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MotoGP 09/10 - 360 - Review

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Posted by: Michael Lafferty

Gamezone Review Rating 6.5 Above Average

If you can’t find the line, you’ve lost. Period – end of story … Well, maybe not, but MotoGP 09/10 is about as unforgiving a motorcycle racer as they come.

First off, let’s address the title, to eliminate further confusion. Monumental Games, in concert with Capcom (the publisher) has included a rather robust number of races in this motorcycle-based title. The game includes all the MotoGP content from the 2009 championship season and because the intent is to have downloadable content from the 2010 season as it becomes available, you have a game that spans two seasons of hard-track motorcycle racing. That’s good news for fans of the series; in fact, it’s good news for anyone interested in the title. However, things are not all rosy with this game.

Let’s tackle some of the elements that are problematic – like the handling of the bike. There are several difficulty levels and the lower the difficulty, the less core management has to be done on the bike. In fact, at the lowest end, you simply have to know when to hit the accelerator button, when to back off the gas, when to brake, but most importantly, you have to learn to ride the line through the game (conveniently detailed with a green line on the track that will go red if you try to go into a corner carrying too much speed). Stray off the course and you will find gravel, grass and other terrain that is not conducive to keeping any kind of speed, and might even result in dumping the bike. Hit the accelerator too hard without a solid and well-timed nudge on the gearbox and you will life that front tire. Here’s a clue – motorcycle racing, on hard tracks, require two wheels to negotiate the tight turns. Having the CPU tell you that you are showboating (means that front tire is up) is not a good thing.

And speaking of going off-track … Hitting the gravel looks more like the game is on rails rather than a fluidly animated title. It’s stiff and reminiscent of those arcade games with the racer that almost looks like it is on the end of a stick. Ok, it’s not that bad, but the lean is odd and overdone at times and lacking in some realism. Leaning a bike as the speeds that are reduced by the gravel would not result of a more direct line back to the track; it would result in dropping the bike on it’s side and looking like a fool.

The career mode is the main focus of this game and there are some micro-management elements attached. The goal is to elevate your skills (which means learning to handle the bike better; this is not an RPG where points are earned to skill up characters and make the racing easier), put together a great team (the onus is placed on winning, because team members wish to be paid) and then win the championships. It starts off with the high ring-ding-ding whine of the 125cc bikes and then graduates up the line to the 800cc beasts. Each race follows the format of practice to become familiar with the track, qualifying and then the event. The race is essential, but the other events will help build the career rider’s reputation – which means better sponsors and bike manufacturers for better rides.

Ride well and reputation points are earned. Learn to slipstream and points are earned. Fumble and ride all over the track, banging into other riders and the reputation will go south in a hurry.

While the races themselves are decent, the overall feel of the game lacks that drive that beckons to keep racing, to keep trying.

There are a few caveats thrown into this – like the ability to rewind time during a race and avoid a crash, or try to negotiate a corner a bit differently to pick up more time. And there is an arcade mode for those who wish to go that route. Multiplayer is both split screen and online, though because GZ only received a debug/test unit code, online (yep, there are leaderboards) was not available.

Generally, though, the game just seems to have an average feel to it. The graphics are fine, but feel a little dull in places, and the audio is what one would expect.

MotoGP 09/10 has some elements that will certainly appeal to fans of the series. Those who have not played it before, or maybe are just looking for a title as an intro to console racing, may find other options more appealing.

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