SBK 22 is a motorbike racing game based on the real-life Superbike World Championship, featuring the same teams, liveries, and racers. It was developed and published by Milestone S.r.l., with a release day of September 15, 2022. You can play a solo career with a character you create or head to the online multiplayer arena to challenge other players.
Straight off the bat, I want to tell you that this game isn’t easy, especially if you’re a newcomer to this genre or type of gameplay. Motorbikes are more challenging to control than racing cars, which means you’re more likely to wipe out on the track. If you want to know how well I did and what to expect, stay tuned for more details in my SBK 22 review.
Are you the new champion for SBK 22?
It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a decent SBK game, and now there’s a new one on the market. SBK 22 presents many of the features you’ll find in similar racing games. Here’s a small disclaimer: while I’ve played a few motorbike games in the past, I much prefer ones with cars, such as Need for Speed and Formula 1. My review comes from someone with little experience with the motorbike racing scene — as you’ll be able to tell below.
Starting your SBK 22 career
It’s time to begin your career as an SBK 22 racer. Before you head to the main screen, you have a chance to change your character’s appearance and bio. It’s the same details that will go with you into the Career mode, so choose wisely. Once you’re done, the main dashboard loads with several options. The main story campaign is the Career section.
Factories and teams
You’re almost ready to head out and hit the SBK 22 track with winter testing. First, you’ll need to decide which factory to join. Also, the game asks you which team you want to be part of. They’ll sponsor you with a motorbike to get started. From there, you’ll have several contracts available, each with different goals and financial rewards.
Carving your path towards becoming champion
With all these options selected, you’re ready to start your SBK 22 career. You can make some changes at the factory or skip weeks until you enter an event. There are testing weekends to get your bike right, and other weekends host the races.
When you’re ready, you’ll head to the actual track to start practicing and qualifying for the race. You’ll need to set the fastest times to start up front. You earn points for your position at the end of the race, which tallies up to the final championship points.
Online racing lobbies
If you want to take a break from the SBK 22 career mode, you can play online races against other players. Your first option is to join a lobby that already exists. Alternatively, you can create a lobby for others to join. At the time of this review, it was too early for the multiplayer section to be active, so I was unable to join anyone in an online race.
How many stages are there in SBK 22?
There are 12 rounds in SBK 22 in different locations, while there are 24 racing spots available. It’s challenging to put a time for how long it will take you to complete the career mode. If you practice, qualify, and race for each level, one stage can easily take you over an hour to complete, if not more.
SBK 22: Racing around the track
Here comes the tricky part of my SBK 22 review. Since I’m more of a car racer, learning how to race motorbikes for the first time was challenging. The developer definitely didn’t design the game for newbies. It’s time to share my gameplay experience with you.
SBK 22 racing lessons
Before you head to the Career or multiplayer sections, SBK 22 asks you if you’d like to play the tutorial to get the hang of the controls. There are beginner and advanced training areas. Besides showing you how to play, you’ll also receive tips for cornering and braking at high speeds.
I wasn’t able to complete the tutorials. I struggled with how the bike handled on the track and failed the second lesson. It required me to stay on the line and finish within a time limit, which I finally succeeded in doing after an hour of trying.
When I told it to continue, it replayed the lesson instead and wiped my tick from the board. Infuriated that it didn’t want to acknowledge my success, I rage quit the tutorial.
Hitting the track, literally
I was able to play the Career mode without completing the tutorials. It’s clear the lessons are there for a reason, as I ended up wiping off the track several times. The issue is with the braking and cornering; well, for me anyway.
Even if I start applying both front and rear brakes long before the blue indicator line turns red, I still manage to turn into the corner and crash off the track. I swear, I could start braking from the other side of the country, and I would still fail to take a sharp corner.
Hyperboles aside, I’m used to F1 cars responding as I like when I hit a corner. You brake and slow down, aim for the apex, and then hit the throttle as soon as you exit. Not with SBK 22. You brake, and brake, and brake, and eventually release the brake so you can corner…just to keep going ahead off the track. Your character leans to the side like he’s cornering for his life, and yet you still go off.
