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.