Review: Moto GP
Version Reviewed: 1.00
Moto GP is one of those games which you either love or hate. Except for me... I both love it and hate it. I've been a fan of console racing games ever since they first went 3D with titles like Hard Drivin and Ridge Racer and was very looking forward to the experience of a portable 3D racer on my powerful new N-Gage. Unfortunately for myself and many like me what we got was Moto GP.
Any understanding of MotoGP and whether it's "good" or "bad" must first begin at what it is and what it isn't. MotoGP is a motorcycle racing game. It isn't a car racing game. While this may seem incredibly obvious all the games real troubles start here.
What I think most gamers were and are wanting from a racing experience on the N-Gage right now is Ridge Racer or Gran Turismo or Sega GT. They want that slip-sliding, vehicle customizing, balls to the wall, pedal to the metal, speed injection that you can only get legally and safely from one of those great racing games. Your pulse is racing, your palms are sweaty and you clip a corner to slip past the leader and claim the top spot. You are in the zone and invincible. That is the essence of a racing game's appeal. To achieve this you really have got to have great game physics and interesting environments in which to race.
While MotoGP has good game physics, nice track layouts and acceptable graphics it just doesn't have that comfortable like a glove feeling that most racers get when picking up a racing tile because of the very thing that made it a famous gaming franchise in recent years: it is not a car racing game but a motorcycle racing game. Cars and motorcycles ride completely different and certainly race differently. As a result racing games with these vehicles most control different to properly simulate that which they are attempting to emulate. So what you get is a game that is about racing a motorcycle when maybe what you want is a game about racing a car. The problem here to some extent is expectation but to cast it all on the gamers' shoulders is unfair when the game does have some definite flaws.
When you get right down to it the games primo problem is control. A good motorcycle racing game has two ways to control turning as opposed to the single way of a car racing game: one is leaning, the other is the actual turning of the front wheel. In the XBOX version of Moto GP this was clearly and cleanly delivered; the series was born and motorcycle racing fans rejoiced. When the game was brought to the N-Gage however they returned to the single method of controlling turning by combining the control of leaning and of turning into the single press of the left or right of the control pad. Problem is that there is a bizarre bell curve to the turn speed which leaves many with the impression that it is impossible to control. In reality it will take a few races to do anything but lose and absolutely perfect use of the tap-tap control techniques of old to ever place in the top three.
If you can adjust to the controls and accept a motorcycle racing game over the more common car racing titles Moto GP may yet hold entertainment for you. I was able to make that transition and was rewarded with an amusing modern racer complete with unlock-able tracks and characters and even the ability to make my own tracks.
While I can't give it a strong recommendation moto racing fans can get a little satisfaction here and racing fans may be able to use it to hold themselves over until High Gear, Crash Nitro Racing or some other more traditional racing offerings hit the market. 58% of perfect here and with that I'm out until another review.
Reviewed by Chris Rydberg at