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Nov. 29 2006
MotoGP - PSP Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
24/10/2006SonySonyNamco Bandai
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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It's MotoGP on the PSP.
With games like Ridge Racer and Wipeout Pure being huge successes on the PSP, the racing genre is not only one of the most successful on the system, but also one of the harder ones to make an impact on. Namcoís latest in the MotoGP series certainly makes a solid attempt at leaving its mark on the collections of racing fanatics, and they are the ones who are probably going to get the most out of this release, at least much more so than the casual gamer.

MotoGP allows players to play through a season (8 races) and gain points based on their position in the races. There is no story to speak of, but players are able to race against all the big names from the years 2005 and 2006. Eventually, you can even play as those big names, though it will take some playing to unlock all the characters (done by completing seasons with certain conditions).

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An actual game viewpoint screen.
Season mode works fairly much as you would expect. At the beginning of each round you are given several options, which include free practice, qualifying practice and race. These are all fairly self-explanatory, and the only remaining option is the settings page, which is a very basic bike-modification screen. Here you and switch between automatic and manual transmission, customize your acceleration vs. top speed modifier, grip vs. handling modifier and the like. Itís a nice addition to the game, but itís not really going to change the game too much. Still, it is good to be able to play with your bike between races.

Once thatís all sorted out, the racing begins Ė and this is where some players may have trouble. MotoGP is definitely not a simulator (even with the sim option turned on), but itís also not quite the arcade racer I was expecting. It takes a good few races to get the hang of the controls, in particular the handling, and most players are probably going to spend most of their first race crashing into barriers. However, once you get over this learning curve, the game is quite enjoyable. The bikes move nice and fast and it really captures the speed of actual races.

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Background detail is a bit sparse.
Outside season mode there is the usual arcade mode, where players are able to play individual races. There are also a few other options such as Time Trial, One on One and Mutiplayer. These all add to the games longevity and those who enjoy MotoGP on the PSP are going to have a lot to play with this release.

That said MotoGP is not without its troubles. Perhaps the biggest one of which is how easy the game becomes once you get over the initial learning curve. Opponents are incredibly easy to pass and the only time I had any real issues with keeping in front of them was on the straight stretches. It seemed that I would always out-corner them in the winding bits, but they somehow manage to outrun me on every straight in the game, even with the same bikes. That aside though, MotoGP probably isnít going to provide too much of a challenge for those willing to sit down and play for a couple of hours, but due to its initial learning curve, casual gamers will have some trouble getting into the game.

Another big issue I have is the lack of online multiplayer. Like Ridge Racer, the only multiplayer supported is via ad-hoc. Not even game sharing is enabled, and while it is not going to affect everyone, itís a big disappointment as we have been fairly starved on the PSP when it comes to online racing.

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Zzzzz.. Boring screen.
What it lacks in multiplayer support though it makes up for with looks. MotoGP looks quite stunning. It never drops a frame and keeps up the feeling of speeding along at a few hundred kilometers an hour. The only real issue is that while the bikes and players look quite nice, thereís not a whole lot of trackside detail, and stopping still near a stand of spectators will reveal how incredibly badly drawn they are. However, this is still a solid graphical release for the PSP.

I guess thereís only so much you can do with the sounds of a motorbike, but MotoGP to me seems to be quite lacking in the audio department. The bikes donít sound anywhere real enough to me and it takes away from the realism of the game quite badly. Whatís there is good quality, but it doesnít seem to suit the realistic nature of the game. Other than that all there is really is music, but this really fades into the background and becomes background noise more than something you take notice of. Overall, itís a fairly average sounding game.

MotoGP is by no means going to be fun for everyone. Games that only ever play 10-20 minutes on the bus on the way to work probably wonít ever get the hang of the handling. But for the players willing to sit down and play for a few hours at a time itís a very enjoyable game, even if it is at times too easy. With slick graphics that never slow, the PSP has got another solid racer to add to its repertoire.

Review By: Michael Hutchesson

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GRAPHICSItís not the most amazing, but it looks good, and never slows.
SOUNDFairly average effects. They seem a little cartoonier than they should.
GAMEPLAYGreat fun, if not easy, if you have the time to get used to the handling.
VALUEThereís a fair bit of content here, though a small number of tracks make it fairly repetitive.
OVERALLThis is another solid release that will have racing fans happy. Make sure you have the time to get used to it though!

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