You would think the gameplay assists would be of some help in SBK 22. While it has a setting for using both brakes simultaneously with one button, you’ll still need to brake long before you reach the corner. The on-track line indicator is useless, as you need to brake ages before it tells you if you want to make the corner. If you wait until it turns yellow, it’s too late.
Keyboard vs controller
Using the controller for SBK 22 was easier for me. It allowed me to use the triggers to control how much throttle I wanted to apply, which you can’t do on a keyboard. Racing games in general perform better with a controller. However, nothing helped me perfect those corners unless I was crawling like a snail and losing valuable time.
Setting up your bike in SBK 22
When you’re in the pits/garage or at your factory, you can make minor adjustments to your bike. Since I know nothing about superbikes or what changes to make, I steered clear of it. Veterans of motorcycle racing will have an easier task of establishing a winning setup, so it’s clear this game isn’t made for beginners.
Climbing the ranks
The objective of SBK 22 is to collect as many points on race weekend and rise in the championship ranks. You can restart the weekend or event as many times as you like. If you crash, you can use a rewind button to go back and try the corner again. At least you can keep trying until you’re satisfied with the results.
Games like SBK 22
There are many other racing games I can recommend over SBK 22, mostly where they don’t involve motorbike track racing. F1 2022 is on the top of my list to get, which was released in July this year. If you enjoy some offroad action, try MX vs. ATV Reflex for a change of pace. At the moment, I’m obsessed with Need for Speed: Heat and unlocking more cars and accessories.
SBK 22 PC requirements
If you want a decent run in SBK 22, you’re going to need a high-performing graphics card to handle the visuals and effects. You’ll also need quite a bit of storage, but I wouldn’t say it’s a lot. Playing it on Windows 11, I didn’t experience any lag in performance.
- OS: Windows 10
- Processor: Intel Core i7-6700 (4 * 3400)/ Ryzen 5 3550H (4 * 2100)
- Graphics: Radeon R9 390X (8192 VRAM)/GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (6144 VRAM)
- DirectX: Version 11
- Memory: 8 GB RAM
- Storage: 12 GB
Realistic visuals and sounds
The one element of SBK 22 you’ll probably not pay much attention to while racing is the surrounding environment. If you can peel your eyes away from the track for a moment, you’ll discover how many details there are. Even the garage and factory have beautiful visuals.
Realistic visuals and liveries
Where SBK 22 outshines the competition is with the liveries and visuals. It will look like you’re on a real superbike, racing down the track with the fans adoring you. Even the racers look pretty good, in the factory and on the bike.
Beautiful tracks and environments
The tracks and buildings also look spectacular in SBK 22. You might want to pull over to the side and just spend time admiring how much work the developers put into the game. There are even dirt run-off areas for when you go off the track, which you’ll do plenty of. Even crashing presents realistic visuals.
Fans of the real SBK 22 championships will love the sound of the engine around the tracks. You’ll hear it rev high and low as you take corners and speed on the straights. The pits also have accompanying realistic sounds, while you wait anxiously to get back on the road.
Final Verdict of SBK 22
As you can tell from my SBK 22 review, I have mixed emotions about the racing game. On the one hand, I want to enjoy it as much as the Formula 1 series. The excitement of winning the championship is there, but there’s just too much frustration. I feel like I need training wheels just to get the hang of slowing down and turning bikes into corners. If you’re used to motorbike games, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy the bikes and tracks.
There are other games I’ve reviewed that I enjoyed more, which you can see on my Shaun M Jooste Softonic page. You’ll also see guides and news listed there. My favorite games I’ve reviewed so far are Metal Hellsinger, Mirror Forge, and Dune: Spice Wars.
- Based on real tracks and racers
- Presents realistic graphics and physics
- Career provides a progressive experience
- Stunning sounds and effects
- Handling can be challenging even on easy
- Tutorial doesn’t really help
- Not for newcomers to the motorbike racing scene
Developer: Milestone S.r.l.
Publisher: Milestone S.r.l.
Game Modes: Single-player, Multiplayer
Platform reviewed: Windows 11 – Steam