If you’re familiar with the world of motorbike racing then the name Valentino Rossi most likely means something. With 9 world championships across the 125cc, 250cc and premier MotoGP classes, he’s sure made a name for himself as one of the greats. They don’t call him the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) for nothing.
It’s impossible to discuss classic MotoGP races and moments without bringing up events that involve Rossi. All of his accomplishments and popularity have put eyes on the world of MotoGP.
Having appeared in MotoGP video games since 2002, it’s justified to say that he’s been in a fair share of them. With at least 1 or sometimes 2 games nearly every year since.
2016’s MotoGP game developed by Italian developer Milestone Srl wasn’t exactly a MotoGP game. Yes, it was the official game for that year but it was different.
This entry released on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC titled Valentino Rossi: The Game focuses around the GOAT himself. Inviting players into the world of number 46 (Rossi’s race number) to indulge in it virtually. By recreating iconic moments throughout his time in MotoGP, such as going off-road at Rossi’s flat track (The Ranch), getting your knee down on a Yamaha R1 with the VR46 Academy, swapping 2 wheels for 4 with a Ford Fiesta at places such as the Monza Rally Show and going sideways in a Ford Mustang.
Valentino Rossi: The Game doesn’t have the appeal or popularity of other racing games. And it definitely isn’t the best thing I’ve ever played. But I still think it’s underappreciated. Quite a lot of folks probably haven’t even heard of it. And this is why I’m going to dig into the game. In the hopes of informing the unaware of what made it stand out.
Life on the Track
Personally, my favourite thing to do in Valentino Rossi: The Game were the VR46 Historical Events. These events allowed the player to play as Rossi and attempt to recreate highlights from his immensely successful racing career. From his days of scrapping on 2 strokes to the famous battle with Biaggi in Rossi’s debut race for Yamaha. A lot of different eras of his time in MotoGP were covered.
The VR 46 historical events were a standout part of the game. Being able to race the motorbikes and relive the moments that fans of the sport still talk about to this day was a cracking time.
Each event was introduced by Valentino himself in a series of interviews. Which are mixed with real footage of the race in question. Valentino talks about things like what was going through his head and why certain race results were special.
These interviews were carried out specifically for the game and raised the production level of the mode. All while assuring this game wasn’t just another MotoGP title with a new number on the end.
Even if you had no prior knowledge of Rossi’s feats, this mode would have enlightened you to the exceptional performances he’s displayed. And why Milestone Srl wanted to make a whole game focused around The Doctor. “The Doctor” is Rossi’s nickname if you didn’t know.
Right 3 into Left 2
Just because Valentino Rossi: The Game is a motorbike racer at heart doesn’t mean that you couldn’t get behind the wheel of a car.
In Valentino Rossi: The Game you got the chance to participate in Rally events such as the Monza Rally Show where Rossi has been famous for competing in when not racing bikes.
I’ll admit the rally cars aren’t the best handling, but it was still cool to see the developers implement something like this in a non-car racer. It also helped the game feel like a full-blown Rossi game instead of being a game with his name slapped on it to sell copies.
If you’re going to learn the ropes from anyone, there are not many people more qualified to teach you than the 9-time champion. The VR46 Academy has been the place to be in recent years for new and upcoming riders to learn and gain experience.
So if it’s a part of Rossi’s racing world then it’s a part of the game. Head out on track with the academy at Misano on Yamaha R1M’s for a more regular time. Or kick up some dirt with Valentino and friends at The Ranch, which is home to Rossi’s personal flat track.
Maybe getting your slide on with a bike wasn’t enough for you. How about drifting a Ford Mustang around? Though I would advise against this as this portion of the game isn’t very good. The Mustang handles badly and the mode feels underbaked.
I thought the inclusion of the now legend-like flat track at The Ranch was a pretty neat part of the game. The track had never been in a game before and hasn’t been since. The Ranch has been covered and talked about quite heavily among fans of the sport, so finally getting to tackle it even if only virtually, made fans happy.
Fans of Rossi most likely know all about his special, flamboyant, humorous and sometimes sad crash helmet and motorbike designs.
And thanks to the “Rossipedia” these designs are part of a digital archive where players could discover, remember, learn, and examine these designs.
The screaming face and Pink Floyd ‘Wish You Were Here’ helmets are present. The 2005 old school livery Laguna Seca Yamaha, yeah, that’s also here along with much more. All of which can be selected and used out on the track.
The 2016 Season
On top of all of what has already been mentioned, you get the regular MotoGP video game experience. With this game based around the 2016 season.
This includes all of the classes, teams, bikes, riders and tracks. Your typical Single Race/Grand Prix weekend, Championship and Career modes are all included for you to get twisting the throttle in.
It’s almost like two games in one. You have the Rossi side of the game paired with a whole MotoGP game. Milestone went the extra mile with Valentino Rossi: The Game. And considering it came out just one game after the previous one in series with an annual release cycle makes this game even more unusual.
Classic bikes and riders can also be used on all of the game’s typical race tracks. As well as on classic ones like Donington Park and Welkom.
A Conclusion in 46 Words
Milestone showed the passion they have and how much of a fan the Italian developer is of the Italian Rider.
I’m not surprised not many people bring this game up. But I hope me doing so has brought your attention to it and why it’s underappreciated.
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