Moto GP 24 screenshot

“Moto GP 24” reviewed – Does adaptive AI and the rider market make for a must-play?


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Gamers who are fans of major world championship motorsport series will be eating well – as the kids say – during the month of May.

Not only will iRacing get to host officially sanctioned Indy 500 races once again this month, but Codemasters’ official F1 game for 2024 will be released before May gives way to June.

But before then, players already have one of the first major motorsport titles of the season with the release of Moto GP 24, which is already out just four rounds into the real life championship.

RaceFans have long been fans of Milestone’s official game series, which punches above its weight given the resources of the plucky Italian developers. But is this newest edition a good entry point for newcomers to the series or motorcycle games in general and is it worth a purchase for Moto GP veterans?

Riding on the edge

After several days of playing everything Moto GP 24 has to offer, it’s fair to say the newest title provides everything you would expect from an officially licenced racing game. Naturally, all teams and riders of the 2024 Moto GP, Moto 2 and Moto 3 championships are included. Each of the 21 circuits originally scheduled on this year’s calendar are also included, including the Sokol circuit in Kazakhstan that is yet to host a grand prix.

Moto GP 24 screenshot
Riding can be exhilarating without assists
Much like the official F1 game, Milestone’s Moto GP series has already aimed to strike that balance between accessible handling and authenticity that offers players a taste of what it’s like to ride these truly extreme machines. It’s a balance that the series has always been successful at, even if real life motorcycle riders might scoff at the riding model being considered ‘realistic’.

As ever, there are several ‘neural’ riding aids to help new players on top of those electronic aids that are naturally built into all Moto GP class machines. Although these are a real lifesaver for new players starting out with a Moto GP game for the first time, anyone who considers themselves a competent simracer should consider turning off all the extra riding assists and explore finding the limits on their own.

Moto GP bikes are savage at the best of times and require very deliberate, delicate riding – far more so than the Moto 2 and Moto 3 class machines. Especially on PS5, with the benefit of DualSense haptics, the game provides a lot of nuanced feedback that helps you to feel where the limits are. You’ll go over them a lot – just like the real riders do – but once you learn the language of riding, you’ll rarely if ever feel that it wasn’t your fault if you do fall.

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Adaptive AI

For a primarily single player focused game, AI performance is critical to the racing experience. Moto GP 24 tries to address one of the biggest challenges of any racing game – finding the right difficulty level – by introducing a new ‘adaptive AI’ feature to series.

Moto GP 24 screenshot
AI can adjust to your skill level
Rather than faffing around for several sessions to find the sweet spot among one of almost 100 AI levels, this new system constantly monitors your performance relative to the AI riders session by session and adjusts accordingly to try and provide you the most competitive racing possible. As great as that may sound, it’s naturally more complicated than it may first appear.

Playing for several grands prix in the game’s career mode, it was surprising how effective the adaptive AI was providing an opponent level that felt about right for racing. However, that was after participating in all practice and qualifying sessions to allow the system to fine tune the AI balance over the race weekend before the grand prix. If you, say, jump from Moto 3 in career mode to do a one-off single grand prix where you fall off several times, when you return to career mode your AI level will be completely unbalanced as a result.

The system also does not seem to take into account the tyre compounds that the player uses. One race weekend in career mode, the AI seemed perfectly poised until Q2, when the AI could not cope with the extra pace provided by soft tyres, which made pole position a cakewalk. It feels like a system that is better suited to dedicated career mode players who will meticulously build up their confidence around a track over several sessions, rather than jump from track to track for the sake of variety – which is unfortunate, given it’s the latter players who could do with it more.

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Making moves

As the main single-player mode in the game, the career mode in the Moto GP series has arguably been one of the better implemented of all the major motorsport game series on the market. With three categories to simulate, the 2024 game again offers you three races at the end of a Moto 3 season before giving you the choice to either replay a full Moto 3 championship to chase for the title, step up into Moto 2 or leap straight up into the premier Moto GP class.

Moto GP 24 screenshot
Riders can move teams in career mode this year
Unlike the F1 series, Milestone’s Moto GP games have allowed players for many years to carry out pre-season testing. Not only can players use an extended session to get familiar with their bikes, they can also test out different specifications of bikes with different strengths and weaknesses and decide which one they want for the start of the season. And this year, the brand new telemetry system allows you to directly compare data from two separate laps in any timed session, which is not just helpful for analysing your own performance but a great way to compare different bike specs before you commit for a season.

But the real enhancement for career mode this time around is the new rider market, allowing AI riders to move teams or even between classes independent of the player. Marc Marquez’s move to Ducati is one of the biggest stories of 2024 in the two-wheeled world, but now he or any of his rival riders could make similar switches to new teams come the end of the season.

For players who will be playing deep into career mode, this will be extremely welcome. Every season will be just that little bit different as new faces join the grid and familiar ones switch into new colours. You have the option to have rider moves active from your very first season, delay it until the end of your first season or disable it entirely and keep the 2024 roster throughout your playthrough, so every preference is rightly catered for.

