Moto GP 2006

Are four wheels slowing you down? Is travelling at 170mph in Project Gotham Racing 3 just not fast enough? Are you after a different kind of rush? Well, you can finally stop looking, because Moto GP is back, roaring with speed and energy and all set to offer possibly the fastest racing experience ever seen on a console.

The thing about motorbikes (especially the GP variety) is that they're very quick - but speed has always been a fairly tricky thing to replicate in games, generally coming at the expense of solid gameplay. Fortunately, it's in this area that Moto GP excels, running in high definition at a lightning quick 60fps.

The sheer pace will really have you panicking on your first couple of attempts as you career down the track at nearly 200mph - but the crisp graphics make this a more controlled, enjoyable experience and the sense of speed is, quite simply, amazing.

As with the previous games in the series, it's all about the unique braking system. Climax has nailed it, making perfect use of the shoulder triggers for the front and back brakes meaning you play like you ride. Accompany that with the ability to change your biker's position as he rides and you've got something far more complex than your average racing game.

That's not to say that the handling mechanism isn't tricky at first, but over time this turns into the most rewarding control system you'll ever see, requiring genuine skill as you race through the various tracks on offer.

Securing the official licence for the real GP, the game will be launching alongside the start of the competition complete with all the official 2006 information. It's even been hinted at that the game will automatically update stats as you play (via Xbox Live).

Featuring every possible online mode you could ask for from quick, arcade races to full fledged tournaments and 20 players online simultaneously, Moto GP also looks set to deliver the top notch online experience it made its name with back when it originally launched with Xbox Live. It even includes a spectator mode similar to that of Gotham TV.

Making a welcome return is Extreme mode, for the less hardcore gamers out there - offering a vast selection of custom-made tracks featuring wider roads and a different assortment of bikes to thrash.

Overall, Moto GP is shaping up to be a fine next gen version of an already great game. There's nothing particularly new or groundbreaking included in the update, but with a development time of a little over seven months, Climax has done a very decent job. Expect a demo to make an appearance on Xbox Live Marketplace in the coming months.