With this year's Consumer Electronics Show being dominated by news of tablet PCs and Internet-enabled ovens, you would think you'd have to go searching for all the video games. And you'd be right. Fortunately, we knew where to find Capcom and took the opportunity to see what the publisher has in store for 2011. One of the new games on offer was Moto GP 10/11, the latest in an annual series of racing games that motorcycle enthusiasts ought to be quite familiar with. But the big new feature of this year's game is that you don't need to be a diehard motorcycle nut to jump into the two-wheeled fun.
More to the point, Moto GP 10/11 will be the first game in the series to offer driving assists. Games like Forza Motorsport have long used optional assists to help draw in a broader audience, and now it looks like Moto GP will be doing the same. You'll now be able to fine-tune your racing experience with assists that include traction control, front and rear ABS, anti-wheelie measures, auto brake, auto tuck-in for the long straights, and transmission settings. The hardcore lot will still be able to disable every one of these to go for the full simulation experience, but now you needn't worry about the potential threat of leaping off your bike when you slam on the brakes and accidentally do a stoppie (or a backward wheelie, if you will).
We had the chance to play through a few different races with different levels of assists enabled to give us a sense of how much they'll benefit you. In our first race, we took a spin through Circuit de Valencia with Loris Capirossi, using the medium assist level. This is the setting that turns on traction control and front/rear ABS but leaves the rest of those aforementioned aids disabled. How did we do? Well, we managed to finish 13th out of 17--also known as winning the coveted prize of "not last place." After that, we turned on easy level, which turns on every assist there is. In this race we had first place locked up, until we took a corner too wide toward the end of the third and final lap to fall back into sixth place. Feeling a need for redemption, we tried a third race (still on Circuit de Valencia with Loris Capirossi, using easy level) and did far better, managing to finish in first well ahead of the pack, but just barely ahead of the tenacious Valentino Rossi--a man whose motorcycle is apparently powered by magic and wizard tears.
Finally, Moto GP 10/11 will also have a co-op career mode in which you can have a friend drop in on the fly and command another racer on your team with split-screen. We didn't get a chance to try it, but the drop-in nature certainly sounds neat. And of course, as the name suggests, Moto GP 10/11 will ship with content for the 2010 racing season but will release downloadable updates for the 2011 season as time goes on. Unfortunately, that doesn't include new tracks and classes like last year--though admittedly the 2010 season was something of a rarity for Moto GP. You can expect to see it released on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this March.