Arcade breakthrough for MotoGP

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Alejandra Rangel
@alejandrarangel
Author and references

Version tested: PlayStation 3

A winning team does not change, or so it should be. Entrusted to the capable hands of Milestone (which, to be honest, certainly does not seem to have put all its effort into the operation), the MotoGP series recorded an increase in sales of approximately 18% compared to the THQ management (270.000 copies approximately for MotoGP 07 against 320.000 copies of MotoGP 08 - various sources) in the Xbox 360 version alone, with the addition of the PS3 and PC versions to double these figures.



So it is not clear exactly why the franchise was entrusted to Monumental Games, a software house specializing in the creation of MMOs and not very accustomed to the racing game genre. The development of MotoGP 09 / 10 took more or less two years and the result is a product with a distinctly arcade flavor, which renounces the simulation ambitions (so far proposed in a rather convincing way) in favor of a broader structure, which does not limit the game modes to mere Reproduction of the official MotoGP championship but offers us a range of possibilities that are all in all generous, with interesting facets.

Warm-up

Once the game has been started and installed on the hard disk to speed up the uploads (but the operation is optional), we can access five distinct modes. The first is clearly the "Championship", divided between the 125, 250 and MotoGP classes: we choose our rider from those available (all real, since it is an officially licensed title) and we face a sequence consisting of sixteen races (or seventeen, as the case may be) where our goal is clearly to cross the finish line first. Each of the events shows the classic subdivision into three sessions (free practice, qualifying and race) that we are in no way obliged to respect: we can very well accept the last position on the starting grid and launch into a desperate chase to get to the head of the race. group within the three laps that make up the race by default.



Similarly, adopting a more patient and reasoned approach will make the difference between finishing first or last, if we have selected the highest difficulty level. The difference between the three classes of displacement is extremely marked: aboard a 125 cc. we will be able to do more or less everything that comes to our mind, get long in the hairpin bends and yet be able to brake enough to cut them effectively, without worrying about the speed peaks reached on the straights, which are actually negligible. Riding in MotoGP, on the other hand, implies completely different timing: the bike splashes very fast and you have to brake with a certain advance before tackling a corner, even if the arcade character of the game shows that it can forgive most of our mistakes. Collisions with other drivers, in the first place, almost never give rise to an accident. Likewise, running long on gravel only results in a fall if we insist on accelerating while the wheels are turned. Moreover, the thing is visually rendered in a bad way, with the rider jumping off the bike no one knows why. The "Arcade" mode is a "carefree" alternative to the championship, with the displacement classes that must be unlocked one by one through victories and a single race session in which we systematically start from the bottom, while the "Time Trial" it is nothing more than the classic "time attack" in which we can try our hand at the same circuit in search of our best times, comparing ourselves with a ghost. MotoGP 09 / 10 includes a multiplayer mode both locally (two players via horizontal or vertical split screen) and online, but unfortunately during our tests we never found anyone available for a match: too bad, it would have been interesting to understand how the game behaves with its twenty players on the track at the same time.



PlayStation 3 Trophies

MotoGP 09 / 10 offers a total of forty-six trophies. Some of them are obtained by completing rather simple objectives (winning the first race, hiring a full staff or filling up with sponsors in the "Career" mode), others require a much greater commitment (winning a category championship, ringing twenty-one victories online, win on each track) and the last ones, finally, have been designed for the most experienced and patient players (complete one hundred races, get the highest level of reputation in the "Career" mode, etc.).

You get on the track

The most substantial and fun mode, however, is undoubtedly the "Career". On balance, this is what the series lacked when it was in the hands of Milestone: a mode in which you start from the bottom, in a satellite team, with a slow bike and an uphill path that however takes you slowly to appreciate every little upgrade. At this juncture it is possible to create your own rider and team, manage the money by hiring engineers and press officers who will respectively improve the performance of the bike and procure contracts with sponsors, change manufacturers whenever it becomes possible and try to finish each race with dignity. Within each event there are numerous small missions to be completed to earn experience points: reach a certain place on the starting grid, maintain a certain average speed for a section of the track, overtake an opponent indicated on the screen, maintain the perfect trajectory in a curve, etc. The default settings show us on the track an indication of the trajectory that changes color depending on the speed with which we have to face it: this is an aid that can be deactivated, but which at least at the beginning is rather useful for understanding how to move on the traced. Finally, the incidence of upgrades, the management of the work of the engineers and the possibility of customizing the colors and livery of the bike, the suit and the helmet are an always welcome extra.



Moving on to a purely technical discourse, we are faced with a title that often and willingly compromises. The graphics of MotoGP 08 were far from perfect, but did not disregard the precision of the polygonal models of the bikes, which in this 09/10 edition are decidedly simpler and poorer in detail. There is a whole series of solutions that visually leave something to be desired: the sequence of the fall already mentioned above, the first-person view in which you do not see the rider's hands on the handlebars but above all the sloppy and carefree realization of numerous tracks, especially those where you run at night, where the background is basically made up of anonymous lights arranged around the track. However, there are well-made scenarios, above all the always excellent Mugello (you can see that the developers love it particularly), and the effect of the wet asphalt is very nice, but the frame rate is in no way able to reach 30 fps and very often it shows its side to very conspicuous drops. The action is accompanied by a signed soundtrack (at least in theory), which has the merit of always keeping the pace high and stimulating adrenaline. On the other hand, the effects from the speaker's voice to the roar of the engines are completely inadequate.

Comment

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Readers (69)

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Your vote

If the intention was to try the arcade approach card, then MotoGP 09 / 10 it can be defined as an almost entirely successful attempt. Having abandoned the connotation of simulation that can be used on several levels, as Milestone had seen it, the series rests on already widely beaten territories and offers a gameplay that to define permissive is little: falling is almost a feat, and in the case there is always the possibility of doing a nice rewind. The management of the left analog stick leaves a lot to be desired, since the bike does not automatically get up when we let go: you have to get used to it. On the other hand, the separate brake management is spot on, adding a minimum of thickness to the races. The "Career" offers a truly intriguing challenge and manages to involve much more than the other modes, but you have to be satisfied with a technical sector that constantly moves between ups and downs, and which does not make either detail or fluidity its strengths . A game to try if you like the genre, but keeping in mind its limitations.

PRO

  • Challenging and exciting "career"
  • A large number of modes
  • Some scenarios are well done ...
AGAINST
  • ... but many others really leave something to be desired
  • Rather jerky and not very detailed graphics
  • Control management sometimes questionable
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