MotoGP 09/10 Review (Xbox 360)
MotoGP 09/10 is a game which tries to straddle the line between arcade racing and true simulation. The game not only does an admirable job of mixing the two the styles of play, but it can be tweaked to be either/or, so MotoGP 09/10 might just appeal to a broader sect of racing fans than the average racing game.
The meat of this game is the very in depth career mode. Career mode allows you to own and operate a racing team which your duties include hiring staff members such as press officers, who help you find sponsors and engineers to help you upgrade your bike. The career mode is built on a reputation system, the better you qualify and place the more your reputation increases. The better your reputation the better staff you have available to hire.
The ultimate goal of course is to work your way up from the 150cc bikes, to the 250cc bikes and then finally the MotoGP series. This takes quite a long time to do. And while I don’t have a problem with making a player work their way up through career mode I do have a problem with the upper classes being locked in the other modes until you’ve earned them in career mode. There is no playing through a MotoGP season or 250cc season unless you’ve made it to those series in career mode. This is a major complaint of mine, but one each potential gamer can make for themselves when considering purchasing MotoGP 09/10.
While that can be considered a design flaw, on the track the game is sound. The bikes have a good feel to them, even if they are a bit a twitchy through the turns. A gentle touch will have riders leaning though the turns flawlessly. A big plus to the game is the ability to tune it to your style of play. If you want to have a brutally realistic experience you can turn off all the assists, like traction control or anti-lock brakes. This makes the bikes incredible hard to control, but will offer a rewarding challenge to those who desire the realism. Going in the other direction, you can turn on all the assists and maybe turn the difficulty down a notch and turn on the excellent racing line overlay for a little more help and still have a good time. There is also a rewind feature like the one found in Forza 3 which allows you do redo a part during the race where you made a mistake. The game is fun and challenging either way, usually the races are very close -- possibly due to some rubber band AI -- and feature lots of tight pack-racing.
On the track the only real issues to be found are the aforementioned rubber band AI, which sometimes just seem to have more horsepower than you for no real reason other than to catch up and make the races close. It’s a little annoying, but not too big of an issue.
The game shines graphically while on the track.
On the track, the game also shines graphically. The game looks great; the tracks are detailed, very smooth and offer good variety. The game also sports some really good looking rain effects though the rain doesn’t seem to affect the bikes handling. The drivers do look a little stiff in their animations, but that is not something that comes to light often. The game’s best aspect graphically is the true sense of speed it delivers. At top speed the sides of the screen black out just a bit to create a slight tunnel vision effect, which really emphasizes how fast you’re going and gives the gamer the feeling of being just on the edge of control. Unfortunately there is no damage modeling on the bikes, though being motorcycles I do not see much damage that could be done anyways. Still, without being able to damage your bike there is no really punishment for having an in-race collision since they do not often result in wrecks.
In the audio area there is not all that much to talk about. There is a small soundtrack that plays during the menus and races which I found not to my taste and very repetitive, but that’s something easily remedied with an MP3 player and a USB cable. The sounds of the bikes are fairly standard fare, with the high pitched whine of the engines sounding dead on accurate to my ears. In a career mode you get a race manager to guide along your career both during the race and outside of it. He’s helpful at the beginning, but pretty quickly wears out his welcome with his repetitive advice. After racing a full season does he really think I need help understanding the concept of qualifying?
If you want to take the game online you can race in a standalone race using either a real GP rider and their bike or you can use your own bike from career mode. That’s pretty much it aside from a leader board for lap times. Its pretty bare bones fare, but at least it is there.
MotoGP is sure to please motorcycle racing fans.
MotoGP 09/10 should please fans of motorcycle racing, since it provides a very realistic experience if you turn of all the assists that are on by default. It has plenty of tracks and riders and a very deep career mode, all of which should satisfy fans of this type of racing. It does have broader appeal to those just looking for a new experience. The assist and difficulty customization will ensure a gentle curve for newcomers and will allow them to jump right in and have fun.
On the track: Realistic, but not too twitchy or unforgiving.
Graphics: Great looking game, tremendous sense of speed and nice rain effects.
Entertainment Value: Very high with the deep carrer mode, even higher for fans of motorcycle racing.
Learning Curve: Perfect. It’s incredibly adjustable and racers of all skills should find a mix of settings that is challenging but not frustrating.
Online Play: Bare bones, with only single races available, though 20 bike fields are a plus.
Score: 8.0 (Good)