The MotoGP series has been a staple in gaming for quite a few years now. Amazingly it continues to generate a following, and even more impressive is that each year the games get progressively better, under the radars of most gamers. This year’s interpretation is by far one of the best in recent memory with the addition of a newly structured career mode, improved online functionality and a tweaked handling system that makes careening your bikes around those sharp corners all the more enjoyable. If you have been a fan of the series to date, this is by far the biggest leap it has made in quite a few years.
Anyone who has been following the series for a while will know that the series just recently changed hands a few years back with Capcom handling the publishing rights. This is the third effort from this particular team and the first one to feature an ample amount of upgrades to the basic formula. The most prominent is of course being the restructured career mode.
Developer Monumental has gone above and beyond the call of duty to make MotoGP 09/10 one of the most user-friendly games I have come across in some time. It reminds me of an amalgamation of several other slick designs that combine excellent feedback and plenty of hand-holding to get you into the game. The narrator does a fantastic job of taking you through the motions at the beginning of the game to teach you basics such as dual-braking, racing lines and the way the system works. Once you dive in he also breaks down how sponsors work, how to customize your bike and rider, plus just being supportive when you get owned in the first couple of races. And trust me you will be humbled within the first few outings.
There are several difficulties to the game, and you may be tempted to go with easy off the bat, especially if you are new to the genre, but trust me stick with at least normal. The reason being is that while you will not dominate the field early on, once you build up your bike the competition will quickly start to even out. This is also one area where MotoGP will make or break for you depending on your level of patience. The learning curve in this game is monstrous. Learning how and when to use each brake and constantly knowing when to utilize the button to tuck your rider are crucial to winning races. This isn’t a game where holding the accelerator button down on the easiest difficulty will net you wins here and there; instead you will have to learn racing lines, braking tactics and much more to become even decent at it.
Thankfully the reward is great. The game really makes you earn you victories and such, and earning them is satisfying to say the least. The first time you nail a corner with your knee dragging on the ground you really feel accomplished. This is great for those willing to sink the time it requires into the experience. The game does balance a fine line between realism and arcade mechanics that will also throw some of the more hardcore fans for a loop. For instance smashing into another rider at 80mph does not always result in a violent crash. You can also avoid using the front brake as much by exploiting hitting other riders to soften your turns. Of course this results in penalties on your score making earning the coveted A grade near impossible.
In addition to the standard career mode you also have the traditional supplements to keep you coming back. Time Trial mode and a bevy of multi-player, both online and off, should keep you coming back for quite some time. My only qualm with the online mode is that in order to race the beefier bikes above 125 and 250cc you have to spend quite a bit of time in career mode unlocking them. Once we managed to get into a game online (as you can imagine it is pretty barren right now) the lag was basically non-existent and the ability to play with up to 20 players is awesome. That is when you can actually get 20 players in the same room at the same time.
It is near impossible to fault MotoGP based on its merits as it does nearly everything right for fans of the sport. The improvements included will please fans and the fact that Capcom has already promised future DLC to support the coming season, it is hard not to recommend this title to those that have been following it since its inception. You definitely know what you are getting into beforehand, and the improvements in this year’s version definitely make it worth the price of admission.
Review copy provided by publisher.