The world of motorcycle racing has always been a major part of video games, dating all the way back to Excite Bike and other games of that nature. In recent years with the expansion of the technological advancements as well as online gameplay, motorbike racing has seen its fair share of love from developers. One of the cornerstone developers for this area is Climax Studios, who teamed up with THQ again for the next installment of the MotoGP franchise, MotoGP 07 for the Xbox 360.
I have always been a big fan of the MotoGP franchise. If you look back on any of my reviews of previous MotoGP titles, you will find that I have always been one to praise the franchise for its stellar visuals and life-like physics. However there has always been one area that annoys the heck out of me and many other fans, and that is the steep learning curve to play this game. I am not going to lie, the MotoGP franchise is the most difficult racing game to grab hold of; it’s just so touchy and extremely demanding.
In MotoGP 07 I think many fans, including myself, were hoping for some helpful tweaks to at least make the game a bit more accessible for the mainstream user. For example, I just jumped into a race just to try and grab my bearings and I found myself power sliding into a wall and out of contention right away. Granted I am not the world’s best MotoGP player, but still, I have had plenty of experience with the past games and still find the games to be very frustrating.
But like many games, if you give something enough time, many times it will turn from being just a frustrating experience to a very enjoyable one. MotoGP 07 is one of those games that really rewards players for being patient and mastering the mechanics. Speaking of the game mechanics, I should say that MotoGP 07 has some improvements, but nothing that is going to surprise you. I should say that the AI in the game is still all over the place. I hit the wall in my first race and never got back into contention, while there are other races where it seems like no matter how bad you are doing the game doesn’t want you to loose. It’s kind of a weird balance, and sometimes it will leave you scratching your head.
So we know about the mechanics and the difficulty, what else is going on in MotoGP 07? Well let’s start with the different modes of choice, which leads us to the two "big modes" which include the Grand Prix and Extreme mode. Grand Prix is the more straightforward of the two, it is rather a straight on racing experience, going on real life courses and battling for top honors. The Extreme mode is what you would probably expect given the title, but it is just a much more down-to-earth easy to grasp mode that gives much easier handling bikes as well as just an easy to approach mode. The gameplay in the Extreme mode is more geared to a person like myself who is not the world’s greatest racer and yet still wants to get into the game.
Of course what would MotoGP 07 be without online play. This time around the online mode includes Pink Slip Racing and the ability to compete in online tournaments. The two new modes I am sure speak for themselves, and are something that will make for more depth online. Speaking of online play, although there were some good crowds of people online, it did seem to take a bit to find a good game to get into. There were a few times where my game would have heavy lag, but for the most part the connection and the online play was smooth. All in all, MotoGP 07 is a good playing game, unfortunately though it’s hard to get to excited with very little new to speak of.
The biggest update I saw over last year’s MotoGP 06 was in the visual department, which now has been refined in almost every area. First off the detail that was placed in the bikes seems like it has been really beautifully crafted, there is just so much detail that at times it can be really impressive. There also has been some work done to the environments, which carry a lot more atmospheric advancements which basically means things that don’t have effect on the racing but just makes the game look better. Finally though, the frame rate, which has been a problem in the past still has trouble keeping up at times with extreme speeds of the game.
There is no doubt in my mind that MotoGP 07 is a very frustrating game, that is just a given, and I am not sure Climax is planning on changing that anytime soon. However with that being said, it is not frustrating because of poor mechanics but instead frustrating because it is a difficult game to master. In the end though, MotoGP 07 is going to be enjoyed by those who enjoy the challenge and give it the time to develop into what it can fully amount to.
MotoGP 07 is not a vast improvement over last year’s game, but it is a good solid experience nonetheless. MotoGP 07 will not be considered revolutionary, and if you own last year’s version doesn’t make all that strong of a case for an upgrade. However if you’re looking to get into the series for the first time, then MotoGP 07 is not a bad place to start.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.