MotoGP 22 Review

Richard Walker

There's an inherent degree of romance that comes with the motorcycle. The freedom of the open road, the roar of the engine as you twist the throttle in your leather-clad hand, the ability to weave through traffic with impunity. And deliver pizzas. Maybe not so much that last one. Regrettably, you won't find a pizza delivery mode in MotoGP 22, but what you will find is a highly demanding and uncompromisingly realistic motorbike racing sim, which can seem like it makes little concession to newcomers. It's a racing experience that's worth sinking time into and learning its intricacies.

Leeeeean in to it.

From the off, you're presented with a selection of difficulty options, determining the length of races, the challenge posed by AI, and the various assists you can switch on to make the two-wheeled shenanigans that little more palatable if you're just starting out or, perhaps, returning to the MotoGP series after a hiatus. Even with every assist under the sun, including the ideal racing line, trajectory, and optimum braking points projected onto the track, it takes some time for MotoGP 22 to click, but once the penny drops, it's great.

If, like me, it's been a long time since you last played a bike-racing sim, or you've subsisted solely on car-based racing games, then MotoGP 22 proves to be remarkably hard work. Essentially, your brain needs to be rewired, as you figure out when to apply the brakes, how to best control the throttle, and lean into a curve without coming a cropper and flying out of the saddle like a ragdoll. Crashes are suitably spectacular, as your rider goes rolling through gravel, but getting back on track is only ever a short rewind away. And you can rewind as much as you like during a race, which is wonderful, and a great way for rookies to gradually gain some sort of foothold.

It's through being able to freely rewind again and again that you can get your riding technique down, learn each circuit, and figure out exactly when to slow down and begin leaning into a corner. While MotoGP 22 has no shortage of basic and advanced tutorials, covering every aspect of the game, having the option to rewind and retry a track section or a failed overtaking manoeuvre is perhaps the game's best learning tool. If you still feel like you're coming up short on the track, however, the MotoGP Academy offers various challenges to complete, ensuring you're up to speed on every one of the game's elements, right down to the most granular systems.

Individual Grand Prix events, Championships, Time Trials, and online races are a great way to polish your skills, but, as ever, the crux of MotoGP 22 lies in the Career Mode, which is as in-depth and detailed as you'd expect. You can start out as a rider in the Moto3 or Moto2 Championships, if you're not quite ready for the unbridled horsepower of the MotoGP Championship; then, set about choosing a team to ride for, assigning staff to various departments, developing new parts for your bike, and getting down into the weeds with the range of other career minutiae.

Career Mode is great and all, but if you're not all that jazzed for another run at a full season, what with all the (optional) qualifying and practice rounds, as well as the other fiddly details, then the new, slightly clumsily named 'NINE Season 2009' mode is a raw and compelling alternative, recounting the events of one of MotoGP's most tumultuous years. Framed by archival documentary footage, NINE Season 2009 is MotoGP 22's best mode by far, placing you in the thick of the drama as legendary riders like Valentino Rossi, Casey Stoner, Dani Pedrosa, and Jorge Lorenzo, as they battle for the championship.

Its relatively bitesize, objective-driven races are a perfect, immediate shot of adrenaline, the fantastic, insightfully narrated documentary footage – pieced together by veteran motorsport documentary filmmaker Mark Neale - interspersed between events lending it propulsion and energy. Even if you know bugger all about the 2009 MotoGP season, you'll get a kick out of the NINE mode – and unlock a bunch of bonus liveries for your efforts. Career Mode is deep and well presented, but NINE eclipses it for sheer, instant gratification.

Racing in the rain is HELL.

Despite the excellent NINE Season 2009 mode, a thorough and comprehensive Career Mode, a wealth of features, customisation options, and solid online offering, as well as local 2-player split-screen, MotoGP 22's high barrier to entry can initially be quite off-putting. Vehemently realistic handling and physics, alongside mechanics like tyre wear, fuel levels, brake temperatures, and so on, only compound that sense of nigh-impenetrable difficulty. Of course, if you're already well versed in the complexities of MotoGP, this isn't going to be a problem.

Though not the most welcoming or accessible racing game to newcomers, MotoGP 22 is certainly one of the most rewarding, paying off perseverance in spades. Its sense of speed is superb, its handling is tight yet exacting, and there are few racing experiences as unapologetically pure. This proves to be a good thing, and, as such, it's hard not to heartily recommend giving MotoGP 22 a fair shake.

MotoGP 22

Tough to get into at first, MotoGP 22 soon starts to pay dividends once you get the hang of its tricky handling and various nuances. The superb 'NINE Season 2009' mode, meanwhile, is worth the price of admission alone.

Form widget

Growling motorcycles, typically grandiose music on the menus. Standard stuff. On-track, it can feel a little sterile, aurally speaking.


Meticulously rendered bikes with all the official liveries and stuff. The wealth of racing venues, like Laguna Seca, Silverstone, and the like, all look nice enough. Rain-slicked surfaces look lovely.


Tricky to get to grips with, MotoGP 22 eventually proves to be a realistic racing sim that rewards persistence. Well worth sticking with.


The usual Career Mode, single race options, and online gubbins is joined by the new 'NINE Season 2009' mode, which is great. Polished and neatly presented.


A great deal of the list is devoted to chalking up a win on each track venue, while others are connected to Career Mode and NINE wins. Serviceable.

Game navigation