MotoGP 09/10 is the latest in the MotoGP series, the game offering players a chance to experience the thrill of racing on two wheels. The series has been around a few years, each year releasing a new game with the mandatory updates to the riders and tracks for the season. The series took a break last year, as the game changed developers from Milestone to Monumental Games, and returns with a new direction in the series.
MotorGP 09/10 offers up a few different game modes. There’s the Championship, where you use an existing rider, and take them through 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP seasons. Arcade mode, where you race against time and other racers, and Time Trial, which is basically trying to outdo your best lap times. The centrepiece and probably the highlight of the game is the Career Mode. This mode is surprisingly deep for a motorsport title, and has you controlling many different areas of the character’s career.
The goal of this mode is of course to win races and the championship, but also to gain reputation. Reputation points can be earned during the race weekend by completing different tasks whilst practicing, qualifying and racing. The great thing about this game is that practice sessions and qualifiers actual have a purpose, where in other motorsport titles, practice sessions meant nothing, and were generally skipped.
You begin by choosing your look by selecting different designs of helmets, leathers or bikes. Unfortunately, you can’t create an original artwork/design, which would have been a very nice option to include. You also choose which manufacturer to sign with. To begin, the options are few, but as you gain reputation levels, more powerful bikes from other manufacturers become available.
The next step is to hire some staff members, whose sole purpose is to help you succeed. The Press Officer’s job is to find high paying sponsors, sponsors are vital as they will be funding your career and payroll. An engineer is needed to research technology that will improve your bike, so that you can have a kick-ass bike that will increase your chances to finish on top. As your reputation level increases, additional slots for extra staff and sponsors open up. Be mindful of your budget, as not meeting sponsor requirements and losing races will mean not enough cash, resulting in firing of staff members. And we don’t want that to happen.
The tracks are modelled well, and are great representations of the real circuits. The wet weather environment was impressive, from the slick wet look of the track to the spray of water from the bikes that obscures your vision. I liked the realism that it brought to the game, and also the fact it looked great.
The game includes official tracks of the 2009 MotoGP season, like the Phillip Island circuit. It also includes the 2009 riders from the 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP classes. So you ask, where’s all the 2010 content? It has been announced that all the 2010 content, such as the new Silverstone circuit, new riders, the 800cc and 600cc (the new Moto2 class) will be available via downloadable content. It’s somewhat unconventional, but it’s a great idea, as players will be able to keep up to date in the game, with the real world.
The game leans more towards an arcade style, with a splattering of realistic handling. The hardcore racing fans will find that the bikes are quite forgiving and you’ll notice that the bikes are very difficult to crash, and only when you push it to the limit when taking corners or showboating with a wheelie, will you end up on the asphalt. Also colliding with other racers, on most occasions have no real physical consequences.
In situations, when you do crash, there’s an option to do a redo. Just rewind, and take that pesky corner again. There is a penalty though, as you’ll be deducted reputation points.
I also found that it was surprisingly easy to brake quickly and stop on a dime, even when you have been hurtling down a straight at incredible speeds.
MotoGP 09/10 does though have somewhat realistic controls, with players having the control over the front and rear brakes. The game also includes an option to tuck the legs in and get behind the windscreen, which means less drag and more speed. The game also emphasises the importance of racing lines, with the game including race lines to follow during a race.
My major gripe with the game will have to be the handling of the bikes, they feel clunky and overly too sensitive. This leads to the bikes becoming incredibly difficult to control, even in some very simple situations. I found it on several occasions very difficult to maintain a straight racing line on the straight areas of the track. Also the game fails to replicate the feeling of power and weight of these racing machines in the control of the game.
For those looking for a realistic simulation will be disappointed, but as an arcade game, MotoGP 09/10 does well. The game was at first hard to grasp, mostly due to the controls. But after a few races, I was able to settle in, and the game was challenging but satisfying. The inclusion of the Career mode means that there is more to do other than just race, making this game a surprisingly enjoyable experience.