When I first laid my eyes on Motorcycle Club I figured it would go one of two ways; either an addicting arcade racer or a two-wheeled version of Forza. It turns out the game falls somewhere in between. While too clunky and stiff to be an arcade title and too buggy and unpolished to be a realistic racer in the same league as Forza, Motorcycle Club falls short of being anything other than what feels like an unfinished, unrealized, and under-developed mishmash of ideas.
As soon as you start, the game shows off its unique feature of being able to swap motorcycle types mid-race, allowing the player to change between a roadster, super-bike, and a custom, all with the press of either R1 or L1. While this sounds like an interesting idea in theory, the game itself lacks any strategic use once you realize that no matter the terrain or path, you are best to just stick with the super-bike. This renders the game’s main feature more or less cosmetic.
The gameplay itself feels clunky and unfinished. The movement of the riders looks and feels robotic in nature, with little to no lean animation shown when taking turns. Motorcycle Club feels more like a game from the early 2000s rather than a next gen title. You’ll constantly find yourself hitting corners and walls simply because you forgot your driver has the ability to turn on a dime despite what speed he may be traveling at.
The main campaign consists of the standard long and short races, and as long as you stick with the best bike, aka the super-bike, rather than changing to literally any other class of cycle, ever, you’ll find yourself blazing past the competition with ease. While the tracks do offer the ability to flip them, they all end up feeling about the same regardless. Even the shorter tracks feel a bit too long when compared to the normal length we’ve come to expect from racing titles.
The biggest challenge to worry about is the AI, but not for its racing skill, but rather for its unflinching ability to smack into you nearly every thirty seconds. Racing against the AI truly feels like I’m playing against my seven year old cousin from back in my Mario Kart days, so I suppose that is some sort of achievement in itself.
Luckily if this simulation of annoying competitors isn’t good enough for you, there is an online multiplayer option, but good luck finding any other players. I spent a good hour or so sitting in my own created room, since no other games could be found, contemplating perpetual motion and the meaning of life while I waiting for someone, anyone, to save me from this purgatory. I’m not sure if this is a matchmaking issue or the fact that many people don’t have the game, but unless you have a friend to play with, don’t expect much in terms of online multiplayer.
The game does add mid-race challenges in an attempt to keep things fresh, such as doing a wheelie for so many meters or hitting a jump so many times per race. These, as you can imagine, grow old fast.
The ‘club’ section of the game feels insanely under-developed. Only allowing for a few custom colours, pre-made logos and patterns, your club feels impersonalised and underwhelming. You aren’t even given the option to invite your online friends to join your club. Seeing how this is the name of the game, it is pretty disappointing.
Visually the game looks dated. While the game isn’t ugly per se, it just looks muddy and bland. With blurry textures abound, it just feels as if this doesn’t belong on a current gen console. The main menu does however look stylish and creative, even going as far as actually looking pretty nice. Set inside a garage with different areas retaining to different menu screens, it has great lighting and atmosphere. The same cannot be said for the actual tracks, which look barren and blocky. While it’s not the worst looking game in the PS4 catalogue, it’s just not something you’d want to show your friends as an example of the console’s power.
Sound design is something that is extremely important in a racing title. Some would say the sound of a motorcycle engine is one of the best mechanical sounds known to man. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of sonics in this title must have mistakenly swapped them for that of a tin can in a blender. I originally had my surround-sound on and ready, but soon after starting the race and twisting my face into a harsh grimace, I turned off my stereo system in fear of the neighbours calling the police for ear drum violations.
The music is about as generic as it gets. If you love constant double-bass pedals and random guitar riffs, then look no further, this is the game for you. If you want catchy tunes you can listen to for hours on end while you race, then … use a custom soundtrack. Needless to say, the sound design in this game leaves something to be desired.
In the end, Motorcycle Club feels like a racing title that just wasn’t given the development time it needed. Clunky and unpolished, the game presents a few new and interesting ideas that just do not flesh out. With a bit more time and re-working, the title could have been what I, and more than likely everyone else, was hoping for.