Considering how many times it’s changed hands, we’re quite surprised there’s another MotoGP game at all. First it was with Namco, then THQ, and now, finally, Capcom has secured it – and asked Milestone to take on dev duties for all formats.
Those with a taste for two-wheeled racers will know that Milestone also developed SBK 08. And strange as it seems, the two games feel radically different. SBK 08 fancies itself as a deep and difficult simulator which turned out to be both its selling point and its downfall. MotoGP 08, on the other hand, feels hugely accessible whatever handling level you pick. Often the Arcade mode is patronisingly numb in superbike games but any advantage you get by dumbing down the handling can be corrected by notching up the AI difficulty. Take the plunge with a more realistic riding setting and MotoGP genuinely starts to feel exciting.
Having to work your way up from 125cc ‘chicken chasers’ to full on nutter-bastard GP bikes in Career mode forces you to walk before you can run, but also allows you to enjoy the sort of closely fought races that only come with having to wring the neck of an under-powered vehicle. Sadly, it also highlighted that the opponent AI lacks a little awareness of you, which can be frustrating on a packed circuit (there are 35 bikes in a 125cc race!) Still, night races, dramatic weather effects and some not-often-seen circuits (such as Losail, Jerez, Sachsenring and Estoril) will certainly be appealing to fans of the genre.
Sometimes it’s easy to write off a bike game as niche but MotoGP 08 is the first superbike game in a while that seems more concerned with creating a nail-biting race than getting all worked up about weight-shifting and brake biases. And, if you ask us, that puts MotoGP 08 right at the front of the superbike game grid.
Oct 28, 2008