Adding limited VR support to a game that would appear to be a good fit for comprehensive support seems to be a trend lately in the games industry. Perhaps it’s a way for developers to experiment without sinking too many funds into VR development, or perhaps it’s symptomatic of a larger issue with adoption numbers. Either way, more and more developers are opting for small slices of their games in VR rather than the entire experiences.
Joining the ranks of Gran Turismo Sport, the recently released Moto Racer 4 also only supports VR for a small handful of race types, although they claim that won’t always be the case. The game is published by Microïds and developed by Artefacts Studio.
The full game (which the above trailer incorrectly states is already fully playable in VR) features 15 different game modes between single and multiplayer with up to 10 total racers in local and online multiplayer. Additionally, you can race in both asphalt (high-speed racing bikes) and Dirt modes (stunt-filled Motocross).
But unfortunately only the single player Time Attack and Hot Lap modes are supported as of this time. Luckily, according to an official press release, “Microïds and Artefact Studios will progressively and freely make all game modes and races, already available in Moto Racer 4, compatible in VR,” but there is no time frame on the rest of the game’s content.
I tried Moto Racer 4 with the PS VR headset and while it was disappointing that I couldn’t play the entire compliment of game modes, such as with Driveclub VR [Review: 7/10] for example, the sense of speed was unmatched inside Sony’s HMD. There aren’t many racing games to choose from yet with support for the PlayStation headset, so Moto Racer 4 was a bit liberating in a way. Driveclub VR provides an excellent outlet for cockpit-based racing, but sitting atop a bike in Moto Racer added a more visceral nature to the speed and made me feel more vulnerable.
That being said, it doesn’t look too great visually. Playing the game inside the headset’s downgraded resolution transforms a game that was already only average into something visually sub-par by modern racing game standards. The framerate is reportedly improved on the PS4 Pro version, both inside and outside of the headset, which lets it run smoothly, but still leaves a bit to be desired in terms of graphical fidelity.
Strangely, even though Moto Racer 4 is also available for PC via Steam, there doesn’t appear to be any support for the Vive, Rift, or OSVR headsets at this time, but maybe that can be incorporated later on like the rest of the game modes.
“It was the first time we’ve worked on this feature, and we known that it would be a challenge to make it comfortable for a moto racing game, certainly more difficult than a car race,” said Production Director at Artefacts Studio, Olivier Gaudino during an interview. “During production, we have been faced with motion sickness, and we had to work particularly on camera settings in regards to the bike and the locations. We tried several adjustments in order to reduce motion sickness, VR tests were interesting since each person had a different sickness reaction. Finally, we found a way to reduce the motion sickness, and the immersive experience is really strong during the races, in GP mode and Dirt mode as well.”
At this time with such a limited VR offering, it’s hard to recommend Moto Racer 4 as a racing game if you’re intrigued by the VR support. Additional game modes will be added to Sony’s headset at this time, but right now there just isn’t enough to do. If you’re a fan of the franchise in general and would like to try it outside of the headset however, you’ll find a capable arcade racing game with plenty to do and lots of bikes to ride.
Moto Racer 4 is now available on PlayStation 4 with limited PS VR support as well as on Xbox One and PC.