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Featured Motorsport Manager: The RD Review

Discussion in 'Motorsport Manager' started by Lorenzo Bonder, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    After a successful iteration on the mobile devices, Playsport Games brings their desktop version to PC and MacOS to add more depth and variation into Management driven games.

    In the world of Management style games, a few handful of games manage to obtain great success, not only with the critics but specially with the player audience. And only the "strongest" manage (not pun intended) to survive, thrive, have further installments and gather a wider audience. The best examples over the years are Football Manager and Out Of The Park Baseball. Both games have managed to capture by storm their respective niche and still come out with better iterations year by year, bringing consequently a bigger audience towards their games.

    One of the niches in Management games that was heavily left out or lacked a game that defined the specific genre was the racing management games. The truly last great game in the genre was Grand Prix World when it came out in 1999, so the void is quite big. Note that GPW still is supported by devoted communites around the internet by releasing new, modern seasons to the game so that the players that still play it can enjoy, but compared to FM and OOTP it just can't be on their same level anymore. Therefore, now that this void exists we ask: who can come in and sucessfully fill that gap? We've had many and many games that tried but failed. Out of the blue, one new challenger comes out and tries this gap.

    Motorsport Manager could be an answer. But can it really stand out among its competitions and reign supreme in this small, yet, potentially big niche we have? For now, yes. And I'll tell you why.

    Right off the bat, the game interface looks really slick, very easy for a new gamer to understand and navigate, the information is easily displayed on screen and it's not hard to get lost into the menus, options and such. It's very simplistic and straightfoward. MM, gives you right off the bat on the main menu 3 options of gameplay: The traditional Career mode, single race and a challenge mode. While the 2 latter modes offers you plenty of fun for a long, long time and a challenge as well, MM shines in its main mode.

    20161201033758_1.jpg The menus are easy to locate as access, making the player gaming experience very smooth.

    The career mode is quite simply a brilliant take on what a Formula Team Manager does in real life in F1, GP2, F3 and other open wheel categories. Everything that the game did right in the mobile version was successfully carried over to the PC version. From the get go, you can select any of the championships and any team that runs those championships. That itself sets, in a player choices fashion, the game's difficulty. So, if you want to pick the best team in the World Motorsport Championship or the worst in the European Racing Series, you'll be somewhat setting the course on how you'll progress in your career to get to very top of the racing pile.

    At first, each season will start with a certain amount of races. ERS starts with 10 races, APS with 12 and WMC with 16, but those championships are all flexible, so in one season you can have 10 races (I'm grabbing ERS as an example) and on the next one (decided by vote, done by all participating Team Mangers) you can have 11 races in the season. And the main objective of the first few races, aside from attempting to acheive the chaiman and sponsors objectives is survive those races. Why? Simple, all cars parts are somewhat fragile and eventually will reach a danger red zone, that zone being in the range of 20% of the part total reliability condition. Car maintenance is key to avoid backmarking positions. One other feature which massively helps the driver special skills. Each driver has at least two level of them, unlocked by sticking with his race mechanic/crew chief longer and achieving good results with him/her.

    All mentioned above is vital for a good campaign but the key to success is car upgrades. While the lower tiered championships have spec parts to balance the whole grid and cut costs, some parts are upgradeable and that's up for the car lead designer to build. The designer can build parts based on the following levels: Average, Good, Great, Epic & Legendary. In low tier teams, mainly in the ERS, you'll find trouble to build parts better than Good due to the lack of HQ facilities. You need facilities to unlock building better parts. Also, the Lead Designer can have special traits per level that can allow the user to build "joker" stats into the part, such as a performance upgrade during a certain session or an increase of performance and/or increase the max potential of the part to a cost of a decrease in reliability or a risk level of being caught by the GMA in the Post Scruteneering Check after every and each race. The risk levels offer major upgrades, but in counterpart offer a +1 risk factor level when the GMA stewards inspect your car post race. If caught, a position penalty + a hefty fine is applied to the faulty team. This is to replicate what F1 teams try to do, find breaches in the current F1 car development regulamentation so they boost their car performances but at the same time putting their legality into dispute, just like what Brawn GP did with the "double" diffuser in 2009, '79 Brabham's BT46B "fan-car", the use of Traction Control by several teams in '94 and most recently the tyre pressure heating device that was found the Mercedes vehicle (mainly, other teams found other ways) in this 2016 season.

