MotoGP 10/11: review

Thinking to yourself: “Yeah, I play Forza”, you breezily turn on medium simulation settings before straddling the steel beast and entering the first race. The lights will flash from red to green and everything starts off fine, with the racing line in perfect health pointing you down the opening straight. Then the corner will happen.

Trying to keep to the racing line you will tilt the stick one way before realising it has gone too far and point it back in the other direction. It will become apparent that this level of compensation was detrimental to the bike’s trajectory, which at this moment will be handling like a drunken horse galloping at 180 miles per hour, either side of the perfect racing line that has now turned an angry red. This is going to be the first experience of MotoGP 10/11 for many racing game fans.

It sounds silly to say it, but the transition from four wheeled racing to two is a real shock to the system, as approach angles, turning speed and the amount of door panels are all completely different. Fortunately, developers Monumental Games know this better than anyone, and with their second game in the MotoGP series have handled it brilliantly.

Hell's Angels v2.0

Driver assists are available from the off and cater to all levels of experience. You can activate ABS brakes for front and rear wheels, traction control, anti-wheelie and automatic driver weight shifting to help the bike stay underneath you, with all of your bones still safely inside your skin. The game can even play itself to some extent, with the option of automatic braking in the corners. A quick play around with all of these will help you find your ideal settings within two or three races.

The different degrees of realistic control over the bikes really do shape this into the game you want it to be. For the uninitiated who want a different kind of racing fix, it can be played like an arcade title where you will only taste the pavement when you go really wrong, and not just when turning a corner. For those who want something closer to the real deal, you can turn off all the assists and even go as far as changing the bike’s gear ratios and adjusting the suspension in seven different areas. With such a wide audience catered for, this game really does open up to you with a smile and a pocket full of plasters.

The main game modes include the championship mode, for those who want to play out the racing season as a real rider with their actual bike manufacturers and tracks as they appear in reality; and career mode if you want your customised character to become the world’s best biker.

Tarmac cam is more likely to cause accidents than capture shots like this.

Whatever you choose, each race is usually structured the same. There’s a practice session, qualifying session and the race. Only the race is compulsory, but it’s good to at least try and place high in the qualifying laps to get a good starting position ahead of the rat race made from your 26 competitors. Practising is also a good idea to get a feel for what corners to look out for to try and prevent you from licking the tarmac.

The AI racers tend to clump together, which can make starting in the middle of the pack a bit hectic. It can be really frustrating at times as your opponents will occasionally glide into you as if you’re not even there, upsetting your perfect racing line or even knocking you off your bike completely. This hardly seems fair or simulation-like, as we are fairly certain that the other bikers would want to avoid collision as much as possible.

Career mode is definitely where the game shines, with an impressive amount of control over how your character progresses. After giving your character a name, team name and an overalls makeover you get to choose the bike manufacturer who will provide you with the inline machines you will be hurtling around tracks on. The next thing to do is to hire people to do your bidding. PR managers find you sponsors to keep your wallet heavy while engineers spend their time researching upgrades to bike components that you can purchase. As you progress through your career you tour various tracks and slowly work your way from the starting 125cc bikes, to the mammoth MotoGP speed demons. You can even bring a mate along to tackle the career mode as a pair in split-screen mode.

The human wall of leaning motorbikes is not to be crashed through

Your reputation as a racer is linked with your tack performance when you race. Completing clean corners, staying on the track and not ramming the other racers off their saddles are good ways to knock the reputation meter up. You’ll also get the occasional in-race objective that’ll push up your points immensely. Unfortunately these often come at seemingly inopportune times and can cause you to enter corners way too fast to complete them without spilling blood and skull everywhere, making them counter-intuitive if you want to win. A handy rewind button does mean that most bumps and lacerations can be relegated to the past though.

At the end of the day, MotoGP 10/11 is a bike racing sim. Even with the controls that make it more accessible than public libraries have to be these days, you know if you like this style of game or not. For those who like bike racing, or people that want to dip their toes in the water, this is a great addition to the genre with tight gameplay and a satisfying single player. The lengthy career mode, 20 man multiplayer and the promise of the 2011 championship as free DLC means there is plenty of rubber burning life in this for the devoted fan.

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Written by Anthony H

Anthony has been playing games for far too much of his life, starting with the MS-DOS classic Mario is Missing. Since then his tastes have evolved to include just about anything, but his soft spot lies with shooters and the odd strategy game. Anthony will inspire you with his prose, uplift you with his wit and lie to you in his biography.

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