“ Genre: Racing / Driving, Rating: E - (Everyone),Manufacturer: THQ „
Most people at some point have probably played a car game at some point and be used to the way you need to drive in them. Having only two wheels makes for a very different driving experience and a totally different driving style. You need to be very smooth, and getting the correct line is more important than having high speed. This does take some getting used to, but is rewarding when you master it.
The controls are very straight forward, with the steering on the left stick and accelerate and brake with the A and B buttons (or the triggers if you are very competent if you want a front and back brake separate but this isnt really necessary). You can also save a few tenths off your lap by leaning into corners, leaning down on the straights and sitting up when braking this also allows you to do wheelies, which never get dull!
A nice touch on this game is the corner indicator which shows what type of corner is coming up next and allows you to position yourself for it. This also means you can quickly learn a new track easily.
There are four difficulty modes in MotoGP which I feel are well spaced out. On rookie mode, even the first time you play the game, you can fall over a few times and still have a good chance of winning. By the time you get to Champion and Legend mode, even the smallest error could ruin your race, and your opponents are ruthless as the AI improves. Unlike some games, this really does have a level for everyone, and even the best gamers will be challenged.
There are two main areas to this game, the Moto GP, and the Extreme races, which are totally different but both good in their own ways:
You are able to race on all 17 circuits of the 2006 season (Jerez, Estoril, Shanghai, Le Mans, Mugello, Catalunya, Assen, Laguna Seca, Donnington, Sachsernring, Brno, Motegi, Sepang, Losail, Philip Island, Istanbul, Valencia). Some of these tracks are very tricky and challenging
The drivers, bikes and liveries are also meticulously recreated onscreen in fantastic detail for the 2006 season (you can also choose the 2005 season if you want to live in the past!)
Each race allows you to practice, a ten minute qualifying period, and finally the race (and you can change the distance from 1 to 30 laps whenever you want during the season). There are also two challenges on each circuit in which you can earn driver credits, such as follow the leader, time trials and speed tests which can be very tricky and extremely frustrating
Winning races also earns you driver credits. You are able to use these to improve your cornering, braking, top speed and acceleration. You are also free to distribute these how and when you want, so on tight circuits, you can weight the cornering attribute more heavily etc to help improve your lap times.
The bikes are very unforgiving and you do need to develop a smooth style of accelerating and braking to achieve the fastest times. Staying on the black stuff is vital as bikes as gravel traps dont really mix!
This is extreme road racing at its best! There are three sections to this part of the game; 600cc, 1000cc and 1200cc each section allowing you faster bikes (but you have to earn the prize money first to be able to buy these faster bikes!). The format to qualifying and the race is the same as in GP.
However, this part of the game can only be opened once you complete your first season in MotoGP which is a strange decision from the developer.
The racing is done on fictitious circuits around the world from driving across the Charles Bridge in Prague to remote mountain sides. Again the graphics and level of detail are superb. While some of the circuits are better than others, in general, they are all relatively easy, allowing you to pick them up quickly and have better races. You are also able to use your prize money to buy new and improved parts for your bike, or even save up and buy a whole new bike.
The controls for the Extreme mode are the same as for the GP mode, but the bike feels totally different. The bike is much more forgiving and allows you to thrash it around the track much more. By double tapping brake, you are able to start a power slide, allowing you to take corners on the edge at a much faster speed.
I have enjoyed playing on the extreme mode more than the GP mode, probably because you have to be less precise in your driving, and powersliding round a corner at 150 miles an hour is great fun!
The sound of the bikes is very realistic, especially if you have surround sound, from the sound of gears changing, to leather skidding across tarmac at 100mph. Talking of which, as you only have two wheels, it is quite easy to fall off however this never damages any more than your pride (and a couple of seconds to your lap) and you are able to get back on personally I think it would have been nice if you could have damaged your bike / yourself if you fell over too often.
A couple of other nice features are the ability to do time trials and race on the circuits in reverse, instantly doubling the number of tracks as some of them drive very differently the other way round and is rather disconcerting! You are also able to do Quick Races as any driver on any track
As seems to be the theme with a number of Xbox 360 titles, your bike is highly customisable, from the helmet and leathers to the liveries on your bike. You can fiddle around putting logos all over yourself for hours and never quite get what you want. You can only do a limited amount of customisation to the bikes mechanics such as brake balance, wheel base and tyre compound. Only on the highest difficulty modes do these even make the slightest difference
The replay system seem ok, but not particularly intuitive, and it is too easy to exit the replay by hitting the stop button when you simply meant to change camera angle. You also can only see replays at the end of a race and not part way through it which is a shame,
Overall this is a great game which offers both a highly authentic sim and a good old fashion racer in the same box. The level of detail on the bikes and circuits is really good and makes good use of the 360s power, especially with the lighting. The main drawback of this game is that the Extreme mode is locked until you complete a GP season, but if you spend a few hours going through a season, you will be rewarded with the enjoyable extreme mode. The way that the rest of the game is locked away until you achieve certain things is good, its just a shame you cant race in Extreme mode from the start.
If you like a good realistic 4 wheeled racing sim, you wont be disappointed with MotoGP and it is vast so you wont get bored 8/10