|Release Date:||Out Now|
|Reviewer:||James Witherow (Toma)|
|Buy now at Amazon.co.uk|
MotoGP is the next series to make the leap to a next generation console. With that we get some great looking bike models and updated riders for the MotoGP 2006 season. Climax remain the developers for the series, and after MotoGP 1, 2 and 3 you would expect them to know what they are doing and I’m pleased to say they do. MotoGP’06 is one of the most realistic arcade motorbike games I’ve played and it's by no means easy to begin with, even taking corners is a challenge in your first few races. Expect to make visits to the run off area as you whizz straight pass the apex and hope your rider hangs on as you bounce through the rough. It’ll frustrate you to start with but just adds to the enjoyment as you hook that corner up after some practice.
The game is broken up to the usual career mode, single race and online play. Your choice of bikes and tracks are limited until you have unlocked them in the career mode. It’s best to start off with some training before you start the career mode. Training includes; Basic bike control, Holding a turn, 180, Wheelie and Slalom. They are mostly a straightforward cone dodging affair, but will help you get a feel for how the bike handles. You can then move on to a grand prix season, you get just two bikes to choose from at this point but you are able to personalise it. Through the season you get to race around all 17 of the actual MotoGP circuits. As you progress you gain experience points which are used to improve your bikes corner speed, acceleration etc. Winning races also boosts your seed which opens up more bikes. You can also gain experience points by completing challenges on each circuit. The first challenge is Dry Sack Late Braking, this involves working on late braking in to one of the corners and exiting it within the time limit. The second is the Parilla speed test, for this you do a series of fast corners on the circuit. Not only do you have to complete it in the time limit but also exceed a set speed. One experience credit is given for completing each. Other challenges included following another rider round the circuit and keeping within a second of him by the end of the lap. The challenges are a nice idea to practice vital corners, but I can’t help thinking these experience points are a little pointless.
When you’ve had enough of circuits there are Extreme Street tracks to race around. The down side is each Extreme track requires unlocking by racing a particular GP circuit. It would have been nice to have the Extreme tracks available from the start, given that it’s easier, more fun and a nice change from the circuit racing. The Extreme tracks are based on real life locations but are fictitious tracks. Once you have completed your first grand prix season you’ll also be able to do an Extreme Championship. This introduces money into the game as you earn money from winning races which in turn allows you to buy bikes and parts. Once you have enough for 1000cc or 1200cc bike you can compete in those disciplines as well.
You only have to look at the screenshots to see Climax have gone to a lot of effort with MotoGP’06. The bikes are detailed and the lighting makes them look even better. I do have mixed feeling about the graphics however. Even allowing for the standard definition television I was using I didn’t find it as impressive as I would expect from the screenshots, especially on the circuits with less track-side objects. The depth blurring seems excessive and painted road markings and other details also disappear rather early.
Some of the GP circuits such as Estoril have plenty of detail and look great on any TV. The street races offer much more road side visuals; Copa Cobana comes to mind as a good looking track. Some city tracks offer similarly impressive detail as Project Gotham 3, although I distinctly remember a few buildings looking rather like cardboard cut outs on the replay. For the most part the game runs silky smooth, the fps did drop occasionally when leaving the run off areas. I also experienced some serious V-Sync tears.
The only other negative that stood out to me was a rather basic weather system, it’s either a wet race or a sunny race. When it’s wet you get some nice spray and rain drops on the screen but it’s let down by unnaturally even water reflection on the track. It would have been nice to see more progressive weather with puddles and wet and dry lines.
There's nothing like some great music to add to the gaming experience. Unfortunatly the game disappoints on this front, although it’s not so bad it lets the game down too much. On the up side the bikes sound good so pop on an mp3 instead and all is good.
I could understand if some MotoGP 3 fans are disappointed with ’06, you get the graphics improvements you would expect for an Xbox 360 title but aside from more realistic handling bikes the game remains quite similar with MotoGP3. That’s not a bad thing as the game is a lot of fun and I hope it does well if only so it spurs on a more adventurous sequel.
We have a solid racing title here, it's fast and fun and once you get the hang of it it's a rewarding racing experience. Whether it offers enough to entice new gamers to the series I'm not sure, but if you can accept similar features to the last MotoGP then you won't be disappointed.
- Good graphics
- Realistic handling
- Extreme mode
Not so good stuff
- Expected better graphics in some areas
- Having to unlock Extreme tracks
- Takes some perseverance to get used to the bikes
- Lacks depth
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