Milestone and Dorna WSBK Organization S.rl launch SBK™22, an all-new chapter of one of the most iconic and celebrated franchises in racing games, today on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Steam.
SBK™22 revives the authentic universe of the SBK Championship, 10 years after the last release of SBK Generations, the tenth game in the legendary series developed by Milestone and started in 1999 with the FIM World Superbike Championship.
SBK™22 stages the 2022 WorldSBK Championship season. The game includes an immersive and fascinating Career mode as well as the real SBK® weekend with trials, Superpoles and races. In Career mode, players will find a perfect reproduction of what happens in the WorldSBK Championship in real life, with all calendar events, authentic WorldSBK weekends and all official teams and riders.
SBK™22 aims to deliver an authentic SBK gaming experience, thanks to its advanced physics developed with the support of real professional riders, with the aim of achieving an extreme level of simulation in terms of motorcycle and rider behavior. SBK™22 also benefits from improved realistic characteristics, tires and development tires allowing to select a wide range of Pirelli tires for dry and wet tracks, and fuel management to balance the weight of the bike.
The ANNA system, revolutionary AI based on neural networks and machine learning, guarantees a tailor-made experience and allows intelligent control of opponents in order to define a difficult, but fair opposition. At the higher level, the behaviors of the pilots are taken into account, such as the skill level of the players.
Different editors allow players to customize several aspects of their experience. The editor of stickers, helmets, numbers and patches are dedicated to riders and motorcycles, while Fiction Team is entirely focused on creating a completely fictional team with a customizable livery.
SBK™22 is even made for multiplayer racing with up to 12 players that can create online lobbies where competitions reach another level. SBK™22 is available on PlayStation 5, PlayStation 4, Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One and Steam.
When you think of a motorcycle game, chances are the studio behind it is the prolific Milan-based development studio known as Milestone. Few developers are now tackling the discipline, only Kylotonn Racing Games having achieved a real breakthrough with its TT Isle of Man in particular, while Rainbow Studios manages the MX vs. ATV on behalf of THQ. Meanwhile, Milestone develops games under MotoGP, MXGP, Ride or even Monster Energy Supercross licenses, thus casting a wide net in terms of styles. Ten years after the release of SBK Generations, already signed Milestone, the Italian studio is back for an SBK 22 which marks the great return of the championship on our PC, PlayStation and Xbox. The publisher provided us with a code for the digital Xbox version in advance, so we were able to try this for over eight hours on Xbox Series X to give you our Day One review. The full review will be published later, the time to test the multiplayer under normal conditions of use and to continue the Career.
A hardcore racing simulator with a learning curve
Milestone Srl continues its busy 2022 with SBK 22, which is its third bike racing game release of the year. Although significantly different from the dirt bike racing seen in Monster Energy Supercross 5, we can expect some similarities to the excellent MotoGP 22. However, just like how MotoGP and Superbike have differences in their approach to racing of motorcycles, the games also differ. , making SBK a punishing sim with little to offer outside of standard racing.
This is Milestone’s first SBK video game since 2012’s SBK Generations, a series the Italian developer had made every year since 2007 and since the 1999 Superbike World Championship, as it then moved on to releasing MotoGP titles. annual. However, it’s not quite a big comeback as the feature set is rather limited. Beyond a solid but basic career mode that’s very similar to what’s found in the studio’s other titles and a championship mode that lets players choose an actual racer, there’s no other modes to attract fans. While MotoGP 22 offered a stellar historical mode that gave players something to sink their teeth into as they got used to the controls, there’s no such parallel to be found here and that’s why the game seems empty.
The lack of reward modes is especially damaging for SBK 22 because it has a pretty steep learning curve. While MotoGP is essentially the F1 of motorcycle racing, with motorcycles specifically designed for racing, the Superbike World Championship has developed readily available versions of cars similar to sports car racing. As a result, the SBK 22 bikes simply don’t have the handling offered by the more nimble MotoGP vehicles. This gives a much stiffer racing experience, which requires more focus on setting up your turns and finding the right angle. It’s not just for faster laps, it’s for staying upright because it’s incredibly easy to land on the ground when you first start.
This is a racer that requires a lot more nuance, even at a basic level, than Milestone’s other racing game releases this year. If you’re not already familiar with the tracks and the racing style, you’ll find yourself approaching corners too quickly and at the wrong angles, even if you have the driver assists turned on. This leads to a frustrating learning curve in a game that doesn’t have enough compelling content to captivate players to master the gameplay.
That’s not to say the learning curve isn’t satisfying on its own. The moments when everything starts to fall into place and you perfect several turns in a row, gain ground and pass other riders feel good. There’s definitely potential here, and the overall race is strong as Milestone still delivers in that department, it’s just a shame there isn’t a mode to encourage more players to become great racers as they will have to already being heavily invested in Superbike wanting to do it. It doesn’t do much to appeal to people outside of the Superbike niche, even if they already love racing games.
Speaking of that necessary built-in investment, the career mode is quite repetitive. The way SBK races are set up, players will need to compete in three races in a single weekend in order to complete it. Although it follows the actual format and is similar to how supercross races will have multiple rounds to determine overall placement, a way to simplify it for those wanting a more streamlined experience would have been a better way to go about it take. Racing around the same track multiple times to get to the only race that really matters is an exhausting and tedious way to structure a game, regardless of its actual inspirations.
Unless you’re already a hardcore Superbike fan, then SBK 22 is just a fine but ultimately skippable racing game. The MotoGP 22 is much more accessible, as is Milestone’s own Ride series which offers a more diverse range of motorcycles. Without any modes that go beyond this, this throwback to the world of SBK features only the bare minimum that one would expect from Milestone, which is disappointing in a year that has seen the studio go above and beyond in many other entries.