The 2011 MotoGP season is well under way and what better way to supplement your motorcycle racing addiction than the latest MotoGP 10/11 video game. This time around MotoGP 10/11 is a Playstation 3 exclusive, so if you have another system you’re out of luck. Those with a PS3, however, will enjoy several welcome improvements and changes over previous MotoGP games.
Loyal MotoGP game fans are rewarded right off the bat with a save file on-system from the previous game. That game save will unlock additional options when designing your racer/bike in the career mode. MotoGP 10/11 feels like developers dialed back to focus on a few select modes versus attempting to cover every base. Visuals look very crisp and don’t seem to have any significant mistakes; on occasion a crash will display a flaw or a glitch but nothing significant enough to get you out of the racing experience. Gone for this version are the horribly annoying menu noises and coin-op arcade-style menus.
Jumping straight into the game, there is a bit of a learning curve as you get used to the controls and other assists. It takes some trial and error to dial in which assists will help you get though the game. MotoGP 10/11 doesn’t really address the assists but assumes you’ll figure it out. I left all the assists on during my play to run through the game like a new player to the series.
As tempting as it may be to hit the pro class right from the get go, it would be advised to tackle the lower levels to get a feel for the game play and assists.
I advise you race a 125cc bike before picking Valentino Rossi and hitting up Laguna Seca. I was painfully disappointed initially, as I hopped on a MotoGP level bike and crashed all over the place, thinking they’ve messed up the game. Diving in to career mode on the 125cc bikes, you quickly get acquainted with the controls and the physics of the game. The game is almost automated with all assists on; you merely need to follow the race line holding the throttle and the game will pretty much use the proper braking for you. This will be a very handy feature for friends or families who aren’t really in to motorcycle racing but still want to have a good time racing around a track.
After trying the arcade mode to get a feel for the game, I dove in to the career mode to see if any significant improvements have been made. In the previous 09/10 I found the career mode felt separated from the racing, almost as if it was half race team management simulator and half motorcycle racing simulation. MotoGP 10/11 brings these two together in a nice package that feels more natural.
The rider assists are pretty big this time around to make game play more interesting for the serious riders and easy for those looking for a bit more casual play through.
It starts with the racer creation which was good, but still could use some more options like rotating your rider while choosing helmets, leathers and color schemes. Beyond the racer design there are bikes to choose, though at first you’re only offered two bikes, Aprilia or Honda; each aimed at a different riding style. Beyond designing the team, players will work to gain sponsors to pay the bills and build reputation.
Gaining reputation is primarily done through tasks while racing. During practice, qualifying and the race you’ll slowly grow a letter grade from a D to an A. You’ll get a better grade for passing riders, getting the perfect riding line, or meeting objectives during the race. Your grade will drop by crashing and losing positions or not hitting the racing lines. All this reputation leads to leveling up your racer and unlocking sponsors, additional bikes and more knowledgeable staff.
Going from the whole screen to a split screen (side-by-side or top/bottom) doesn’t diminish much of your play experience. Considering most TVs today are fairly large, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue to share half of a 48-in. plasma with a friend.
Speaking of staff, hiring PR people will get you higher paying sponsors. Engineers will help develop better parts to get you up to the front of the pack. Some of the upgrades will require certain level engineers, so you’ll have to dump them from time to time to get some who can handle higher level upgrades. It was kind of disappointing to see that they wouldn’t level up with you but just sit at the same point. One of the biggest additions for this game was the ability to add a teammate to ride for your team. Co-op play or even local head-to-head play has been sorely missing from these motorcycle games for far too long. It appears like they’ve heard the complaints and added a split screen multiplayer and co-op racing for career mode.
Some of the mid-race objectives can be very distracting to the point where they can cause more harm to your position than they are worth. Tackle them at your own discretion as you’ll find yourself bending over backward for very little reward.
My complaints about this game are small, mainly not being able to skip to the completion of a bike upgrade prior to a race in career mode. That part could give me an extra edge before a race. It seemed like some handy features got overlooked too. One that should have been noted a bit more and maybe explained is the rewind/mistake recovery. It took a few tries before I figured out how to use it properly and I found it immediately helpful for those race changing mistakes. The game will not automatically prompt you to use it if you’d like to correct your mistake. Of course, this is a bonus for those who think of these features as cheating, as you won’t be tempted to the dark side of couch racing.
MotoGP 10/11 made some welcome changes for this version and they’ve clearly listened to suggestions from their fans who want to get this long standing series back on track. In my opinion this is the MotoGP game fans have been waiting for. It’s the culmination of the last few versions of the game on these latest generation consoles with some welcome improvements. Our only real gripe it that being a PS3 exclusive, a lot of fans are going to be left in the pits.