MOTOGP 10/11

MotoGP 10/11
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MOTOGP 10/11



Written by Chris Price
21 Monday 21st March 2011

 

MotoGP is currently the only franchise on the market that seeks to add a touch of realism to the proceedings. And as a monopoly product, for an internationally renowned motor sport, it has a responsibility to its community.

Last years MotoGP was very much akin to a skinny albino kid, who was good at the 100m. It was individual, quick but more than a little pale. Well, said albino kid has taken the criticism on the chin. He’s back, with 30” quads, no neck and a fresh body wax.

10/11 is faster and shinier than its predecessor. At high speeds, even on the entry level bikes, it does a sterling job of making you feel like you’re in danger of tearing a hole in time and space barrelling down the straights. Each looks great, with fully customisable team livery and colours.

In addition to the steadfast Time Trials, Championship and Challenge Modes, MotoGP have also taken the bold step to go further than ever before with its Career mode, incorporating RPG elements into the management of your team, PR and research. No longer is racing sufficient - now you’ve got to worry about paying the Lycra-wrapped dollybirds who jiggle around you in the pit lane like you’re Diddy Dirty Money. 

It’s certainly breaks up each race, adding neat short-term goals to spur you on each race. Bike tuning returns, albeit on a far deeper level – tires, gearbox differential, suspension levels, distance of wheelbase. If you spend all your time worrying that your Suzuki GSV-R’s wheels are too close together, this’ll be like a month of Sundays.

Yes, MotoGP 10/11 is very keen to be taken seriously. But whereas 09/10 featured the split personalities of Arcade and Simulation games, its cousin chooses to blend the two elements. Novices can opt for set or customisable assists, to aid with new, more rigorous control system – incorporating a far more noticeable weight shifting technique, and a front and reverse break, to sharpen corning, and cling perilously to the racing line mapped out for you.

On paper a sensible idea. But even with the racing line being colour coded to your speed, the difficulty levels are ruthless. Even switching off the breaking assists, I spent a lot of time pootling about the track just to work out breaking distances. And going from a comically slow corner into a thunderous straight makes for an inconsistent ‘race’ experience in the early days.

The illusion of realism falters over rubbery collisions, and with customisable assists turned on, a frankly incomprehensible crash detection system, which seems to throw you off the bike at random stress moments. A ‘second-chance’ time rewind system goes some to alleviating frustration though. Additionally it also seeks to pummel your ears with some irksome motor sounds from the low CC bikes, as well as a surreal soundtrack I can only describe as ‘elevator trance’.

Once you do get going with the pro-spec bikes and a firm control of the control system, you really appreciate the difference between the bike and the car simulation. The 2 player split screen modes, as well as up to 20 players racing online will certainly crank up race-day emotions.

With the official MotoGP stamp, all the livery from the 2010 season, plus forthcoming 2011 content, it certainly appeasing the faithful – and for the moment, it’s as close as the series has come to the giddy statistics-orgy that is Gran Turismo. MotoGP 10/11 is a ruthless game – and its inconsistencies certainly won’t charm new adopters. It will punish accelerator junkies. But if you can persist with its problems, there’s the solid bike racing experience for years hiding underneath.

In an effort to legitimise the serious motorbike game, its not likely to convert many new followers, but it’s a decent successor to last year’s release - and shows that the franchise seems to have refined the motorbike game as a simulation. It now needs to refine its experience as a game.

MotoGP 10/11 is available now for the Xbox 360 & PS3.

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