SBK 22 Review: A Hardcore Racing Sim With a Learning Curve

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Milestone S.r.l. continues its busy 2022 with SBK 22, which is its third bike racing game release of the year. While substantially different from the dirt bike racing seen in Monster Energy Supercross 5, one might expect quite a few similarities with the excellent MotoGP 22. However, much like how MotoGP and Superbike have differences to how they approach motorcycle racing, the games differ as well, making SBK a punishing sim with little to offer outside of standard races.

SBK 22 Review: A Hardcore Racing Sim With a Learning Curve

This is Milestone’s first SBK video game since 2012’s SBK Generations, a series the Italian developer had done yearly since 2007 and as far back as 1999’s Superbike World Championship, as it then switched to releasing yearly MotoGP titles. However, this isn’t quite a grand return as the feature set is rather scant. Beyond a solid yet basic career mode that is very similar to what’s found in the studio’s other titles and a championship mode that allows players to pick a real-life racer, there aren’t any other modes to draw in fans. While MotoGP 22 featured a stellar 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 and is why the game feels empty.

The lack of rewarding modes is particularly damaging to SBK 22 as it has a pretty sizable learning curve. While MotoGP is essentially the F1 of motorcycle racing, featuring bikes that are built specifically for racing, the Superbike World Championship has tuned versions of readily available cars similar to sports car racing. As a result, the bikes in SBK 22 simply don’t have the maneuverability afforded by MotoGP’s more nimble vehicles. This makes for a much stiffer racing experience, one that requires a greater focus on setting up your turns and finding the correct angle. This isn’t just for faster laps, it’s to stay upright as it’s incredibly easy to find yourself on the ground when you’re first starting off.

This is a racer that requires much 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 the style of racing, you’ll find yourself approaching corners too fast and at incorrect angles, even if you have rider assists turned on. 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

That isn’t to say that the learning curve isn’t satisfying on its own, though. The moments when it all starts coming together and you perfect several corners in a row, gain ground, and pass other racers feel great. There’s definitely potential here, and the overall racing is solid as Milestone always offers in that department, it’s just too bad that there isn’t a mode to encourage more players into becoming great racers since they’ll have to be heavily invested in Superbike already to want to do so. It does little to appeal to people outside of the Superbike niche, even if they already like racing games.

Speaking to that built-in investment being needed, 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. While it’s following the real format and is similar to how supercross races will have multiple heats to determine overall placement, a way to simplify it for those wanting a more streamlined experience would’ve been a better way to go about it. Racing the same track multiple times to get to the one race that actually matters is a draining and a tedious way to structure a game regardless of its real-life inspirations.

Unless you’re already a diehard fan of Superbike, then SBK 22 is just a fine yet ultimately skippable racing game. MotoGP 22 is much more accessible and so is Milestone’s own Ride series that features a more diverse lineup of motorcycles. Without any mode that goes above and beyond, this return to the world of SBK only features the bare minimum one would expect from Milestone, which is disappointing in a year that has seen the studio go above and beyond in other entries.

SCORE: 6/10

As ComingSoon’s review policy explains, a score of 6 equates to “Decent.” It fails to reach its full potential and is a run-of-the-mill experience.


Disclosure: The publisher provided a PlayStation 5 copy for our SKB 22 review. Reviewed on version 1.001.000.

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