to gamble on their own experience and whether they succeed in the way they hoped for. At the start of each event, players will choose from a list of actions that determines how well they do, such as finishing a race in first place or lasting for a certain amount of time in a survival run. This compels the players into challenging themselves and taking the higher risks to reap the greater rewards.
Players will indeed feel the urge to push themselves further and take those agonising risks for those all-important upgrade points and special rewards. This is where the game should earn respect from avid racing fans over many other titles in the genre. Yet the most compelling feature in Moto Racer 4 is a blessing and the game’s biggest curse. As mention you need to take the higher risks in order to gain those points and to even just progress further into the campaign, this is the drawback. While failing challenges or just getting your bet wrong results in failure and at times it can be too crushing. When you fail, you lose how many points you set yourself to gain if you won.
But Moto Racer 4 does indeed help you back onto your feet if you decide to pursue the challenge and those rewards. If you lose three stars in a previous attempt but in the next game bet just one star and win, the negative points are reset and you’ll end up in the positive with the amount you took the bet for. This tough approach to failure wouldn’t be such a problem until you notice that Moto Racer 4 decides to bump up the difficulty quite a bit if you decide to take the highest bet. NPCs will become way more aggressive and this does really throw off the balance and all fairness from the game. There are also certain types of bets that just seem needlessly placed or ill thought-out.
Best example I can offer is this, there’s an elimination mode where if you’re in last place during a race after a certain time limit, you’re out. So you can bet whether the time limit it 40, 35 or 30 seconds, but it seems more logical to have the timer set as low as possible as you can pretty much ace your way through to first place and stay there, providing it’s not a for prolonged time. That’s just me but I feel it makes more sense to think of a different approach with certain challenges as they’re not constructed well enough to make an engaging or fair challenge.
But it’s overall how it holds you back so aggressively while progressing that being held up and retrying again and again is just an absolute drag. Sadly this could be balanced out if the campaign branched out more or if the game just progressively and naturally made the game difficult instead of just making it tough right from the bat.
Overall Moto Racer 4 is trying to be an engaging racing experience and in many respects it is but while it does implement this difficulty/betting feature well. It can restrict and massively hold back player progression. But overall it’s an enjoyable racer and if you can bare the agonising sense of challenge at times, you’ll engage and invest into this neat little racer rather well.
+ Neat gambling mechanic to make this an interesting racer
+ Looks and handles good
- The difficulty spikes are annoying
- Difficulty spikes make this gambling feature a tedious affair
- Progression is awfully slow and dire
A PS4 copy of Moto Racer 4 was provided by the publisher for the purpose of this review