    Everyone, from the player (in the Manager position) to Race Mechanics will have a respective set of skills, all ranging from 0 to 20. Per example: Drivers will have skills, such as: Smoothness, Overtaking, Cornering, etc.; Race Mechanics have Pit Stop, Part Fixing, Reliability, Performance, Chemistry and Concentration as skills and the Manager have the Financial, Loyalty and Race Management. While most of the staff skills increase overtime and is boosted by building HQ facilities or can be decreased with age overtime, only the player Manager skills is progressed through your actions and results during your career. Stats will increase if you're doing well, spending well and mantaining staff happy and will decrease if otherwise. On the same page, just because a Manager has a team doing well on its Championship, that doesn't mean his job is safe, failing to meet the chairman's expectations every race will put the Manager's place in danger and could be removed from his position either on the end of the season or even mid-season.

    Your team race car needs constant improvement and new parts in order to be a front of the pack grid. Beware of the budget though!

    Money is a big talking point in Management style games and in Motorsport Manager is no different. Everything that you spend will matter at one point, for better or worse. One thing is obvious, however: survive an entire season without any sponsors is next to impossible. Doable? A huge maybe, but you'll have to contend yourself in probably being the red for the whole time. Maybe saving a lot of money and going with a low tier car perhaps? Sure, but then the reward will be smaller in the end of the season and the chairmans objective might not be accomplished and your job will be at risk. Every season beginning you get a certain amount of budget to spend on car parts, HQ facilities and staff. All of the previously mention will take a chunk out of your budget and combined on how much you spend on your race budget, you might lose or win money in the end. Sponsors also play a role here, as you can aim for either two objectives: quick cash with no to low race payout and the opposite, no to low cash entry with big race to race payout. You get to choose 3 sponsors of this type and also you can select 3 sponsors that provide you bonus payouts with also having the possibility of an entry money. However, the bonus are based on race results and the higher it is and the more prestigious the sponsor is, the bigger is the reward. So, in a nutshell it all comes down on how you wanna play out with your money.

    20161201033640_1.jpg Money management is a key factor in the game and it's not an easy game to play with.

    Races can be played out in the following sets: just a Race session or a Qualify + Race session. Regardless of how it's carried out, Practice happens prior to Qualify or Race. The real game for points, glory and greatness begins here, finding a proper car setup that fits the drivers needs becomes something sort of a guessing and fine tuning game. A good tip is to look prior to joining the track session what is mostly needed or recommended in the Sponsor selection and Car Parts Set review. Nevertheless, depending on how long your Practice session is, that could really become a frustrating attempt at finding that winning setup. The upside is that per season there is a possibility of a group vote to get longer practices, but the contrary as well, so it would be good to have a good knowledge of the track, the layout it's being run in before coming into the session. However there are a few downsides though, the setup sometimes were clunky, where a not good setup would eventually get you in a good fighting spot even if the drivers level isn't all that good. Plus, cars while being lapped or lapped down aren't too smart and can get in the way of the race in a very annoying fashion. I, who write this, for one lost a race due to a backmarker being in the way of my car and the 2nd place overtook me in the final lap. It can become utterly frustrating this occurrence, though this is being addressed and fixed.

