“Climax has it easy” you could think. Their MotoGP may be still popular on Xbox Live but there’s little competition in realistic bike racing. On the PS2 you’ve of course got Tourist Trophy passing along recently but this never managed to come to the level of Gran Turismo 4 nor make you forget the excitement of MotoGP 3
With MotoGP 06 we’re on to the fourth episode in the series and luckily the makers didn’t satisfy themselves with just adding a couple of features to the previous part. 06 is also the first in its genre on the X360 and deserves some more attention than it got up to now.
Not in the least due to the very intuitive, but still challenging, controls that use the two sticks very subtle to simulate the driving. I myself never had such a monster between my legs (we’ll not talk about other monsters between legs), but quickly got the impression you can’t compare it with car racing. Beginners, like me, will need a couple of hours to adapt to the different way of driving. You’ll need to brake a lot sooner and take the driver’s weight and place into consideration.
Luckily the difficulty degree is progressively built and you get a lot for your achievements. The feeling you get when taking a perfect turn or taking over a colleague in a straight line at breathtaking speeds is very satisfying. Climax also made sure of the necessary accessibility at all levels. Amongst others by giving tips when taking turns which makes you think of Forza Motorsport and which gives the beginner enough to hold onto so he can quickly learn while you’re never get taken by the hand too much so that the fun of exploring by yourself doesn’t get sucked away.
Next to the official stuff (17 excellent tracks) of the 2006 MotoGP season (and that of 2005 as extra) you also get a lot of other tasty things. As most important aspect there’s the Extreme Mode (with fictious but no less spectacular tracks) where you get to work in the classic races, championships, challenges and of course a ton of multiplayer possibilities, both on your screen at home as well as on Xbox Live. On top of that you can also start tuning in Extreme Mode while in GP you can adjust your pilot. Only too bad that you can only start doing Extreme once you’ve finished a full season in the classic mode.
So there’s plenty of depth in the contorls, steering, options and possibilities. For those who like racing against other humans there’s 16-player games of which 4 on one X360, including qualifiers, practise sessions and full championships. On top of that there’s also some extras like Stunt Races to offer some variation.
Graphically things look very sweet. The bikes are nicely modelled and and a lust for the eyes of motorcycle freaks. Also the tracks don’t disappoint and look almost foto-realistic. Only the rain could use some work as it’s only limited to an additional glaze on the asphalt.
MotoGP 06 is a must-have for those that love bikes and racing on these deadly pieces of metal on wheels. The game needs more practise than the average PGR3 of Forza Motorsport due to the challenging controls, the unconventional but not less challenging handling, and the fact that you need to unlock a large portion of the gameplay. However, those that invest some time will discover a magnificent game, with an engine that shines as hard on the inside as the exterior.