MotoGP 2: Ultimate Racing Technology
Speed and bikes that’s what men all over the world want (and I’m not talking about myself now ;p).
MotoGP was one of the PS2’s launch games and now Namco is bringing us already a sequel to one of the best bike racing games on consoles to date.
One of the downpoints of MotoGP was the availability of only 5 circuits and that doesn’t really do good to the replayability of a game, so Namco took a second look and added 5 more circuits from the official FIM 500cc Grand Prix Championship including Assen, Catalunya, Le Mans, Mugello and Sachsenring. But that isn’t all that’s new in the sequel.
The proven modes arcade, championship and time trial are back along with the possibility to alter your bike in a simple way, but this time you can also choose weather conditions which decrease visibility and change the way your motor is acting. For the real racing freaks, there’s of course the VS mode where you can make one of your friends view the rear side of your bike.
In Championship you can pick a driver of your choice out of 3 starting up racing teams. After a practice drive where you can tune your bike a bit, you get to do the qualifications and finally race for victory. After each race you get a certain amount of points. Depending on your points, you can at the end of the championship sign up for the same team or go to another one which will give you a faster bike. If you meet that other team’s expectations of course.
If you have the biggest amount of points after 5 full seasons (50 races) you can get crowned as absolute champion of the 500cc.
The Challenge mode is where you can get new stuff. And I’m not only talking about new bikes (39 in total) either. After having competed 72 challenges (breaking a record, getting to full stop before a certain distance, etc) you can unlock a new game mode called “Legends” which resembles the arcade mode. However, instead of competing against drivers of the 2001 season, you’ll have to face 5 of the best pilots to have ever driven on the track : Michael Doohan with his ’99 Honda, Kevin Schwantz and his ’94 Suzuki, Freddie Spencer with his ’89 Yamaha, Kenny Roberts Sr. on his ’81 Yamaha and ultimate champion Wayne Rainey with his great ’93 Yamaha. These five drivers will make you think the other 20 drivers in the game are complete wussies. Fortunately you can play them yourselve aswell in Time Trial and Arcade mode.
For each race you can choose for a simulation mode which makes things a bit harder but alot more realistic. When coming out of a turn at a too high speed, your back wheel will start spinning, ending in your visit with sand and dirt. The same goes for when you don’t break soon enough before a turn.
Nice is also when you crash into another bike or against the wall. You’ll see your bike being thrown into the air while you yourself are laying on the ground hoping not to be hit by some parts that are flying around. Especially when viewing the replay qt the end of every race you can get a feast for your eyes. It’s like you’re watching an actual race on TV with all the different camera viewpoints that make it feel realistic and give an impression of actual speed.
The graphical engine isn’t completely re-written but rather tuned up, giving smoother animations of the drivers and better reflections on your helmet and gas tank. However, the most impressive addition is the rain. The visibility decreases so much that you tend to think that real drivers must be kamikaze-pilots by daring to race at high speed while seeing almost nothing on the track.
The techno soundtrack isn’t spectacular but the effects of your engine and the people screaming while you’re driving by them makes up for quite alot.
All in all, Moto GP2 makes up for the flaws that were in the original game and the few features that were added are nice. The only difficult decision is wether you buy it or not. Yes, there are a few nice features, but on the other hand there’s still a few tracks from the full championship missing to give you that “real” experience. My suggestion would be to first rent it, play it a while, and if you still like it, then go out and buy it.