It is becoming increasingly apparent that automotive games do not belong on the Wii. Aside from obvious exception Mario Kart, there are plenty of examples of poor racing games on the console, and it seems that all of these racing games have the same problem: control. Although Moto GP refrains from the tired “use the Wii-mote as a steering wheel” trap, it nonetheless manages to be yet another example of a poor racing game on the Wii.
For those unfamiliar with the Moto GP series, it has been around for quite awhile, and its latest iteration for the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360 was fairly good. The series focuses on the world of professional motorcycle racing and has been notable for its precision control scheme. Much like the Forza series, Moto GP is all about accuracy, and whether you love it or hate it, the Moto GP experience is all about hitting those turns just right.
So, you may be wondering how does a series that prides itself on precision work on the Wii? Well, unfortunately, it doesn’t. The Wii’s motion controls just aren’t up to the task, and the thumbstick controls are too vague for real success in the game, but more on that later. Even though the control is bad, there is plenty more to dislike about MotoGP for the Wii.
One thing that was initially impressive to me about this title was the vast number of modes and ways to play. There is a career mode, time trials, training, and an exhibition mode. However, upon entering all of these modes, I noticed something rather precarious: they all seemed to be the same. While the HUD changes during these different modes, highlighting checkpoints in the “challenge” mode or showing you your time status during time trial, the modes all feature the same tracks, and the gameplay doesn’t change at all. Though it can be argued that most automotive games suffer from little to no variation, Moto GP takes this weakness to new heights, and playing through each different mode is painfully boring.
Modes aside, another big problem with MotoGP is the visuals. Pretty much everything about this game’s look screams last-gen, from the blocky-looking bikes to the virtually empty track landscapes. The one passable area of the visuals is the animations, but these are just not enough to make up for all of this game’s more obvious visual shortcomings.
The audio in this title isn’t half bad, and the half that isn’t bad happens to be the music. The game opens with some rockin’ tunes, and the menu music is actually pretty good. However, the problem is that outside of the beginning of the game and during the actual racing modes, all you can hear is the sound effects, which happen to be awful. From the plunking transmission to the monotonous sounds of the engine, the effects in this title are grating to listen to.
This brings me back to my original complaint about MotoGP: the controls. There are four different ways to control the game, and while having options is nice, the truth is that none of them are very good. The first control method is the simplest, having you hold the Wii-mote on its side, pressing the 2 button to accelerate, and tilting the Wii-mote left and right to steer. Although this is the simplest control scheme, steering your bike with any accuracy using this control scheme is pretty much impossible.
The second control scheme is probably the most fun-sounding, as it involves steering with the Nunchuk’s thumbstick to steer, while holding the Wii Remote sideways, like a bike handle, and pushing it forward to accelerate and backwards to brake. I found this control scheme to be very cumbersome in practice, and I found my onscreen character decelerating when I was trying to accelerate, and vice-versa. It sounds awesome in theory, but it just doesn’t work at all in reality.
The third and fourth control schemes represent the best two control options in the game, but trust me when I say that this doesn’t really mean they are good. Control scheme number three is focused on the manual driver by using the Nunchuk’s C button for acceleration and the Wii-mote’s B button for braking. Since this control scheme is manual-focused, you are able to shake the Wii-mote either up or down to shift gears. The final control scheme is essentially the same as this one, except you use the thumbstick on the Nunchuk for both steering and acceleration. Although using these control schemes is less headache-inducing than the two prior, they lack the precision needed for an accurate Moto GP experience, because the controls don’t allow for the angled turns required to successfully complete races and challenges.
Overall, Moto GP on the Wii is just a mess. Although I didn’t exactly have great expectations going into the game, I at least wanted something playable. Although I would definitely recommend MotoGP on the PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360, the Wii version just isn’t up to par. With last-gen visuals, four weak control schemes, and little to no play variety, the Moto GP experience is lost here. Moto GP turns out to be yet another poor racing game on the Wii.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 1.5 Graphics
Graphics are bland, blocky, and boring. This is definitely one of the worst-looking titles on the Wii. 2.0 Control
Motion controls are gimmicky and do not work well at all. The thumbstick-based Nunchuck controls work a little better, but they lack the precision necessary to adequately control the bikes. 2.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Background music is fairly good, but it doesn’t play during races. Sound effects are repetitive, generic, and annoying. 2.2
Although there are plenty of modes, the poor controls hamper any play value this title might have had.
1.9 Overall Rating – Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.