Gaming Today Reviews MotoGP 07 (PS2)
When I see a title like MotoGP 07, the first thing that pops to mind is, Wow! All the excitement of of Nascar race, but on motorcycles? Hot dog! Then after the false enthusiasm wears off, I remember, oh yeah, I hate racing sims. I have a certain amount of respect for them, and I can see how some people would enjoy them; but they’re usually just not fun for me. Nevertheless, I played through MotoGP 07 with the specific intention of finding something fun about it, or at least something that might appeal to racing sim fans. Here’s a spoiler: I didn’t find either.
The game is an official MotoGP title, so it makes full use of the license. There are dozens of actual riders from all over the world to choose from, none of which will be familiar at all to anyone who isn’t already a MotoGP fan. There are 18 tracks to choose from, all of which were modeled after the actual tracks from the 2007 season. And, as you’d expect, every course and rider is plastered with all manner of corporate logos. It’s like the game is trying to warn you itself: “Don’t buy me. I am a licensed game that no one put a whole lot of effort into.”
Presentation wouldn’t be a huge issue to me if I at least felt like someone at least tried to make this game look more interesting. If you’ve picked up any racing game in the last decade or so, nothing here will surprise you. There’s no special modes, no standout bikes, no real sense of breakneck speed. It’s just a racing game and nothing more. It’s sad when you can predict a game with “07″ in the title hitting the bargain bin before the year ends
The graphics in this game can be summed up in one word: fugly. I’m normally a “gameplay over graphics” type of guy, but when the gameplay involves me racing a vehicle around a track over and over, that vehicle and that track should at least look pretty. I understand this is the PS2 version of the game, but calling the graphics in this game “last-gen” would be an insult to some of the graphically amazing games on Sony’s aging console. It’s no wonder they didn’t even try to make this a PS3 title, because it would just look ridiculous when held up to the likes of MotorStorm.
Don’t let these press screenshots fool you. The levels are bland with the same textures used so often I was reminded of Mario Kart on the SNES. On the plus side, you can have different weather on each track (i.e. sunny, cloudy, and rainy), but that really doesn’t make a whole world of difference. Basically, having a rainy track means a darker gray track, a gray sky, and water droplets hitting the screen. Even the animations are stiff and jerky, which is especially noticeable when your rider falls off and goes tumbling along the ground like a plastic army man. There’s even an “Orbit Mode” which allows you to pause the game and move around the camera to get a closer look at the awful graphics. About the only visuals that won’t bore you to tears are the short video clips from actual MotoGP races and overviews of the countries they were held in.
All the sounds were apparently recorded from actual motorcycles. Basically, this means you’ll hear the sound of your own engine humming constantly throughout a race and that’s about it. I understand this is an attempt at realism, but I was actually wanting to hear an announcer’s voice just to break up the tedium. There’s not even a brake squeel as you make a tight turn. Also, the sound of sand under your wheels will drive you insane, since it sounds mor elike someone blowing into a microphone; though it is further incentive to stay on the track.
MotoGP 07 employs all the standard modes usually found in a racing title, like “Quick Race,” “Time Attack,” and of course “Championship,” the meat of the game. There’s also over 100 different “Challenges,” which will have you completing objectives, such as specific time trials, slalom events, and maintaining your speed through a track. The Championship Mode will naturally have you competing on all the different tracks against AI opponents, mimicking the actual MotoGP tournaments.
This game can be punishingly difficult at times, and takes some practice to get used to. The controls are easy to pick up, hard to master. It’s all about precision braking and accelerating to get to the lead. One slip up can send you all the way to the back. I won’t fault the game for this, since that’s kind of how a real motorcycle race works, but it still makes for some near controller-shattering moments. You can tweak the suspension of your bike and choose tire types and such, but it really doesn’t make a noticeable difference to your bike’s performance. You can perform wheelies and stoppies as well, but they really don’t serve any purpose. In fact, during a race, it’ll just send you straight to the back of the line.
The AI in the game is annoyingly unrealistic, mostly because your competitors are made out of solid rock. Somehow, if I get hit by them, I go flying off my bike down the track. But if I completely broadside them, they stay on course and I still go flying down the track. You can’t even nudge them out of the way, since that just causes them to speed up ahead of you.
While playing this game though, it was hard to avoid the pervasive question, “what is the point of all this?” The only thing you unlock are new challenges; other than that, all the tracks and riders are readily available to you from the start. Besides which, you quickly realize that all the racers perform exactly the same, so there’s no incentive to even experiment too much to find a favorite. Basically, all you’re racing for is to beat your own best times.
Replay Value: (3)
There’s local multiplayer, and it’s presence is all this game has going for it in terms of replayability. It’s nothing fancy either. You and a friend can race each other or run through time trials to compete for the best time. If you like racing games, I’m sure you can think of plenty of titles with better multiplayer than this.
Well, I suppose you could just keep racing tracks over and over, trying to get better times. But something tells me even the most devoted speed runner won’t want to bother.
This game is for MotoGP fans. Period. There’s just not enough arcade elements to appeal to the casual racing fan, and there’s not enough realism to appeal to the hardcore racing sim fan. The minute you pop in the disc, all tracks and racers are at your disposal, so there’s not much of a payoff for even playing the game. I can’t even in good conscience recommend this as a rental, knowing just how many better racing games are out there.