There hasn't been an abundance of good titles out on the Xbox over the last few months, lets be honest about it. Moto GP is one of those titles that has really just crept up on us...a few months ago it looked like it was just going to be another basic racing game, but how close to the truth is that? Read on and find out:
Based on the immensely popular sport of Grand Prix Motorcycle racing, MotoGP is an ultra-realistic bike racer for the Xbox which puts you, the player, behind the handle-bars of some of the meanest, fastest, most thrilling machines on two-wheels. With a variety of innovative gameplay elements, supported by amazing graphics and revolutionary technical features, MotoGP brings the perfect mix of speed, style, bravery and technology to your Xbox console.
Installation, Settings and Loading Speeds
Racing titles have a tendency to take quite a while to load a lot of the time. Moto GP is no exception, it takes about 20 seconds to load up into the main menu the first time around. Each level/track takes about 20 seconds to load too, but as each game can last upwards of 10 minutes it isn't really all that long to wait.
I can't really recall a Motorbike game that was actually good on any format. So I'm sure like many others I wasn't expecting much from Moto GP, but I'm pleased to say that I have been proved very wrong, the game was excellent even for a motor biking beginner like myself.
The game has a bunch of different game modes, the main being the simulation mode as the arcade mode is something you can just play anytime you want to. The training mode starts off with you setting up a new biker, you get a set amount of stat points to use on various skills such as braking, acceleration, cornering and top speed. You then get to take part in skill events that work on those specific skills, once you complete each event (there are about 5 in each of the skills) you get more points added on to your stats, thus you will be ready for the proper races by having better cornering, speed etc. Completing various bits in training also unlocks new bikes, tracks and outfits. If you wanted to, you can skip training and go straight into a championship, but if you do then you won't have the skills to compete as well as you would have by completing the training modes and racking up the skills.
The main mode of the game is the Grand Prix Championship, you travel around the world racing for top spot, you win points for the place you finish, and if you finish with enough points you could even end up winning the Championship come the end of the season. In the arcade mode you play against the clock, you can do wheelies etc for more points if you fancy it too. Then there is the two player split-screen mode too, which is great fun at first, but you can get a bit bored with it later.
Multiplayer is excellent fun and can be played with up to 3 other friends in split screen mode, or via the Xbox link up system on a number of TV's so you don't have to all sit around one screen and destroy your eyesight looking in one corner for too long. The game also has lots of things to customize, leathers, bikes etc can all be changed in color, with over 160 different colors to choose from.
The in-game controls are very easy to get used to, for a start you can play the game very well with just the basic controls which are left, right, throttle and brake, it isn't the best way to play as you also have front and back brakes to use if you want to but it works very well for beginners. The different dynamics of the front and back brakes make a lot of difference when you are trying to take corners in the game. You can also push forwards on the controller to have your biker reduce drag and increase top speed and that sense of speed is possibly the best I have seen in any racing title as the environment starts to blur around you.
Graphics & Sound
One word sums up the graphics, superb. They are some of the best seen on the Xbox and easily rival those seen in Rallisport Challenge. The frame rate is as smooth as can be, riders look very highly detailed leaning to the sides when you turn, gesturing when you overtake or get overtaken. There is also some excellent mist effects used during the races, especially when racing on a wet surface, easily the best use of water spray in any racing game that I have seen.
Sound is also pretty good, the bikes makes all the sounds you expect them to, fans cheer at you as your bike past them, and all of this is done through Dolby Surround (if you have the setup). The music didn't impress me much, techno tracks don't do it for me, but I guess that is what most people expect to be hearing in a racing game, but I am pleased to say that you can change the soundtrack to one of your own if you wan to
Overall Moto GP excels, it looks fantastic, sounds good, is easy to get to grips with and best of all it plays superbly. An excellent Xbox title, which are being increasingly difficult to find with each new release. Get it.