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SBK09 Superbike World Championship review

It's exciting, fast and kind of fun – but is that enough for you to care?


  • More light-hearted and approachable
  • Lets you enjoy the sensation of speed
  • Intricate simulation modes


  • Career mode has no bells or whistles
  • Race
  • race
  • race... and that's it
  • Just isn't as fun as it could be

So SBK ‘09 is pretty good. It’s alright. It’s decent. At times, it even dares to be enjoyable. Hell, if you catch it out of the corner of your eye when it thinks you aren’t looking, it even skirts with the idea of being fun. Gasp!

Which is great news if you played the ultra-dry SBK ‘08, a game that couldn’t crack a smile because it just didn’t know how. SBK ‘09 is an improvement in every area, mostly in the accessibility department. While it previously felt like a challenge to get through a corner without launching your rider headfirst into the nearest wall, SBK ‘09 is way more forgiving, mostly because of a clear distinction between Arcade and Simulation settings. It means you can floor the bike and enjoy the sensation of speed rather than crawling around the track at tricycle speeds for fear of falling off your bike.

So what’s the problem? Well, unless you’re mad about things on two wheels rather than four, it just doesn’t have that extra bit of spark or flair to set it apart. The Career mode has no bells or whistles to it. You race, then you race again, then you race again, then you race again until you run out of races and you’ve either won the season or lost. Congratulations! Now start a new season. And that’s it. There’s nothing to dress the game up or make it feel any more grand or spectacular than it is – which is a shame.

Racing sims have a tendency to be po-faced and dour because injecting personality and fun into them is a tall order, and SBK ‘09 is the rule rather than the exception. Fans will love the intricate simulation modes. The curious will love the instant accessibility. Everyone else will shrug their shoulders and wonder what else they can play for laughs. So like we say, it’s alright. It’s decent. At times, it even dares to be mildly enjoyable. But for your money, shouldn’t you want something a little more, well, fun?

Jun 12, 2009

More Info

PlatformPC, PSP, PS3, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360
US censor ratingEveryone 10+
UK censor rating3+
Alternative namesSBK
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 29 May 2009 (UK)