Those who are familiar with the genre of racing simulations, on two or four wheels, know well that these are products that aim at one thing: to offer an experience that is as close to reality as possible. Our car or motorbike must behave as if we were racing on a real track, taking into account the grip of the tires, the traction (especially when cornering), the conditions of the track, the set-up and the characteristics of the vehicle we drive. . Changing one of these values, even slightly, must produce a more or less marked change that must be evaluated during the test laps; and all the work done has the sole function of translating into the best possible result in the race, when we will not be alone on the track but will have to face dozens of fierce opponents. MotoGP 08 is it an absolutely realistic motorcycle simulator? No it is not. But it comes very close, and has had the merit of introducing a parameter adjustment system that allows anyone to deal with the game, as already seen in the 2007 edition for PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360. The "arcade" style is ideal for beginners and for anyone, in general, who wants to compete without too many thoughts: the bike suffers in a very limited way from collisions, holds corners even in the worst conditions and hardly escapes our control. The "simulation" style, on the other hand, is recommended only for experts or those who have already become familiar with the game: the front and rear brakes are independent, collisions almost always result in crashes, reaching long corners is not forgiven and you have to be very careful to dose the acceleration. A middle ground between the two approaches is represented by the "intermediate" style, finally.
The presence of three distinct classes (125cc, 250cc and MotoGP) constitutes a further element of gameplay variation.
We have to do the mess
For the 2008 edition, MotoGP presents itself with some important innovations, concerning the game modes available. The career, in particular, has been made much more full-bodied and interesting, with a "prizes" system that unlocks new teams and new categories as you win races and collect championship points: you must necessarily start from the 125cc class, with the choice limited to a few teams, and climb the rankings and then eventually land in 250 cc and in MotoGP. You can create your own pilot from scratch, customizing his appearance thanks to the numerous helmets available, one more beautiful than the other, and improving the characteristics of speed, acceleration, etc. spending the points earned at the end of each race. This goes beyond the normal set-up adjustment, which before the various sessions allows us to change the length of the gears, the lean speed in the corners, the stiffness of the suspension and the compound of the tires. It is clear that each of these interventions must be evaluated on the basis of the weather conditions and the characteristics of the track: if it is mainly made up of curves, it is better to opt for greater acceleration and stability; if, on the other hand, it has very long straights, it is appropriate to push on the final speed to the detriment of the rest. The presence of three distinct classes (precisely 125 cc, 250 cc and MotoGP) constitutes a further element of variation of the gameplay, since the bikes have a more or less aggressive behavior depending on the displacement and therefore offer a profoundly different experience, this beyond the choice of the team (which in itself changes the cards on the table). At the beginning of our career we can select the level of difficulty and the number of laps for each circuit, choices that will accompany us for all the seasons that we will compete in the various classes.
As for the other modes, we have a series of rather classic options: the "single race" sees us face a fast race in which we will have to choose the driver, team, class and circuit among those available, while the "timed race" is the usual time attack with the presence of a possible ghost bike to beat to improve our lap time. It is obviously possible to try your hand at the "championship" mode and play an entire season in the class of displacement we prefer, passing from one race to another and from one session to another exactly as in reality. Unlike the career, in this case we will have to choose a real rider and refer to the peculiar characteristics of him and of the bike he rides. Then there are the "challenges": there are fifty missions to be completed one after the other, with an "unlock" system, which gradually increase the difficulty and which are set as "scenarios", that is to say they resume situations that actually occurred in the 125, 250 and MotoGP championships. We will therefore be asked to take on the role of Valentino Rossi, Daniel Pedrosa, Andrea Dovizioso and many other riders in races that have perhaps seen their exceptional comeback or are remembered for some particular circumstance. The online multiplayer mode closes the circle, in which we will be able to challenge players from all over the world in single races: we will have the opportunity to opt for a quick match, look for one that matches our requirements (class, driving style, etc. ) or host it by us. Finding challengers is not difficult, indeed the rooms are quite populated and competitive; however, there are some "youth" problems on which it is difficult to turn a blind eye: there is often an annoying lag that shows us the opponents proceed in jerks, and there is only one type of competition, without the possibility of organizing tournaments . In short, online is one of the aspects of MotoGP 08 which should be improved (a lot) in view of a possible 2009 edition.