    Qualify session is a tad bit frustrating. First it's because it is a two step mini-game where the player must build up the tyre & brake temperatures to the closest level of perfect performance and pray to the dear Baby Jesus that traffic don't get in the way. First, it's frustrating as you decide the driver's pace nearly the entire out lap and the chance of getting an overheated brake or a cold tyre is big, getting them on good or perfect levels is not easy. And then, as I mentioned, the traffic. Most specifically the out lap or in lap cars are the worst since they are going on a much slower pace than the rest of the hot lapping drivers and can take a huge amount of precious time out of the hot lapping driver, specially in the final minutes of qualify, so timing's a must in qualify. Tyre management and fuel management modes play also an important role here as this will decide on the drivers pace throughout the race as a higher pace combined with a high tyre wear pace could mean more tyre heat, more wear and also more fuel consumed, resulting in less stint laps and possibly more pits needed, so race strategy is key. Before of each session start you can do final adjustments on the setup, tyre selection and before the Race begins, you can choose the amount of fuel that the driver will carry. Be mindful of possible race incidents as well, such as car collision resulting in the immediate replacement of body parts and possible penalties, safety cars, virtual safety cars and race ending collisions. All of this can happen in a race, so pay attention to your drivers performance. Also important to note is that usually the better cars will easily break away from the pack, resulting possibly in easier and more manageable races, so as mentioned before, cars improvement is a must. Weaker cars can pull big results here as well, but it's really rare and usually only the player's team is able to achieve such results, so I believe that's sort of a down.

    Find the right setup for the car can be a nuisance, but fitfully rewarding in the end. A good setup will bring the right results.

    All technicalities aside, the game looks really beautiful, the attention to detail to the track as in the track surface, surroundings, the crowd, object reflection. All is well done by the boys inside Playsport Games, without any major performances hiccups on the graphical side. The action is great inside the track, you really get the impression of a racing atmosphere while watching the racing sessions and also the challenge of playing the part of a Team Manager and "Race Driver". A few downsides though, excluiding the mentioned above is that I felt the interviews too much bland, with repeated questions the whole time, I'm tired of answering the same question over and over again and get the same results (chairman happy and driver morale increased, this in my case). Car livery can be improved, so we can use more colours than the ones which are given by default to us, specially when we look for to have a different livery set per season, innovate our race car look. Also, but this is something we dearly hope it will happen on further installments (if we get more installments, of course) is more racing categories, such as GT, Endurance, Touring Cars, Classics. Right now Motorsport Manager is restricted only to open wheel, F1-like cars. It's becomes monotonous after a while and rather dull.

    That said, for a first entry into the desktop world and into a current small and desperate for a flagship game niche as Racing Management games are, Motorsport Manager strikes big with promise, delivers a good, fun, long lasting experience and paves the way to what could possibly be the new standard in the genre for the years to come. What we, players and customers, have to do is wait and see if the improvements and additions will come overtime to makes us more joyful players and racing enthusiasts.
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  2. grahamw


    I enjoyed your candid and honest review having played several sports management sims in other genres this was my first venture in a motorsport sim.

    I think the lack of licencing might put some purist players off but I am sure in time modder's will change all that, already with very limited support to date this has started to happen all be it on a very limited scale thus far.

    I understand today the game has added more liveries to allow a wider variation on the exisiting cars and the possibilities for DLC in other forms of motorsport and cars, tracks are massive.

    If I am honest some of the best You Tube series in othermanagement sim games have been those with fictional names or at very least unknown names so don't let that put you off as the game is fun irrespective of authenticity.

    The game graphics are excellent and play well on a decent spec PC fitted with either an AMD or Nvidia graphics card but it seems not with integrated graphics so Intel users might be annoyed and this will be a challenge for laptop users as only very high end laptops have good enough graphic cards fitted.

    The actual game play has it's faults some of which are more annoying than others as you said but in principle the basics are there to be built upon with the possibility of the introduction of many types of motor racing to cover a multitude of bases.

    Just imagine Indy Car, GT, V8 Supercars and a whole host of others.

    I would say compared with the more established sims such as OOTP Baseball and Football Manager there is still a lot to build on and work to do. However those who criticise MSM should remember these other games have been going in excess of 10 years and certainly haven't always been as slick as they are now.

    Those games on the whole graphically still lag along way behind Motorsport manager which I find is of a very high standard.

