MotoGP 20 Career Mode In-Depth Review – Switch

MotoGP 20 is currently the pinnacle of motorbike sim-cade games and has massive improvements over previous years, so much so I’m having to write a separate Career mode analysis band review as it has been completely reworked for this edition.

You start by picking your manager who can specialise in a basic salary, bonuses for achieving targets or finding out offers from new teams. Then you sign for a team out of a few offers, you can go to a custom team and edit the colour scheme but have no teammate or go with a real team. Even if a great real team offers you a ride such as going straight into Petronas Sprinta in Moto 2 that doesn’t mean they are going to give you a good bike. You know how quick a bike you’ll get based on their expectations, they expect you to come 15th of 16 you won’t be riding a beast, but you can see how far the bike can be upgraded, though most can go to max.

The MotoGP upgrade trees.

Next up you’re dropped into your main hub where you can go look at your staff, contract, bike development etc. You want to start turning your old banger into a glorious rocket of a bike by doing some upgrades. Upgrades are broken down into engine, frame (the bike itself), aerodynamics and electronics (the assists such as traction control). First you have to set some staff to research but once you start racing you’ll earn your research points through development tests during free practice. Each upgrade section has its own small tree to pick upgrades then you set your staff to it and wait however many weeks for the part to be built, you’ll have multiple parts on the go at once as your staff are specialised in an area. You can’t recruit more staff you just get new staff sometimes which is a bit odd but you can hire a replacement engineer and data analyst to give you more research points from your development tests. You just need to look at your contract and keep an eye on your bank account.

Picking your frame for the season.

If you’re in the MotoGP class then you get to do pre-season testing to pick one of three frames, offering different fuel:power ratios and stability or cornering. Plus you get a mid-season test where you can change to one of next year’s frames. 

After a few weeks have passed you’ll be shipped off to Qatar for the start of the season. But before that you need to choose your race length from 25%, 35%, 50%, 75% and 100%. A 25% race takes about 12 minutes and if you pick proportional tyre wear and fuel it’ll be scaled so your tyres go off quicker than a 50% race. There’s no turning off tyre wear but if you set it to real then you won’t have to worry about it. You can’t turn off penalties for cutting corners either but there are unlimited rewinds so it’s all good.

You can hire a new manager so you get a better deal for the second season.

You choose which sessions to take part in and they can be changed at any point. On one save in the MotoGP class I just quickly do one development test for the research points then skip to the race starting 12th after a top 10 free practice time which puts you straight into qualifying 2. This gives me enough development points as I’ve hired good staff and then I can spend much more time actually racing. On another I’m doing much longer races and getting a more in depth experience by completing all the development tests and qualifying with the difficulty whacked up higher and across nearly 25 minutes races I’m still finishing with s few tenths of other riders so the racing is so tight you could throw a blanket over the lot of them as an old BBC commentator used to say. 

Sometimes getting a fast enough time while staying on the racing line is quite a challenge.

The three development tests are a track affinity test where you follow the dynamic racing line to learn a track but you have to be fast enough to pass the test at the same time for 2 laps. A 5 lap race simulation, just do 5 laps at a certain pace and qualifying simulation, do 2 quick laps. Each test has 3 levels of passing and you earn more research points for doing better.

For the most part the AI will qualify around a second a lap quicker than their race pace which is new for this game thanks to them having to deal with tyre wear. Sometimes much like real life the race pace will actually be faster than qualifying and this is due to the track rubbering in over the weekend and providing more grip. The races themselves will more often than not be closely fought affairs with lots of last lap battles. One note is that if lots of riders keep crashing in strange ways at the start of the race, restart the game and it fixes that problem.

Stealing 3rd on the one from last bend.

Throughout the season you’ll gain reputation for your results, the higher your reputation combined with how good your manager is the more teams will be interested in you. You can try and negotiate deals for the following season at any point but there’s a small period in which you’ll receive offers from other teams before you can’t negotiate with them for the remainder of the season. This period annoyingly ends before you can negotiate with your current team. Luckily if a team becomes interested in you after this period you can negotiate with them. 

You can try and get more money in contract negotiations to in turn hire better staff.

So that’s career mode, it is a massive leap forwards compared to last year and a mode by itself that’ll keep you playing a long time even if you start on the MotoGP class with the shortest 25% races. It just a huge shame that the custom teams aren’t so much create a team as choose a colour scheme, it’s still cool you can pick a colour scheme for your bike if you’d rather that than ride for an official team but it would have been amazing if you could name a team, pick a title sponsor, cover the bike in other sponsors, do a deal with a manufacturer to provide bikes and hire a team mate even if you could only hire Red Bull Rookies. I suppose we can hope for next year.

A huge thank you to Milestone and Koch Media for providing the review code. MotoGP is available now as a code in a box and on the Nintendo eShop for £39.99/$39.99/€49.99 and at for a reduced amount £28.99 at the time of writing.

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