On the track!
Once we have adjusted the parameters of our bike and selected the riding style, it is time to tackle the track. The free practice sessions and qualifying sessions do not present substantial changes, with a classic action and a decidedly "reasoned" approach: you are alone against the track, with the aim of memorizing the hairpin bends and finding the best trajectories. During these phases it is possible to make all possible experiments with the set-up, to try to improve the lap time if necessary: at the "easy" level it is enough to keep a clean driving to give even a few seconds to the opponents, while at the "normal" or "hard" you have to commit much more or resign yourself to waiting for the upgrades. As for the actual race, after a rather simplistic start (traffic lights off and on, no frills) we cannot help but notice that our opponents are often very slow in going through the curves, a situation in which we can really build. our advantage, while they catch us easily in the straights, where the bike (understood as the team they belong to) makes the difference. Unfortunately, the level of AI leaves something to be desired: the other pilots move according to predefined patterns, without variations and, above all, without ever making mistakes. The fastest ones are fundamentally because of the goodness of the vehicle they drive, with few exceptions, and with the same trajectories, we will be able to compete with the best only by improving the characteristics of the driver or by changing team. Finally, it is very strange that the classic "wake effect" in MotoGP 08 has been largely neglected: having or not having a "preferential lane" at an aerodynamic level, standing behind another bike, does not translate into a substantial advantage.
Among the strengths of the game, we must certainly include the polygonal models of the bikes, which are truly extraordinary for detail and fidelity: imagining something better, from this point of view, would be difficult. We have six different views, three in third person (from different distances) and three in first (one "from the back", one from the cockpit and the other in absolute first person), which can concretely influence the approach to the racing: the former allow us to drive quietly and reasonably, with greater control; the latter are more spectacular (the view tilts with the bike), fast and frenetic, but more difficult to manage with precision. It is possible at any time to look over your shoulder, with the pilot actually turning back to check the position of the opponents. The slopes are extremely faithful to the real counterparts, with an excellent realization of the sky (even at night, complete with a full moon and stars) and weather conditions. Moving on to the shortcomings, it must be said that there are uncertainties in the frame rate when there are many bikes on the screen at the same time, and that the various contour elements of the track (public, boxes, various vehicles, structures) are unfortunately static and lacking in particular detail. . It should also be added that the handling of accidents is far from spectacular, with the pilot reacting in much the same way whether he goes against a wall at 300 per hour, or does it at 100 per hour. Furthermore, the stages of the award ceremony on the podium are completely missing. The sound sector is essential, with only one "signed" punk rock song for the intro and techno music that is anything but exceptional to accompany us in navigating the menus. In the race there are only effects, in this case the roar of the bikes.
MotoGP 08 is the best motorcycle racing game for PlayStation 3, although it must be admitted that this is also due to the general shortage of such titles for the Sony console. The work done by Milestone is as good as usual: the gameplay is extremely solid and with few frills, the excellent style selection system allows you to adjust the experience according to your needs and the addition of two classes of displacement ( for a total of three different leagues) only further contributes to the variety of situations. To this we must add the substantial "challenges" mode and online multiplayer, which however suffers from obvious problems of youth. From a technical point of view, the graphics do their job in an excellent way (the bikes are extraordinary, the tracks are faithful to the original counterparts, the weather effects work great) but it focuses only on the most important things, with little attention to the contour elements that could also contribute to improving the visual impact in general. Motorbike and racing enthusiasts, especially those more oriented towards simulations, will certainly find bread for their teeth; with the hope that the 2009 edition will compete, even on a technical level, with the best racers in circulation for so-called nextgen consoles.
- Substantial and rich in depth modalities
- Solid gameplay as usual
- Technically excellent
- AI largely improvable
- Online multiplayer anything but smooth
- The surrounding elements had to be enhanced