MotoGP license is a rather unique one in the world of sports.
Typically a company will license out its games to one developer
only; but MotoGP has actually licensed their brand to both Namco and
THQ. The result can be rather confusing to consumers, but this
MotoGP is in no way related to the MotoGP found on the PS2. Namco
developed the PS2 MotoGP, while THQ is handling the
publishing for MotoGP on GBA and Xbox. Surprisingly (given
Namco's racing heritage), THQ's MotoGP has actually come out
as the best version available. Of course, the power of the Xbox has
something to do with that.
the PS2's MotoGP, this game aims for a more realistic
approach. Naturally an arcade mode has been thrown in to help novice
players get a feel for the game, but the real beef of it lies in the
very deep Grand Prix series. In the Arcade Championship, the player
must make it a series of checkpoints before the timer runs out (AKA
every other arcade racing game ever). How the player finishes one
race will determine where they start in the next race, with the
ultimate goal to of being in first place at the end of the final
race. Points can also be earned by performing stunts like endos and
wheelies, with a running total of points kept to open up special
Grand Prix series is a simulation of the 2001 season. This mode uses
the championship point system found in real life, with 1st
place getting 25 points, 2nd place 20 points, etc. This
plays out over a full season, with the ultimate goal of being first
in the point standings at the end of the 10th race. The
player can also take advantage of a very nice Create a Rider mode,
which allows the user to customize the bike appearance, rider
leathers, and allocate initial starting credits to four different
attributes: cornering, braking, top speed, and acceleration. The
created rider can then be trained through a series of challenges in
a very nice training mode, with each challenge categorized by the
attribute completing it will increase. Performing well in the Grand
Prix mode will also open up a variety of various unlockable items,
most of which are more rewarding than the rather lame ones found in MotoGP
on PS2. Once a season is completed, the player can move on to the
next while retaining the same rider's skills.
bikes control very realistically, but at the same time are a bit
easier to control than other games in the genre. Naturally all of
the elements of the sport are well represented here (cornering is
extremely important, bikes slow considerably off the road, etc.),
but the controls seem a bit tighter than other cycle racing games. I
don't know if that's due to the Xbox controller or what, but all
that matters is that they do feel tighter and more responsive. The
result is an experience that still feels like the real thing, but
isn't extremely frustrating to all but the most hardcore players.
fawned over the graphics in Namco's MotoGP back when it was
released, but amazingly this game looks leaps and bounds better than
that effort. The most striking aspect of the graphics is the
excellent weather system. When it rains it really pours; realistic
spray flies up behind each rider (and onto the player's windshield
if that camera angle is chosen), thunder and lightning light up the
cloudy sky, and the "rain on the camera" effect actually
tops the effort found in Wave Race: Blue Storm. Racing in the
first-person camera angle thus takes on an extra element of
challenge, as the player must not only battle the more restrictive
camera angle, but also the elements. Rider and bike animation is
flawless, with mud gradually disappearing from the back tire after
going off-road. Particularly, close attention was paid to the riders
as they'll turn their head when looking behind, shake their fists,
lean into every turn realistically, etc.
MotoGP is a bit less spectacular, but solid nevertheless. The
soundtrack is your typical Euro-racer stuff, which sounds great but
very similar to every other rally/bike game out there. Of course
MotoGP does support custom user soundtracks, so including that
feature alone makes this complaint almost moot (but there's still no
excuse for a merely "average" included soundtrack). The
sound effects are sparse but ultra-realistic, and perfectly fine as
long as you can put up with the constant whine of the bikes. The
volume and location of sounds changes slightly whenever the player
switches camera angles, which isn't necessarily groundbreaking but
adds to the aural experience anyway. Environmental effects are solid
as well, including very realistic thunder and crowd noises. Xbox
fanboys can take comfort in the fact that the thunder in this game
and Morrowind trump Wave Race's, and establish the Xbox as the console of
choice for weather effects.
tight controls that aren't too demanding on the player.
of unlockable extras and an excellent create-a-rider mode give
this game plenty of depth.
weather effects in particular are awesome, but the entire
graphic presentation is stellar.
soundtrack is standard fare.
tight gameplay and a wealth of options, MotoGP is one of the
best racing games currently available on the Xbox and probably the
best MotoGP game ever. Even racing fans not particularly fond of the
genre will find a lot to like here.