SBK 22 review: A hardcore racing sim with a learning curve

Milestone Srl continues its busy 2022 with SBK 22, which is the third bike racing game release of the year. While significantly different from dirt bike racing seen in Monster Energy Supercross 5you can expect some similarities with the excellent MotoGP 22. But just like how MotoGP and Superbike have differences in how they approach motorcycle racing, the games are also different, making SBK a punishing sim with little to offer outside of standard racing.

This is Milestone’s first SBK video game since 2012 SBK Generationsa series that the Italian developer had made annually since 2007 and as far back as the 1999s Superbike World Championshipwhen it then switched to publishing annually MotoGP titles. However, this is not quite a huge return, as the feature set is quite sparse. Aside from 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 allows players to choose a real-life racer, there aren’t any other modes to draw fans to. While MotoGP 22 featured a great historical mode that gave players something to really sink their teeth into as they got used to the controls, there’s no such parallel to be found here, which is why the game feels empty.

The lack of rewarding states is particularly harmful to SBK 22 as it has quite a significant learning curve. While MotoGP is essentially the F1 of motorcycle racing, with bikes built specifically for racing, the Superbike World Championship features tuned versions of readily available cars that resemble sports car racing. As a result, the bikes are in SBK 22 simply doesn’t have the maneuverability that MotoGP’s more nimble vehicles provide. This makes for a much stiffer racing experience, one that requires a greater focus on setting your turns and finding the correct angle. This isn’t just for faster laps, it’s for staying upright as it’s incredibly easy to find yourself on the ground when you first start.

This is a racer that requires a lot more nuance even on a basic level than Milestone’s other racing game releases this year. If you’re not already familiar with the tracks and racing style, you’ll find yourself approaching corners too quickly and at wrong angles, even if you’ve enabled rider assist. This leads to a frustrating learning curve in a game that doesn’t have compelling enough content to captivate players to master the gameplay.

SBK 22 review: A hardcore racing sim with a learning curve

However, this does not mean that the learning curve is not satisfactory in itself. The moments when it all starts to come together and you’re perfecting multiple corners in a row, gaining ground and passing other racers feel amazing. There’s definitely potential here and the overall racing is solid as Milestone always offers in that department, it’s just too bad there isn’t a mode to encourage more players to become good racers as they need to be heavily invested in Superbike already wanting to do it. It doesn’t do much to appeal to people outside the Superbike niche, even if they already like racing games.

When we talk about the need for the built-in investment, the career mode is quite repetitive. As SBK races are set up, players must compete in three races in a single weekend to complete it. While it follows the correct format and is similar to how supercross races will have multiple heats to determine overall standings, a way to simplify it for those who want a more streamlined experience would have been a better way to do it . Driving the same course multiple times to get to the one race that actually matters is a draining and boring way to structure a game, regardless of its real-world inspirations.

Unless you’re already a diehard Superbike fan, that is SBK 22 is just a nice racing game that is ultimately skippable. MotoGP 22 is much more accessible and so is Milestone’s own Ride series that offers a more varied selection of motorcycles. Without any form that goes beyond, this return to the world of SBK offers only the bare minimum you’d expect from Milestone, which is disappointing in a year where the studio has gone above and beyond other contributions.

SCORE: 6/10

Like ComingSoon’s audit policy explains, a score of 6 corresponds to “Decent”. It fails to reach its full potential and is a thorough experience.

Disclosure: The publisher provided us with a PlayStation 5 copy SKB 22 review. Reviewed on version 1,001,000.

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