You’ll be able to control everything about your bike once everything helpful has been deactivated. The position of your rider can be altered; he can lean into or out of corners for greater speed, or rock forwards on the bike to scream down straights. You’ll also be able to control front and back brakes individually.
All this extra control comes at a price, though. You want to be able to slow the front wheel without touching the rear one? Then get ready to have your rider catapulted over the handlebars, because the trade-off for having direct control over your bike is the increased sensitivity to, well, everything. Brake a fraction too hard and ride and rider will go their separate ways. Lean overenthusiastically into a corner and those pretty bike leathers turn a funny shade of red as the tarmac burns through to the bone. Biker will, of course, become detached from bike. It doesn’t take much at all to split the two up using the hardest game setting, but it’ll just make you all the more-determined to get better. That’s the plan.
Multiplayer options are limited to two-player splitscreen quick races or time attack duels, but in an effort to make up for the lack other human riders, a range of human-like behavior has been programmed into your computer-controlled opponents. Importantly, they make mistakes. You’ll see rivals taking corners too fast and hitting the tarmac, or wobbling into other opponents in really crappy weather and cleaning them out. With up to 27 other riders darting around the track, the opportunity for mass carnage is never far away (but the bikes themselves don’t deform, and you won’t see any blood), while at this stage, the game certainly feels pretty realistic. There are none of the usual tricks used to even things up (like the leading pack waiting for you around the next corner if you slip up to give you a chance of catching up). If you mess up, you’ll need to work your way back to the front.
No US release has been announced yet, but we’ll burn rubber to make sure you’re informed. Check this space in the coming weeks.