MotoGP 08 PlayStation 3
Published by: Capcom
Developed by: Milestone
Release Date: Out Now
Last year we looked at Capcom and Milestone's first MotoGP title, MotoGP 07 for the PlayStation 2 and by all accounts it was a good game. It was lacking a little in terms of presentation but for those who wanted a motorcycle racing title that felt more like a simulation than an arcade title, it was definitely a game worth a purchase. This year we have MotoGP 08 for the current generation of consoles and we've been fortunate enough to get our hands on the PlayStation 3 version of the game. It improves upon last year's game but there's still some room for improvement.
MotoGP 08 features all of the official riders, bikes and circuits from this year's event. The modes on offer are Career, Quick Race, Time Attack, Championship, Challenges and Multiplayer. The standout mode here is the Career mode which allows you to create your own rider and take them through a five season career. There are 50 challenges for you to complete in Challenges mode. Completing a challenge will unlock additional content. The challenges include speed and braking challenges, checkpoint challenges and single-race and championship scenarios amongst other things. You can also race online with up to 11 others on any track from the MotoGP season. You can either take part in a quick race or create your own custom race choosing how many human riders will take part, the number of laps (1,3,5,10 or the real amount of laps for a given circuit) and whether collisions are possible etc. Online races are certainly welcome but it's a shame that you can't race a Championship season online and are instead limited to one-off races.
The Career mode is a welcome addition and gives some much needed replay value to the experience. During the five seasons you'll attempt to become the MotoGP champion but initially you'll only have access to the 125cc race class. Perform well in a season and you'll be able to progress to better teams and race in the 250cc and MotoGP race classes. Perform well in races and you'll earn Career Points which can be used to upgrade your bike improving max speed, acceleration, braking and traction. You can alter your bikes configuration to a certain extent altering the tyres, suspension, turning speed and gear settings.
When you first play the game you'll have the option of taking a tutorial. It isn't a traditional tutorial however as you jump into an arcade race with the idea being that you'll complete the race and have a riding model suggested to you. The whole thing is flawed however and can lead to you selecting a riding model that may be too difficult. The game has three riding models Arcade, Advanced and Simulation that you can use in any of the game's modes. The tutorial uses the very accessible Arcade riding model to begin with and in my case it recommended that I use the Simulation riding model upon completing the race. There's a hell of a difference between the two models however. Arcade is extremely forgiving whilst Simulation is extremely unforgiving and punishes you for the slightest mistake. Personally I would keep away from the Simulation mode unless you really know what you're doing and the Advanced riding model is probably the best to choose if you find the Arcade model all too easy. In addition to the three riding models there are four AI difficulty levels.
There's a lot to like with MotoGP 08. The bike physics can be as realistic or as forgiving as you want them to be. Graphically it's quite pleasing and the frame rate holds up pretty well. The game also presents no problems for deaf gamers as all of the information in the game is (aside from engine noise) is shown visually. The Career mode is enjoyable but some may find that they want to play through more than five seasons although it's worth pointing out that you can't switch between the AI difficulty settings (there are four in total) during a career and after five seasons you'll probably want to up the difficulty setting just to give yourself more of a challenge. Online championships would certainly have been welcome too. The game still has room for improvement then but it's certainly a step up from last year's game. Whether you're a hardcore MotoGP enthusiast or simply looking for an alternative to the plethora of four-wheeled racing games out there, MotoGP 08 should satisfy. Here's hoping for the same level of improvement in future MotoGP titles.