SBK 2022 Review
SBK 2022, aka Superbike 2022, is the latest in an ever-growing stable of motorcycle racing games from Milestone. If you refer to our coverage for the 2021 installment of MotoGP 21 you can find the background of Milestone and their motorcycle racing game lineup. In our review of MotoGP 2022 the game earned the title of the Dark Souls of Milestone’s motorcycle racing games. Well, move over MotoGP 2022, there’s a new bike on the track.
SBK 2022 follows the template put forth by MotoGP. Milestone must have listened to feedback about how difficult the game is. There is a set of tutorials, which are vital for new players. These lessons are a very extensive set that covers everything from basics to highly advanced techniques. To complement the tutorials, there is an extensive array of riding aids. As with all such aids, they are a dual-edged proposition. They allow rookies to enjoy the game but they also remove much of the authentic feel of the experience. The sooner you can wean yourself away from it, the better. The one aid that has the biggest impact is for braking, so you should focus on honing that skill first.
Biking Dual Sense Style
I’ve already waxed eloquently, in previous motorbike sim reviews, about the boon the PS5 Dual Sense brings to motorcycling. Of all the racing sims, bike riding is the most difficult to simulate. It’s akin to riding a horse. This is clear when you look at the available control schemes. All are complex, and despite my best effort, I could not come up with a totally comfortable one. Not even with Milestone supporting full customization of the controller mappings. One additional bit of feedback that is useful is the use of haptics to inform you if you are in the right gear or not. If you let the RPMs go into the red too long, the controller will stutter. I don’t remember this happening in MotoGP 21, but it is a welcome addition.
When you crash, and you will crash, the game switches to a first-person view that recreates a tv camera perspective. The crashing is frustrating, but there is some levity watching your body roll away with the unintentionally hilarious ragdoll mechanics. Fortunately, a much-needed rewind option is available.
Turning to the in-race experience, mostly, it’s a great one. All the aforementioned bike riding aspects are excellent. You, your opponents, and your bikes all look great. They are all highly detailed and with the use of motion-blur really makes for a great sensation of speed. The actual track surface looks good too, but things became a tad sterile past the curbs. The stands and surrounding scenery are rather lifeless and static. A little activity off-track would yield big dividends on the immersion side.
A Lighter Cut and Paste
SBK 2022 is basically a cut-and-paste job of MotoGP 2022. So beyond the different skins for the bikes and rider, this feels too similar. As the third game released in the same year by Milestone, maybe they stretched themselves too thin. There hasn’t been a new Superbike game since their 2012 Superbike Generations.
The various expected modes are present: Career, Championship Seasons, Time Trials, and Quick Mode. However, what is missing in SBK 2022 is a historic mode – which MotoGP 22 has. This lack of content makes SBK 2022 feel hollow, especially without the rewards the Historic Mode gave players.
If you equate MotoGP to F1 Racing, then Superbikes are the street car version. What this means in terms of gameplay is the Superbikes are less maneuverable and responsive. So they feel clunky and less enjoyable to ride. With such a driving model, you have to be more precise with your driving. If you find MotoGP 21 tough, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To tie things up, SBK 2022 is a tougher and less content-rich game than MotoGP 22. Unless you are a die-hard fan of super bike racing, MotoGP 22 is the better choice for casual players.
*** PS5 code provided by the publisher ***
- Excellent Dual Sense features
- Solid set of tutorials
- Miles of customization options
- Even tougher to drive than MotoGP 21
- No historic content
- Will appeal only to Superbike fans