Review: MotoGP 09/10 (Xbox 360, PS3)April 14th, 2010 | Written by Filippo Dinolfo | Topic: PlayStation 3, Reviews, Xbox 360
MotoGP 09/10 is Capcom’s second outing as the sole publisher of MotoGP games. This is also their first MotoGP game for the current generation of consoles. MotoGP might not be as popular in North America is it is in Europe and Asia, but it does have a small and devoted fan base. Capcom believes that small fan base is enough to bring the game to the North American market. If you’re one of these MotoGP devotees then you’ll find that Capcom have released a rather enjoyable game.
While MotoGP 09/10 has four main game modes, the one that you’ll spend the most time with is the Career Mode. In this mode you’ll start off in the 125cc class and work your way up the ranks to the 250cc class and finally up to the 600cc MotoGP class. The career tries to give you the feeling of managing affairs both on and off the track. You’ll begin by naming your racing team, then customizing your racing suit and bike livery. Once that’s all sorted out you’ll get to jump into the racing. After that first race the career opens up a little bit and starts to sprinkle in other nice managerial elements. You’ll have to hire Press Agents who will help secure sponsorships for your team. Hiring Engineers will let you research better technology for your bike. Each of these people have a level and a fee associated with them. As you progress up the ranks you’ll need to look to hire better people to help you advance further.
Between each race you’ll have to pay your staff and if you’ve not done well enough you may find that you do not have enough money to go around and will have to lay people off. This is a nice mechanic, but the need to drop staff isn’t that hard of a decision since the people you hire are just names and don’t really have much of a personality. Despite this, Capcom have done as well as could be expected. Board Room politics is not what this game is about.
On the track things get far more interesting. The racing is fast, smooth, and responsive and maintains a very steady frame rate. MotoGP 09/10 is a mix of an Arcade style racer and a Simulation style racer. You have control of both the front and rear brakes, as you would expect in a good motorcycle racing game. The game also allows you to display the optimal racing line on the track, much like most of the modern sim racing games do. The game doesn’t try to go too far into simulation territory though. This is most evident when another rider hits you from behind. Sometimes you will be catapulted from your bike, other times you’ll get a free speed boost.
Another issue with MotoGP 09/10 relates to the game’s AI. It is possible to qualify for a race several seconds ahead of a particular rider. This sounds normal enough, the trouble is you’ll often see that same slower qualifying rider ahead of you. It seems like the times the AI sets in qualifying have no real bearing on the skill of the AI riders. This is again punctuated by the way all of the AI riders tend to get bunched up around you, no matter how well you ride. The only way to get around this seems to be to spend money on researching parts to give you a formidable hardware advantage. This isn’t to say that having close races isn’t fun. It just would have been more interesting had the AI played by the same rules you have to.
If you’re looking to race against other people online MotoGP 09/10 does offer a nice online mode. You can race with up to 20 players using any of the bike classes. Unfortunately if you want access to the higher bike classes you will have to have unlocked them in season mode. This may seem like an annoying requirement to play with the fastest bikes online, but it does serve a purpose. When you get into an online race with 600cc bikes more often than not you will be with people who actually know how to handle them and will race cleanly. That isn’t always the case, but more often than not it has been in our online races. As for online performance, MotoGP 09/10 makes a good showing of itself. Races did not feel lagged and the game maintained a nice smooth frame rate The only real issue is finding a full 20 person field to race against. Depending on the time of day you’ll find an ebb and flow of players. The best times seem to be in mid afternoon when you have more people from Europe online.
MotoGP 09/10 is a decent looking and sounding game. It certainly isn’t the best that the Xbox 360 or PS3 can offer, but it does still look quite good. The game does a good job with lighting and various other blurring effects to convey speed. It also has some nice weather effects with rain splattering on the camera or bike’s windscreen. The racing tracks, however, leave a bit to be desired. At best they’re boring and barren and at worst they bring the whole atmosphere of racing down a notch. This area could use some polish in a sequel.
The game’s soundtrack will either please or annoy you, depending on whether you like Euro rock and electronic music. There’s nothing on the soundtrack that makes it horrible, but not a lot stands out either. What does stand out is the buzzing of the bike’s engines. These don’t sound quite right, but it’s hard to really put a finger on why. There is just something missing it seems. Besides that, the game doesn’t sound all that bad.
MotoGP 09/10 is a good example of a fun game with a few pronounced rough edges. These shortcomings shouldn’t put you off. The game does a good job in several areas and these mitigate the game’s shortcomings for the most part. If you’re a fan of MotoGP or are looking to get into it, you might want to consider giving this one a look.