With a new year comes a new season in motorcycle racing and among those racing classes is the prestigious MotoGP. While we would all love to hop on a bike and race Rossi, we’ll likely never get the chance. Thankfully, we have video games to offer the next best thing. Capcom has arrived with its latest game in MotoGP series.
More than a year after the release of its last MotoGP game, 09/10 has returned namely with some changes to career mode as well as the opportunity to update the game as the 2010 season progresses. After playing through most of the career of ‘08 I was ready to get back in and rip up the track. Boasting some changes and updates over the last version, MotoGP 09/10 looks pretty amazing with great detail in the riders and tracks. Menus are a great improvement over the previous version. They’ve ditched the odd noises as you move to different items and opt for more colorful and welcoming arcade-style menus. After a quick hop into arcade mode to check out how everything handles, I found myself immediately annoyed by the announcer’s voice constantly making remarks while racing. I stopped my race right there and turned down the announcer’s voice; sadly there is no option to just turn him off altogether. With the annoying announcer out of the way it was time to race. While things do feel a bit different than MotoGP 08 they still carry over some of the feel of the previous game. In this latest version most of the newbie-friendly handling, which I liked, has been changed making racing a bit tedious at times.
Career mode has received a pretty big over haul. Get extra points and cash for running a clean race and finishing well in the different aspects of the race (Qualifying, superpole, and the race). Hiring staff can be costly but it could lead to some benefits for your team.
One interesting new aspect in the career mode is some of the added responsibilities of running a team. Rather than just being responsible for simply riding and choosing your colors you now have to earn funds from racing (less crashing = more money) as well as hiring and paying your staff. While this takes the game in more of a sim direction, it is also giving the genre more depth, giving players a bit of an inside look of what it takes to run a real GP team. Compared to the previous version, where after completing the first two career stages I lost interest in playing any further, the 9/10 game surprised me with how much the added aspect of funding and focus on my performance on the track held my interest longer. These aspects of career mode and adjusting to the hair trigger controls of the bike could turn off some players from the game, though.
Racing to unlock the MotoGP class may take a while but it’s worth it when you are flying around Laguna Seca USGP on the #46 bike.
Overall the basic controls are about the same. They have added button combinations to perform various gestures to other riders. A new feature that wasn’t really promoted or brought to the attention of players is a handy rewind feature. It was not until I was pushing some buttons on accident during career mode that I found myself able to rewind back to correct my mistake. Sadly, it never seemed to be quite enough to salvage the train wreck of a career I had constructed.
While I’ve barely scratched the surface of what MotoGP 09/10 seems to offer it stands to say that the latest version is making strides to add more to the standard motorcycle racing video game. I have enjoyed my time playing the game but I feel there are times when you want more from a racing game and there are times where you just want to pick your racing hero and just ride. I respect that Capcom is attempting to advance this genre but some things are just better left alone. For those that don’t want the career mode with the added complications of managing a team there is championship mode, the standard arcade mode, and Xbox live to fulfill your racing needs. The game doesn’t come off as newbie-friendly as the last version and those that may be new to the franchise may find a decent learning curve ahead of them. This game pushes the standard motorcycle racing genre in some new directions but with each new direction comes the risk of pushing too far. MotoGP 09/10 pushes just enough that some relying on past experience might be out of their comfort zone but for others this change will be enough to re-spark their interest.