    If you like being the driver of a true racing sim this won't float your boat but if you ever yearned to become the manager of your own race team this could bring hours of entertainment much like other sims do to their fans.
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  3. Lorenzo Bonder

    Lorenzo Bonder
    RD's Two Wheeled Driving Specialist Staff

    Plus: Editor's note:

    Those pictures is actually from my career in Silva Racing, going to race 2 in Season 5.

    Behold the deficit!
    • Like Like x 2
    • Haha Haha x 1
  4. Alexandre Costa

    Alexandre Costa

    I really enjoy the mobile version of the game and I'm considering buying the PC version. Thanks for the review.
  5. grahamw


    Alexandre you will find this is a proper game and not a port from the mobile game at all. There are few things which could be better but expect to find a day just disappears when you start playing where as the mobile game is more a gap filler by comparison.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Sunny Sky Speed

    Sunny Sky Speed
    You will never see me again, it's final now. Bye Premium

    Having played FM since 1999, yes that is almost 18 years ago, using only 3 titles (1999-2008-2013) of the game during that period, combined with being a virtual team owner (Sky Speed Sports) in Assetto Corsa....one can say I am the sim (manager) enthusiast. I am absolutely looking forward to this game, and with holidays ahead a real tempation to go and buy me a new era of manager excitement.
    Then again, I barely have the time to play AC, to manage my team, keep my website updated and keep my family happy at the same time....if I only were 16 again :whistling:
    It would mean I would have to replace other gaming time, and for now Assetto Corsa and FM are too much of excitement to be replaced by a "starting" manager game....but who knows one day:)
  7. Ryan_Lee


    Paying the drivers too much ;) i think i have drivers running about the $250k mark each (and won my last season). with a crappy reserve that i never use. Your reserve driver takes his rate regardless of whether he does anything or not.

    I have clicked up over 50 hours on the game since it was released which although isn't alot, having 2 jobs a partner and other games to play sucks up a bit. I was so enthralled in what was going on the last time i played, I played through an ENTIRE SEASON in one sitting (long races).

    I REALLY enjoy the game. There are bugs yes, but as mentioned before, time will fix this. Can't wait to see where the game is headed!
    • Like Like x 2
  8. Roughly, how long time does a season take?
    with Automobilista, Assetto corsa, RaceRoom, Dirt rally, dirt 3, F1 2016, i am struggling to focus on one sim :confused:
    But i really enjoyed MM on iOS and the 50% of the PC version is quite tempting.....
    Pull the trigger? :O_o:
  9. Ryan_Lee


    Mate it's addictive as. As you develop your car and team sometimes you can get right into it. I did youcan be quite meticulous and play through a whole season with long races in less then a day if you're committed. (6-8 hours)

    It's the long game you're after though. With the new patch and workshop, it's only going to get better.
    • Like Like x 1
  10. grahamw


    I have to agree MSM is probably as addictive as any other management sim of quality there is still masses of scope with the title including the mods there are possiblities for diffferent car types, tracks, game mechanics and it wouldn't even be a huge stretch to include motor bikes as well.

    I think the possible danger is the SIM racers are going to disappointed as it's very hands off in that respect but if you are the kind of person who would happily play for example football manager for a week or two you have the motorsport equivalent in MSM no it's not perfect but as games go it's started pretty well ahead.

    I doubt this needs to be an annual released title like FIFA or Football Manager but certainly the potential for add on DLC (and the subsequent mods of same) is massive. So far most mods are just data base mods and liveries but I expect in time we will get some more radical modding provided the game makers encourage it and make the tools available for it to happen.

    Enzoli's mod which you can find on Race Department is probably the best mod I have seen or played to date on this title but with the right support the sky's the limit..
  11. Yet another great title at a discounted price :geek:.
    First few hours just flew by without any sense of time, i can imagine what will happen when i've a day off
    Don't really mind getting away from AC, AMS, R3E, Dirt Rally, F12016' mid week (or even @ weekends) to sit back chill and just play MM :).