MotoGP has been around the track for many years now and if you have ever taken it for a spin then you know that it’s one of those games that people either love to hate or hate to love. The series has seen a turn around since some of the previous lackluster titles with publisher Capcom and developer Monumental Games at the helm. But can MotoGP 09/10 overtake the competition? Or is it destined to be just another racer getting lapped?
Riding a motorcycle at a blazing speed in the triple digits is a thrill that few get to participate in during the course of our lives, so the virtual participation needs to accurately convey that experience in order to draw the player in. MotoGP does exactly that. From the first roar of the engine, the player knows that they are in for one hell of a ride. Once the race starts the adrenaline sets in and the desire to win is overwhelming. The only problem with achieving this goal is that the controls take some getting used to.
I raced around the default track over and over. And over. And over. Yet I still could not figure out how to accurately keep my rider on the bike and going at top speed. Unnerved I decided to entire career mode anyway and kept at it. While I eventually started getting a consistent 10th place or so, the desire to win was no longer there. Now I was merely competing to see if I could hold on to my 10th place crown, rather than try and move up. The game has various options available to you in order to help you learn how to race and (hopefully) increase your skill, but these started to become more of an annoyance than a help.
The depth of customization available is quite amazing. You can name your rider, your team, change the colors and styles of your bike and clothes, and eventually hire and (maybe fire) personnel. After my first race when I realized how bad I was going to be at the game I decided to name my team “Phailure” and my rider “E. Pic Phail” and it was quite humorous seeing my name in the racing line up every time (for those of you out there with a little less class I can only imagine the hi-jinx you are going to get into.) Once you actually perform decent on the track you can start to use your hard earned money to buy bike upgrades by hiring people to work on the different parts of your bike. You earn greater money through overtaking, slipstreaming and showboating on the track. Collisions and crashes are detrimental to your overall total so it’s important to be precise but not pushy.
Visually the game looks good. It has the traditional “speed equals blurriness” present in pretty much every racing game ever, along with “kicking up dust” when going off the track. The locales are fairly detailed compared to their real-world counterparts and offer a nice change of scenery up until you are forced to play the same track over and over.
The game’s audio is about what you would expect from a motorcycle sim: lots of engine noise and the cheers/jeers from the crowd. The soundtrack is licensed but sounds overtly generic. At the least I’m glad they chose to avoid the traditional music overused in games like this such as “Click Click Boom” and other racing-inspired tunes.
Overall MotoGP 09/10 does a lot of things well but unfortunately caters more to the hardcore racing audience rather than trying to include casual players also. A lot of fun can be had once you clear the step learning curve, but many players will probably give up trying after a couple of hours. With a ton of promised downloadable content, the game definitely has re-playability for those who choose to stick with it. For the brave and determined of you out there, see you at the race.
- Matt W.