High on Octane, Low on Entertainment
The problem with any simulation is sometimes it can take itself a little too seriously. There are also those occurrences where the game in question fails to find an identity altogether. MotoGP 07 seems to have both of these problems. On the one hand it is painstakingly difficult to handle your bike, and on the other for a game with such a deep control scheme there is not very much to the rest of it.
When the going gets tough, the tough get going or they continue to fall off their bike until they are ready to take their helmet and go home. For those unfamiliar with motorcycle racing and the Moto GP series, this will not be an easy transition. The learning curve here is steep, and it is not helped by the extremely unforgiving play mechanics. I have never ridden one of these two-wheeled rockets, but I assume it is as difficult as this game makes it. Thus is the crux of the situation; GP ’07 bears the burden of its own realism. Fans of the sport may find that aspect endearing, and others will easily tire of the races, which feel more like a chore than excitement on a bike.
The lack of flare offered up by the competition is unfortunate because -number one – it’s a racing game. The one thing it should excel at, it does not. Despite that, there are other distractions to keep avid gamers occupied. To go along with the Championship mode (season), there are 100 assorted challenges for talented drivers to try their hand at. As I alluded to above, this game is not very deep; aside from these challenges the season is very short, and once you complete it all that is left is Quick Race or Time Attack. You can restart the season over again or play one through with a friend, but really what is the point? A nice bonus would have been online play because even super fans will probably sour on this title sooner than later.
Before we get to the sound and the graphics, we will address the controls. These are truthfully what will warrant a look from the average gamer or not. There are three control styles to choose from, each making the feel of the bike more and more difficult. Arcade mode is the standard, leaving very little in the players control aside from braking, accelerating, and turning. If you are daring, you can make the leap to advanced or even simulation, where both wheels of the bike can be slowed independent of each other. These controls add entirely new elements to the experience and are the only way to master the game. The only question is will anybody be dedicated enough to get good enough to use them?
The look of the game is on the money; racers and their bikes all look great. Even in the late stages of its life cycle, the PlayStation 2 continues to impress. With roughly 20 different riders to choose from, they did a nice job representing all of them. In addition to the riders, the 18 tracks also look decent, and from what little I have seen of motorcycle racing they seem to grasp the general appearance of the track. One of the better graphical features is just the look of the bike as you race it; you can see when you are taking a turn too fast, as the tires fish out. The bike is also a high point in the sound department.
Purists will once again rejoice when they discover that all the effects of the bike were recorded from actual Moto GP bikes. From the revving of the engine to the grinding of the brakes, it is all dead on. Something they should have added to compliment this better would have been a sweet in game sound track to keep races livelier.
When push comes to shove, it is just too hard for me to recommend this game. Big time fans of the sport hardly need my esteemed opinion on such a matter, as they will know more about this circuit than I would ever want to. As much as I do appreciate the realism the title so firmly embraces, the difficulty that accompanies it is just too off putting. High speed affairs are supposed to be fun, not frustrating and annoying. In the end, accelerate, brake, accelerate, brake, fall, then proceed to curse a lot is not a practice I want to get into. I did that enough driving in California, minus the falling of course.
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 4.0 Graphics
Decent environments, but anchored by the bikes themselves. 3.2 Control
Too unforgiving, serious racing fans will enjoy the depth. 3.3 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Bikes sound great, everything else is a little drab. 2.3 Play Value
Short season, but stockpiled with challenges and all for just 30 bucks. 2.7 Overall Rating – Average
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.