SBK X review

  • Believable handling in sim mode
  • Your new assistant is lovely
  • Sim and arcade modes
  • Sim mode is kind of sterile
  • Arcade mode handles weirdly
  • Still won't appeal to all biking fans

Don’t get us wrong, we like bikes as much as the next guys. We like riding bikes, we like looking at bikes, we like watching people rip their kneecaps off by falling off bikes at high speed. We like bicycle kicks, we like the phrase ‘get on your bike’, we even sort of like Burnley FC defender Andre Bikey. But do we like them enough to shun louder, more explosive racing games in favour of a gruelling motorbike simulation that’s as dry as a cactus with a skin condition? Well, that’s where we have our doubts.

And it seems we’re not entirely alone, because Milestone’s long-running SBK series has followed in MotoGP’s wake in attempting to open themselves up to a wider audience by including a more thrilling arcade mode.

Instead of attempting to find a biting point between arcade and sim, Milestone have wisely opted to keep the two extremes separate. The simulation mode remains largely unchecked, aside from improved weather dynamics which cause the traction of the road to shift and change as the races thunder on. The two-wheel braking system makes the series as uncompromising as ever for the newcomer, with late cornering attempts usually rewarded with a sand trap to the face, but SBK lightens up considerably when you opt for the arcade option.

Here, SBK no longer requires you to micromanage the rider’s positioning, with extra speed instead dished out thanks to a boost button, which limits the control you have over the bike but allows you to hare past trains of opposing riders faster than any Mario Mushroom.

Milestone have reworked the handling and the track layouts in an attempt to differentiate itself from the more substantial sim mode, but it still feels unfulfilling, like stirring your coffee with a knife because you’re all out of spoons. So despite its best efforts, SBK X remains a niche product, though if you’ve signed on for racing lines over powerslides, you’ll easily get your money’s worth here.

Jun 25, 2010

More Info

Jun 04 2010 - Xbox 360, PS3, PC (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
Genre: Sports
Published by: Black Bean
Developed by: Milestone Interactive


  • TJP75 - July 29, 2010 3:50 a.m.

    I disagree with the review completely, it tells me SFA in terms of the games progress from the languid efforts of SBK '08 to the much improved but heavily flawed SBK '09. @Joshin69 SBK X is a much more realistic take on motorcycle racing when played in simulation mode. It's not perfect and its far from realistic but it's far more accurate than the arcade MotoGP '09/'10 (pre free DLC update to include the 2010 MotoGP bikes). The arcade mode, complete with boost button, is more akin to the MotoGP '09/'10 game in terms of handling. The graphics in X have received a major overhaul. The game runs at a solid 30 fps with bikes & rider models are very nicely done and crowds are now 3D instead of the horrid cardboard cut-outs of previous games. The downsides are the trackside details are quite poor with Milestone using hot air ballons, aircraft and helicopters to give the game some atmosphere as the crowd noise is non-existent and there is still no real time commentator missing since SBK 2001. Gameplay hasn't changed much. Milestone have added a much needed career mode, aping what they'd used in MotoGP '08. This mode lasts for 8 seasons and you'll get the chance to ride Superstock, Supersport and Superbike classes. Unfortunately, Milestone have used the 2009 roster for the lower classes and 2010 for the SBK class, the result being BMW are missing from superstock (even though they've won every race so far in 2010!) and some riders who've made the transition from supersport to superbike are riding in both classes! Bike handling is a mixed bag. Arcade is OTT but fun, the sim mode in SBK X is far more realistic than MotoGP '09/'10 (pre 2010 DLC update) but is far from perfect. Milestone claimed to have fixed their physics model, which in '09 one held the front brake to set fast times, in SBK X you hold the rear brake on to set fast times! Superstock and Superbike classes handle poorly, the transation from upright to leaned over takes an age and the braking is way off, no feel and bite at all and one brakes far earlier than the pro's do in real life. To me it feels like Milestone made the SBK class hard for the sake of it. Meanwhile, the Supersport bikes handle brilliantly and are the best bikes in the game. They are very agile and turn in without much effort, despite being heavier than the SBK class machinery and running near standard suspensions and running on road tyres. Other much heralded changes include track deformation, which as far as I can tell does nothing but create a darker "racing line" in the dry and a dry line in wet conditions. One doesn't feel any extra grip being metered out by the track. Create a rider is a waste of time, all the models in game are the Milestone development team and the nationalities one can pick from are based on the tracks the SBK series visits and the riders. The choose your riding style doesn't do much either, your rider will display a similar style to one of five riders but it doesn't effect the bikes handling unlike Tourist Trophy for the PS2. I bought both SBK X Special Edition and MotoGP '09/'10 for the 360 when they were released and enjoy them both. I'd put SBK X slightly ahead - 8.0/10 for SBK vs 7.25/10 for MotoGP. MotoGP looks better overall (despite the cartoon colour pallet), running at double the framerate but is let down by its arcade handling. The career mode in MotoGP is slightly better too, the ability to hire and fire engineers and marketing personnel and working out which area of the bike to improve is far more strategic than watching your busty secretary swan around doing nothing in SBK X. Cheers.
  • Joshin69 - June 29, 2010 10:23 a.m.

    Oh, and no mention of the loading times? are they better than 09? I would hope so as they were some of the worst loading times, ever!
  • Joshin69 - June 29, 2010 10:21 a.m.

    So accordeing to this no better or worse than sbk09 but alot worse than the latest motoGP?

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