April 5, 2002
MotoGP 2 - Review
Release Date Distributer Developer Players Rating Difficulty
Save Size Sound Format Vibration 60Hz Mode 50Hz Border Widescreen

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There is plenty of close racing.
Only a couple of months after the Playstation 2's release in November 2000 Namco released a wonderful little motorbike racing game called MotoGP based on their arcade game, 500GP. Unfortunately the game went largely unnoticed as people were eagerly awaiting the release of Gran Turismo 3: A-Spec. A year has passed and the timing seems just about right for this updated effort from Namco. Namco have promised new graphics, new tracks and many other additions for MotoGP 2. Is this enough to encourage owners of the original to this sequel?

With an official license from Dorna Promocin del Deporte, S.A., the sports marketing company behind the FIM World Motorcycle Championship, Namco's MotoGP series is able to use all the real riders, bikes and tracks from the 500cc motorbike series. This game doubles the track count over the original game by adding a futher five new tracks including Catelunya, Mugello, Sachsenring, Assen and LeMans. The game modes of the original game return and include arcade, Season, Challenges, Time Trial and Vs. The Challenge mode is particularly exciting and pits you against the clock in a variety of situations, most of which are a bit tougher then in last years game. Once again by completing these challenges you can unlock new features in the game such as photos, bikes etc.

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Rider and bike detail is impressive.
The game also seems quite a bit tougher then last year's game. You will now have to be at the peak racing performance right through a race in order to win it. Riders at the front of the pack are very quick, often well off into the distance, and will not hand over the lead easily. As with the previous game Namco have include the option to switch between two styles of racing, arcade or simulation. Unfortunately there is not a huge difference between the two with simulation mode merely making it easier to spill over if you are power sliding around a corner.

One thing which makes a very welcome return is the pop-up names and photos on each of the riders ahead of you. It's very cool to know who are just about to pass. While it is still is in the game, the distance when the names appear seems a lot more limited then in the first game resulting in, at times, only a fraction of a second where you can see the opponent rider names. Another cool feature is that by pressing the Select button it's possible to clear all the icons, speedos and maps from the screen so you are viewing only the track with no interruptions, jsut as the real riders see it. This is a terrific addition to the game from Namco.

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No slowdown even at the race start.
It's easy to say that this is the best motorbike racing game on the Playstation 2. The only competition is last years effort, and this game is a lot more polished. But if you own the original there may not be too many reasons to upgrade. Yes there is 5 more tracks and updated rider and team details, but nothing really makes it stand out as a sequel. Even the addition of 125cc and 250cc classes would have been a boost to the game. Another minor niggle is the lack of damage from crashes with other bikes. These crashes are frequent but unless you go head first into a wall you won't come off your bike, even in simulation riding mode when you hit other riders.

One thing is certain, Namco do know how to make their games look good, and MotoGP 2 is no exception. The bikes and riders look spectacular while the developers have removed most, but not quite all, of the jagginess and aliasing problems of the original. The game runs at a solid 50fps with no hint of slowdown at all. Even the starts with up to 20 riders on screen manage to keep a solid frame rate. Yet another area where this game shines is the impressive replay mode while looks just as spectacular as the original game which is possibly the best ever seen. Background detail has also been bumped up slightly on each of the old tracks while the new tracks are superbly detailed.

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Possibly the best ever replay mode.
One of the major downsides to this game, as was the case with the original, is the poor music. The dance/industrial beats are quite upbeat but not very good in their mix quality. It's somewhat sad that even though Namco have the best development teams in the world and still come up with music that, while the style is fine, lacks any sort of real quality. Perhaps Namco should look at using licensed music tracks for some games in future. Fortunately the sound effects including the crowds, bikes and other ambient effects are very impressive and picks up the overall sound quality of the title considerably.

With time the MotoGP series has begun to look a little dated, even with the visual improvements made. Still it's not that it looks bad, not at all. It may just be a little disappointing to some, especially if you already own the original. MotoGP 2 is pretty much the only motorbike racing game on the market at the moment, which is a little disappointing given the number of car racing titles. Still MotoGP 2 is a very solid title so fans of the genre should be very happy with this game.

GRAPHICSCleaner then last years game, but falling behind newer PS2 games.
SOUNDGood bike and ambient effects are let down buy some horrific music.
GAMEPLAYFrom simulation to arcade style gameplay and plenty of modes.
VALUEA fun 2-player mode, lengthy career mode and fun challenge mode.
OVERALLWhile MotoGP 2 is better then last years game it lacks major additions over the original to warrant purchase by owners of that game. Those who never had the original should consider MotoGP 2.

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