|System: DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: 4J Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Bethesda Softworks||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 1, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Cole Smith
When I was a kid (and yes the wheel was already invented), my father had a Ducati motorcycle. To be quite honest, I thought it was nothing special. I didn't realize at the time that Ducati is a coveted name in bikes, but this thing just didn't look all that cool. I was too young to test it out myself, so I can't tell you how good it handled, but my mother made my father sell it at the end of summer, so I never did get a chance to ride it. With Ducati Moto, I get to relive some of my childhood and actually re-invent it, as I finally get to ride my own Ducati motorcycle.
Truth be told, Ducati Moto is a decent little racing game. It's arcade-friendly, so you won't have to worry about crashing into the rail for failing to nail a hairpin turn. The racing is fast and exciting. There is a well-balanced pace to it that allows you to develop your own style and rhythm. You can really lean into turns and take corners quickly, employing techniques such as power sliding. Upgrades actually affect the performance of these vehicles, and not only do they look nice, but they handle incredibly well. A racing game such as this runs the risk of becoming redundant, but with different tracks, bikes, and upgrades, the gameplay is fresh and challenging. The controls are simple and responsive. The bikes are so smooth they almost hover atop the asphalt. Anyone can pick-up-and-play the game in Easy mode, and those looking for more of a challenge won't be disappointed in the Hard mode.
There are 11 different Ducati bikes to be unlocked, purchased, and upgraded. Most of them are red, but that's not due to a limited color palette, that's Ducati's signature color. Steering is controlled with the D-pad. It's not perfect, but you will get used to making those corners. Gas is controlled by the A button and the bike stops with a press of the B button. The control system feels about as good as you can expect from a handheld system. Upgrades include suspension, tires, shocks, and engine. Money needed to purchase these upgrades comes from winning or betting on races. You can bet on the outcome of the races if an opponent wants to make a wager, but you're not forced into it. While it's not imperative to upgrade your bike early on in the game, there's just no way you're going to seriously compete in the upcoming tracks without some high-performance add-ons.
Races take place all over the world in the single-player Championship mode. Locations include Scotland, Morocco, Italy, Hong Kong, and the U.S. Each environment is not only different looking in terms of background scenery, but offers different challenges. Scotland has plenty of twists and turns, and Morocco offers some off-roading in the desert sands. It's pure cliffhanging along the roads of Italy, where a wrong move can send you plunging to your death. Hong Kong offers the most different and challenging courses. Taking place in the urban jungle, the races follow city streets littered with seemingly abandoned vehicles, creating a treacherous and tricky obstacle course. Although the streets are filled with obstacles, there are no pedestrians or traffic in the background to bring the city to life. It looks like the aftermath of a Godzilla attack.