True superbike racing has never been represented all that well on a home console. There have been some good arcade versions, but nothing sim fanatics could really sink their teeth into. Namco's changed that with MotoGP. Though the learning curve is a little steep, once you get the hang of the bikes in MotoGP you'll have a hard time going back to anything else. Whether you have Sim turned on or off, you'll have to let off the throttle and allow your rider to pop-up before each turn, then ease on the gas (thanks to excellent use of the analog buttons on the DS2) and lean hard into the turn. Little graphic extras like the sparks from a peg meeting the ground in a turn to the flowing locks of some of the riders as they scream down the straights really bring the package together nicely. In fact, the graphics are the strongest point of this game. As I played it a crowd would gather to watch, which is a rarity around here (or maybe I'm just that good). Either way. Namco has yet again brought out a topnotch racer that will immediately establish itself as one of the best in the first generation of PS2 software (which is growing more impressive by the minute). Oh, did I mention the awesome replay mode? It's hands down the best I've seen since I first laid eyes on Gran Turismo. With all the extra bikes and other goodies to unlock in this game (it is by Namco, after all), players can just keep coming back for more and more.
MGP is a cold starter but once you master the art of slicing comers and feathering the throttle, it gets highly addictive. Arcade fans will be turned off by the ultra-precise control but anyone with a shred of patience will love it. The phrase "using every inch of the track" really rings true. The best racing line takes you within inches of the grass- needless to say It's very intense. The only thing that disappoints me is the length of the game. Finishing the main season doesn't take too long. Opening up all the challenges does however, so in the end it balances out somewhat. Two*player is good, but it'd be nice if the other bikes took part. Otherwise the game is great.
I know it sounds weird, but I had to completely reprogram my brain in order to think "motorcycles" while playing this. Having spent the best part of the last 15 years enjoying just about every car-racing game ever made, suddenly being faced with the very different physics of a bike is quite a shock. And I guess, this shoot regardless of anything else, is indicative of how good MotoGP is. Bike-loons will love it, but I have a hunch that many of you will find it uncomfortable at first, especially in the ludicrously tough simulation mode. That said, like all Namco games, it's visually a very rewarding experience. Not as mainstream as RRV, but still cool.
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Anyone expecting Namco's next big PS2 racer to simply be Ridge Racer V on two wheels is in for a rude awakening. We got a chance to try out this bad boy recently and trust us, Moto GP will chew you up and spit you out if you're not careful. Featuring licensed bikes, drivers and real tracks from all over the world, this is a hardcore sim from start to finish. Hitting a turn too hard, or not apexing a curve properly is a surefire way to drop from first to last and end up agricultural racing through the gravel traps. The most impressive aspect of the game so far has to be the authenticity with which the tracks have been modeled. Comparing shots of the game engine and actual photos of each track reveals very few differences. Namco knows this is a genre rarely done justice on home consoles, and are trying hard to get it right.
Back before extreme sports started popping up, street bike racing was considered extreme. Nowadays people equate extreme sports with skateboarding, snowboarding and BMX racing. Well, call me old school, but I'll take a good dirt bike or street bike racing game over these other so-called extreme games any day of the week. Thanks to Moto GP, I now have a great street bike racing game to add to my collection.
Moto GP is a very accurate adaptation of the real sport of street bike racing. You will find no arcade physics or unrealistic jumps and obstacles. Think of this game as the street bike version of NASCAR Heat without the insane amount of tinkering under the hood. What you will find are very tight controls and bikes that require a steep learning curve to master. All of the courses in the game are modeled after real-life Grand Prix courses so every hair pin turn and long straightway allows you the opportunity to experience what real life riders experience.
The developers chose to go with a bike upgrading system that worked quite well. Instead of unlocking new bikes with better attributes, you pick a bike to start with and as you win races, you are awarded points to distribute between cornering, braking, top speed and acceleration. Your race finish position determines how many points you are awarded. The reason I even bring this up is because this game forced me to do the exact opposite of what I normally do when it comes to point distribution. Normally, I max out top speed and acceleration and worry about braking and handling last. I found the braking and corner was far more important in this game than top speed so most of my points went into those two skills. I actually found it refreshing to be forced into rethinking my strategies that I have used in games for years.
This game is not going to be for everyone, however. The steep learning curve, breaking old habits formed by more arcade style racing games, and the overall sim feel to the game may appeal only to the racing fans that prefer realism over insane jumps and power slides. While it is not as intricate as some of the NASCAR or INDY games out there, be prepared to invest a bit of time before mastering this one.
Welcome to the wild world of high-octane motorcycle racing. Enter the racing circuit and burn up your tires on 16 Grand Prix races, choose your rider, your country and which two-wheeled rocket that will either make you the fastest racer on two wheels or just another one of the faceless names who left 24 inches of skin on the track in Tokyo.
The first thing players will notice is how surprisingly smooth the frame rate is. This slick setup is complimented by a friendly and forgiving control scheme. Given the rate of speed and the winding tracks, navigating the bikes is done with an ease that makes me think the game makers wanted to play the game as badly as they wanted to make a quality cart.
The game offers a variety of options that make the game that much more worthwhile. Starting up, players can choose from the quick race, the time attack, the tournament and the Grand Prix. The quick race allows players to jump in and take one of several bikes for a spin. The time attack allows for a little friendly competition, as the object is to see who can have the single fastest lap time. The tournament allows for a completion of four leagues on increasingly difficult tracks and lastly, the Grand Prix. This is the mode genre players want to play for its adjustable difficulty and engaging points system. Players must remain competitive in order to finish first in the point standings.
This is a solid racing title for the GBA, the perfect game to either become deeply involved in, or start up and rock through a single race, not to mention one that fans of the racing genre will really eat up. Since motorcycle racing may not be for everyone, this game ranks in as fans only.