MotoGP 09 10 Hands-On Preview – Are Two Wheels Ever Better Than Four?
Written Monday, February 15, 2010 By Richard WalkerView author's profile
Going to places you wouldn't normally get to see, and doing things you'd never have the chance to do is one of the best things about being a videogames journo. So when Capcom invited us to go check out MotoGP 09/10 at Silverstone, a pillion ride around the Stowe training track at Silverstone on a proper motorcycle with the California Superbike School sealed the deal.
Putting aside our five laps of what to us felt like serious velocity, MotoGP 09/10 is actually shaping up to be a marked improvement over the rest of the franchise to date. Moving away from the resolutely staid realism that has informed the series thus far, 09/10 utilises smart visual effects to better convey a sense of speed, with motion blur and dynamic lighting giving Monumental's game more of an identity of its own, while enhancing the graphical flair on show.
Still, no concessions have been made to realism on the track, with the same kind of handling still providing what Monumental call the “authentic MotoGP experience.” If said authentic experience is a bit twitchy on the corners, then it's spot on. But then this perceived twitch factor is probably a result of our ineptitude in playing this kind of game. Turns out we should be braking way in advance of approaching curves before smoothly navigating around the apex of the corner. Who’d a thunk it?
It's a skill we never quite mastered while playing MotoGP 08 and it's something that we're never likely to master due to a slow-working brain that has trouble in discerning exactly when to squeeze on the anchors in preparation for an oncoming corner. Luckily, MotoGP 09/10 is the first in the series to introduce a Forza-style racing line indicator, meaning that rubbish novices (like myself) will be able to learn the optimum course to take into tough corners, hopefully coming out in one piece rather than bailing out and skidding across the track in a shower of sparks and ground leather.
Obviously, the line that bikes take around racetracks is completely different to the line a car would normally take and so naturally, the training indicator is laid out accordingly. However, if you think you can improve upon the intricately researched lines meticulously formulated from real race data and so forth, you're able to set record lap times that adjust the racing line to reflect your own preferred record-breaking line. Others can then download your line to improve their own times, and obviously you can do the same to aid your own skill progression.
And there's more asphalt than ever to throw your two wheels around in MotoGP 09/10 with 17 tracks including two new additions in the form of the Balatonring in Hungary and the future Silverstone circuit in all its refurbished glory (there are still construction vehicles all over the track right now, although, weaving around them at speed would make for an interesting race). These two extra 2010 season tracks as well as the 800cc bike class complete with riders and liveries will be supplied as free post-launch DLC, followed by 2010 season livery updates for every team and rider in a second free DLC pack.
Until then, you're still given full access to all the 2009 stuff on the game disc, which is as rich and fully featured as you'd expect. Championship, Career and Arcade modes offer varying challenges, but it's the career that provides the real meat of the game. Providing a massive event calendar to wade through, you can join a team, secure sponsorship and branding to embark upon a lengthy and hopefully illustrious career filled with trophies, fast women and loads of cash (all virtual, of course).
It's certainly in-depth, even allowing you to employ engineers and conduct research to gain access to better bike components and upgrades to increase your chances in beating the competition to the chequered flag. You can switch difficulties between races if the competition is still too fierce (or indeed too easy) for you, and also toggle other aspects of the racing such as tyre wear.