It’s been 18 months since Moto GP’s last video game outing and in that time the racing genre has moved on considerably with significant strides in graphical performance, but with a long-term goal to building more Western-focused franchises it’s reassuring to see that Moto GP 09/10 certainly hasn’t had any corners cut in its production.
Moto GP 08 receiving a mixed reception, fun to play in the 1 player mode the title lacked graphically and with a dire selection of online options leaving almost no room for longevity. A positive start but it certainly did not make the impact that Capcom has perhaps been hoping for. A change in design approach came with a change in developer, moving from Milestone to Monumental, this time giving the developer given more time to make the game we were all waiting for, so failing to release a title in ’09 it’s good to see Capcom include this in what would otherwise be the ’10 edition.
With my hands-on back in January, you’ll note my concerns with the handling, terrible oversteer when making slight alterations. The game has clearly been produced with a remit to making it appeal to the “casual” gamer and as we enter our review this was already a key concern. Starting the game and you’ll be presented by the usual rawky rock intro followed by some of the more standard options of Championship, Career, Arcade, Time Trial and Multiplayer. But first, we just want to dive as Valentino Rossi and hit some fun racing, of course, you’ll quickly learn that this is impossible.
Unfortunately, the 800cc Moto GP is locked requiring hours of riding the lower classes. This becomes both boring and frustrating making the early part of the Moto GP 09/10 nothing less than a chore and it really turned me off the whole package. Why the developers felt the need to lock the focal mode is anyone’s guess but it was certainly a bad move and for the casual gamer, you have to wonder how they will feel playing for hours just to get to use their favourite rider?
Handling is overwhelmingly disappointing, it’s not realistic, then again it’s not easy to play either. Horrible oversteer and no general feedback, after 300 laps I still can’t tell you it generates any real feeling, no sense of grip from the rumble, no limit to traction. It’s basic and designed entirely for the “casual” player but then these aren’t the players that would support the title long-term online. I expect this is a design decision via Capcom’s brief rather than purely Monumental’s approach, however it does feel as if a little too much has been made in the way of compromise.
The Arcade mode is somewhat curious, a scoring system that rates you on a number of factors such as racing line, top speed and clean sections, a throwaway mode but it didn’t really grab me. Then there is the Career mode, starting as a rookie you’ll need to work your way along, earning money, developing your bike and follow the whole lifestyle associated with it, and good fun it is too. Though qualifying can be strange at times, I’m putting in pole position laps yet bikes overtake me constantly and speed off into the distance, it’s all very disconcerting at times when you’re pushing for a good grid slot.
Online is where the 08 edition failed abysmally and the focus here is clear to see, turn on the game, sign in online and you’ll immediately see the current leading scores scrolling across the top of the screen. This sort of thing really boosts a community to get involved, once into an online lobby you’ll be requested to vote for the circuit besides laps and conditions you would like to race in. All of this hopefully coming together to make a fair racing experience, though on my experience staying in lobbies appeared to be an issue as the PS3 version seemed to keep kicking me out between races? Though at least lobbies contain a spectator mode, this is an aspect which should be included in any modern racing game.
Once in a race it’s all very enjoyable though, the basic racing models seem to give very little room for any personal driving style. However consistency is key, get into a rhythm, don’t crash and you should see yourself move nicely up the field and with up to 20 racers online, Moto GP excels, you really do feel part of a big event. With a range of leaderboards between besides the Online Career and Arcade, Moto GP seems to have this side well covered and with additional DLC to come there are lots for the committed players to look forward to.
Graphically the game runs at a superb 60fps, riders are detailed but the blur effect at high speed can sometimes feel slightly overkill, especially when rival riders moving at the same pace blur out. Tarmac surface textures are a touch bland, having watched the Malaysian GP as I type this you can see how turns 1 and 2 just don’t don’t feel the same. A similar feel to the circuit realisation, circuits have a bland feel, corners made easier, braking areas in real life no longer exist. Many mid speed corners are now full power, so clearly the whole look has had some sacrifices made to maintain the framerate. However it’s not all bad, some great spot effects and it’s nice to see touches as the dials on the bikes are all fully working, though it is somewhat curious how your riders arms disappear when in the first person view.
Moto GP performs well in the sound department, bike sounds are ok but lack any real presence or punch, you still can’t get away from the feeling that a 125cc seems to sound like a lawnmower on speed. Music fairs better, it’s an interesting selection with some great artists making the roster, a personal favourite of mine being the Boom Boom Satellites, some banging tracks.
Moto GP 09/10 is a solid game, the one player modes are comprehensive and the online options are a significant improvement, that backed up with regular DLC throughout the 2010 season is a very positive step in extending the titles longevity.
Apart from the dumbed down handling combined with it’s lack of subtlety, my big concern is how the game forces the player to go through hours of races with the lower 125 and 250cc classes before you can make it to the top class, and let’s face it, most of us will only ever want to ride as Valentino Rossi. So despite the range of improvements, many people may never even get to race the bikes they bought the game to play and in my eyes, that’s a critical error.
Certainly a big step in the right direction, but handling will need to be completely rewritten, no good for hardcore racers, unnatural for bikers and surprisingly difficult for beginners, Moto GP 09/10 is a game that never really knows where it’s at, a package with lots of potential but ultimately failing to deliver.
Moto GP 09/10 is a solid game, the one player modes are comprehensive, and the online options are a significant improvement, that backed up with regular DLC throughout the 2010 season is a very positive step in extending the titles longevity. Apart from the dumbed down handling combined with its lack of subtlety, my big concern is how the game forces the player to go through hours of races with the lower 125 and 250cc classes before you can make it to the top class, and let’s face it, most of us will only ever want to ride as Valentino Rossi. So, despite the range of improvements many people many never even get to race the bikes they bought the game to play and in my eyes that’s a critical error. Certainly a big step in the right direction, but handling will need to be completely rewritten, no good for hardcore racers, unnatural for bikers and surprisingly difficult for beginners, Moto GP 09/10 is a game that never really knows where it’s at, a package with lots of potential but ultimately failing to deliver.