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Staying out of trouble

Just like in Formula 1, stewarding decisions have become an increasingly major part of modern Moto GP racing. Milestone have tried to incorporate this into Moto GP 24 by introducing new elements into the game alongside the existing penalty system. As with previous games, players can get long-lap or time penalties for jumping the start or exceeding track limits too many times, but this year the stewards will actively ‘investigate’ incidents such as collisions between bikes, before announcing their decisions around a minute or so later.

Moto GP 24 screenshot
Ride clean or face investigation from the stewards
TV style graphics will also pop up to alert you as to whether any of your AI rivals exceed track limits or earn penalties of their own. While it might be more of a distraction than actively useful, it does certainly add to the feeling that you’re in a living, breathing race rather than just running on a track with mindless robots.

You can choose whether the stewards are tolerant or more strict when it comes to judging incidents and you’ll really have to mind your manners on the strict setting. It’s not flawless, however, as one incident during practice at Sepang saw the virtual stewards choose to impose a long lap penalty for the race for ‘impeding’ after blending out of the throttle along the pit straight to let another rider by without obvious incident. Although, what would simulating race stewards be without some baffling decisions every now and then?

It’s hardly a game-changing feature, but it’s definitely one of those little details that helps to add to the overall sense of immersion while racing.

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What’s missing

Alongside three full categories of racing – with the Moto E class to be added later in the year as it always is – there are several historic tracks included beyond the 21 circuits for 2024, including Laguna Seca, Estoril, Donington Park or even the Argentine Termas de Rio Hondo track which recently dropped off the current season.

That is nothing new for the series that has regularly offered extra tracks for players to enjoy, but it’s a shame that the roster of historic bikes and riders that were a former staple of the series are still absent from the current game. Whereas Moto GP 22 and those before it allowed you to race Valentino Rossi in his 2004 title winning Yamaha, Casey Stoner’s 2007 Ducati or even Kevin Schwantz’s 1993 Suzuki, there were no historic bikes to race in last year’s game and the same is true for this year too.

With the historic fantasy having seemingly died, so too, it appears, has the original team fantasy too. Unlike Moto GP 23 and many of its prequels, those looking for a way to customise their own team by picking one of three set sponsors and liveries to run in grand prix or career mode are on to a fool’s errand as that option no longer exists. Perhaps related to the new rider market, perhaps not. Either way, it’s a shame that one of the more nice to have features has been removed from the game.

Moto GP 24 screenshot
New telemetry is very welcome
There is, however, the full return of all the usual customisation elements for making your own helmet design, customised rider number or butt patch to make your own rider suitably unique. However, while you’re able to browse and download community creations made by other players, there’s no way to access anything uploaded on previous titles. If you’ve spent three hours layering up your own personal helmet design in Moto GP 23, you better clear time on your schedule to repeat the entire process again with the new game.

There are some other frustrations that do harm the overall experience. The AI at Moto GP level seem to be far too slow along straights compared to the player, even when you’re running a fairly standard bike set up rather than one tuned for top speed. That means you can have thrilling racing throughout the opening two sectors at a circuit like Losail, only to breeze by your rivals on the two main straights, robbing you of any satisfaction.

Also, the pre-race formation lap has been entirely removed from the game for the new edition. While entirely AI controlled and acting as a stylised grid run-down before the race started, it was another way to increase immersion before a big race – until it seemingly broke in last year’s game where riders would fail to turn off the start leading to comical mass pile ups at the first corner. It’s a shame that rather than fix this, it was felt better to just remove it entirely.

After the 2022 game had a fantastic ‘Nine’ feature that acted as an interactive documentary retelling of the 2009 Moto GP season, it’s unfortunate the series has not taken such an excellent concept and applied it to other famous years from the sport’s history. A large amount of effort, for sure, but it was truly one of the better ideas executed in any racing game of recent times.

Overall, Moto GP 24 is a solid racing game with deep, challenging and rewarding handling, very pretty graphics and represents its sport admirably. If you’ve never touched the series before, there is certainly plenty here to sink your teeth into and enjoy. However, if you’ve played plenty of Moto GP games in your time, there’s undoubtedly less value for money compared to previous titles unless you’re aching to race the current 2024 roster or dedicate several seasons to career mode.

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RaceFans rating

Rating three out of five

Moto GP 24

Platform(s): PS4/5 Xbox Series S|X, Xbox One, Switch, Steam
Developer: Milestone
Publisher: Milestone
Released: May 2024
Price: £44.99


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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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2 comments on ““Moto GP 24” reviewed – Does adaptive AI and the rider market make for a must-play?”

  1. still trying to figure out why counter steering doesn’t work on the consoles.

  2. Jockey Ewing
    14th May 2024, 3:02

    Problem with the motorbike sims, that while VR + some decent wheel + pedals combo with force feedback provides good and immersive exprerience at some car sims, providing similar simulation of the feeling and the forces would require something like a motorbike shaped motion rig. So it would require the equivalent of having a motion rig/cockpit replica for car sims, and that is often far more advanced compared to what most gamers have. For this reason motorcycle games are not made me. Interestingly after playing some nice car racing sim titles, I am unable to touch arcade titles, but I have found GTA V’s driving experience quite enjoyable/well nailed for a non-sim title, when I have done a speedrun on it on the occasion of upgrading my PC and being able to at about maxing it out for the first time :XD

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