I’ve been reviewing games for a number of years now, and I don’t think I’ve ever played anything so bad that I’ve written a whole review slamming the game from start to finish. For one, I truly believe that it’s unprofessional to write a piece that just slams everything (though it makes for great click-bait), and second, I believe that even the worst of the worst has SOMETHING that goes right.
That’s the position I find myself in with Motorcycle Club. On the one hand, I can give developer Kylotonn Entertainment some credit for thinking outside the box. Motorcycle racing is a niche genre, and it’s a niche genre that’s basically ruled by sim (MotoGP) or Motocross (MXGP). Despite any issues I may have had with the game, at least I can confidently tip my hat to Kylotonn and say “Bravo for trying something new.” Risks are always dangerous, and in the video game world where publishers see dollar signs in mining the familiar, Motorcycle Club was a big risk.
Unfortunately, it’s a risk that ultimately does not pan out. There’s some arcadey fun to be had with MC, but I spent more of my playthrough thinking “What is happening here?” than “Whoa, this is unique and cool!” For starters, the constant drone of the engine noise made me want to rip my ears off. It’s nonstop, and after about 10 minutes, I ended up just muting the TV altogether. It was a bit too reminiscent of the scene in Dumb and Dumber with the most annoying sound in the world.
MC uses real world licensed bikes which is a nice touch, but all the tracks are fictional. In addition, races are comprised of a very “Wipeout-esque” format, with speed boost laid out across the roads, power ups to be collected, and of course, the trusty “X” button turbo. And then there are the sections of road that are torn up, which significantly slow down your ride. These rough sections of road happen quite often; I’d go so far as to say a good half of any track in the game has these poorly paved segments, which either line one side of the road or the other, or from edge to edge. It almost seems like a way to force you to slow down to artificially lengthen the tracks.
The concept behind this is to pick a bike that has the best attributes to make it through a track. A large road bike might barrell through the rough road better than, say, a MotoGP bike. Or flip that around, perhaps you’re more concerned with speed and feel that you can sacrifice a bit of time on the rough sections of the road since you can make up your time on the smooth stretches. Either way works, or just do what I do: save your speed boost for the rough sections and zip through the smooth ones, and switch your bikes accordingly on the fly (you can switch between three styles with the shoulder button). It’s not rocket surgery, people.
So…what’s up with the “Club” part of Motorcycle Club? Is it a coincidence that it launched relatively close to another “Club” game, Driveclub? Do the two share anything in common? The answer to that is: yes and no. Yes in the sense that you can create/join clubs and issue challenges to rivals clubs. No in that none of the real-time challenges that litter each track in Driveclub are present. While in Driveclub you might be faced with a head-to-head speed challenge or drift challenge at any time, MC doesn’t really use this format of asynchronous multiplayer “burst challenges,” for lack of a better term. In fact, the only thing club-related is just that….you can create and join clubs. It’s not a BAD system, it just isn’t anything to write home about. It’s basically just a glorified clan tag.
Perhaps the best feature of Motorcycle Club is the fact that it isn’t a full $59.99 game. As it stands, I’m looking at a digital download of the game on PSN for $29.99, while a last-gen version is going for $19.99. I hate to speak ill of any game where developers put time and effort into making it, but MC just doesn’t demand very much from its players. It just kind of exists for people to ride around in, with no real purpose or challenge. The graphics aren’t anything spectacular (certainly not on PS4), the gameplay is strange, and the social aspect is virtually nonexistent. If I had the $30 to spend on a game, I would probably look elsewhere.