THQ made a big splash with games like Frontlines: Fuel of War and STALKER: Shadow of Chernobyl. Still, if there's one series that's been quietly performing for the past several years, it's MotoGP. This officially-licensed bike racing sim won real praise and popularity last year. Perhaps that's what's inspired the developers at Climax from adding in so many improvements to this year's model.
As before, the game is split into three main modes: grand prix mode, which is fully licensed and features real bikes and riders racing over 18 real-life tracks. The extreme mode brings in fantasy tracks (inspired by real life locations like the German Autobahn and the Tokyo streets) and high-powered bikes - with more forgiving gameplay than the tricky simulation standard of the grand prix mode. Finally, online play is included, as you'd expect.
We were able to get our hands on the Xbox 360 version as one of the developers walked us through the new features that are being added to each mode this year. The main thrust of the addition to the GP mode is atmosphere and realism. New cutscenes - not story-based, as far as we saw, but simply interludes that give you a good look at the way things play out around a real MotoGP race - enhance the atmosphere. The graphics have been punched up with more realistic asphalt and more detailed backgrounds overall - particularly when it comes to the spectators; tens of thousands can be seen around the tracks, waving and cheering. The sky above the tracks was also notably realistic. It brings the sport to life.