In addition to several racing modes on dirt and asphalt tracks, Moto Racer 4 also includes a small bonus, the ability to race (solo) using the PSVR system in either a Time Attack or Hot Lap mode. As with other bonus VR features, the PSVR experience isn’t going to be the main selling point of a game. However, they are a nice way for PSVR owners to experience a small part of their game in a virtual reality mode. Unfortunately, I found the PSVR racing mode of Moto Racer 4 was not a good fit for my gaming style.
Moto Racer 4 centers around motorcycle racing, either racing on asphalt with street racers or motocross with dirt bikes. It has gotten mixed reviews in the press, and while I’m not a huge fan of the career mode (odd for me as typically that’s my favorite part) the various racing modes seemed to be reasonably fun. It was the standard form for racing titles. Race a few competitions (in one-offs or a series of races), earn upgrades for one’s bike and/or character, rinse and repeat for tougher challenges.
The PSVR component of the game focused on two aspects of the game: a time attack mode, where players are timed through three laps of a race, and Hot Lap mode where one races around the course as many times as desired and only the best lap time is recorded. The modes have little difference in feel, although I found the hot lap mode to be a nice practice ground for an attempt at time attack, switching over from hot lap when I felt I had a good grasp of that particular level.
Using the VR headset while racing gave a real sense of of speed and motion to the game. Normally, a bike racer and a car racer have an extremely similar feel when played on a television. The car race may have a bit more “frame” around the screen as you look out through windshields (in some viewpoints) but the bike race will still have some handlebars at the bottom of a screen. Switch that view over to a 3D VR situation and all of the sudden you go from a car frame around you to nothing, and the feeling of fast movement intensifies.
Unfortunately, this actually became a bit of a minus for me. First, as much as I wanted to enjoy my surroundings, in order to do well in the game I really needed to focus on the road just ahead of me. Being able to look at the terrain from side to side was nice, but if I wanted to do well in a race I couldn’t afford to be scanning around on a joyride. While I could look down at my bike, my viewpoint was significantly above the handlebars. Having an entirely open-ended view in 3D actually seemed to make it harder for me to control my acceleration and braking. I knew where I was in the environment, but I did not have a good sense of exactly where my bike was located, making adjustments for cornering more difficult than in a 2D mode.
Immersing myself in the VR world, my visual expectations increased and since the resolution of the VR headset is lower than that of the standard HDTV screen, the visual world actually rendered in a less detailed manner. I’ve heard that lower frame rates and resolutions can contribute to motion sickness and I did struggle a bit with that. After some time playing in hot lap mode (maybe 20 minutes?), I needed to take a break from the game to get my body back in sync.
The publisher has stated that all the modes of play will eventually come to the VR mode, but at present only the hot lap and time attack are present. This means that there isn’t any way to play online with friends in the VR mode. For that matter, racing was lonely in both modes as there weren’t even computer controller racers in the games that I played.
Moto Racer 4 is a decent enough cycle racing game, but its VR addition does not add anything significant to the title. In my own case, it actually detracted from my enjoyment of the game (both in my performance as well as my overall experience.) Your milage may vary but I think it is safe to say that someone looking to the VR mode to justify purchasing the game would be disappointed