Sept 19, 2007
How things can change in a mere 12 months. Whereas MotoGP used to cater to hardcore biker nuts, now it's more reminiscent of a throwback arcade experience from those halcyon days of seaside lore... whereas in, say, Namco's (and now Capcom's) rival MotoGP series on PS2 if you so much as think about deviating from the prescribed racing line you'll end up arse-over-tit in a pile of gravel.
Here, Climax have strived to ensure the race line is infinitely more forgiving, and while this robs MotoGP of its previous sim-like realism (well, until you ramp the difficulty up to Champion or Legend anyway), it's infinitely more accessible to casual bikers - giving you license to thrill by pulling off audacious overtaking maneuvers that'll leave the likes of Valentino Rossi and Nicky Hayden choking on your exhaust. Another notable concession to newbies is the use of x for both front and rear braking - genius if you can't be arsed to master the finer complexities of screeching to a stop.
Then there's the sheer bloody speed of the whole thing. To say MotoGP is exhilarating is like saying Lindsey Lohan's been known to hit the coke. The reason? A 200mph, next-gen edge. Climax have worked wonders to iron out last year's visual stutters and ensure that MotoGP also provides us with that rarest of treats nowadays - a bona fide 60 frames per second racer that fairly flashes by. It might not quite top the technical virtuosity of Forza 2, or the incredible physics of DIRT, but it's a pretty thing.
The frame rate from heaven means you'll spend the majority of races with buttocks perched on the very edge of your couch, revving the throttle and leaning in to squeeze every ounce of speed out of your silver dream machine before caning the brakes to ensure a smooth transition in and out of the bends. This imbues THQ's beastie with an atmosphere like no other racer; you'll feel extraordinarily empowered yet utterly fragile all at once, since if you lose concentration for a even the tiniest of nanoseconds you will eat asphalt.
Call us motorhead heretics, but we've always been keener on "Extreme" street racing than all that crusty official malarkey - and it's never played sweeter than here, where forgiving corners mean you can really put pedal to metal as you whizz through sexy (if slightly box-like) renditions of Barcelona, Tokyo et al and even head online to gamble your bike in new Pinkslip events. Great stuff.