If there were ever a sim racing game just dying to give you a hug, Moto GP 10/11 is it. The series has long been known as a destination for hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts, with its no-frills presentation and straightforward driving model. Sure, there has always been a bit of spectacle in those gaudy leathers and helmets, as well as the constant possibility of witnessing an assuredly awesome 10-bike pileup in the rain, but the racing itself has always been pretty geared toward, well, gearheads. Moto GP 10/11 can still be that game…but it doesn't have to be. It's the first game in the series to offer a suite of purely optional driving assists for you to tweak and fine-tune the experience to suit your own personal racing competence. After getting my first taste back in January of how these assists affect the experience, Capcom was kind enough to send us over an updated build so we could spend a little more time with the newly hug-friendly Moto GP.
Having got a pretty good idea of how the various assists can have an impact on the experience in my last look at Moto GP 10/11, I decided to jump headfirst into career mode to see what sort of progression the game offers. The first thing I did was create a new racing team called "McShea Bikes" after GameSpot's resident motorcycle legend Tom McShea. (OK, so Tom doesn't really know anything about motorsports, but I did once sign him up for Truckin' magazine as a prank.) Next up, I created custom team branding with a sweet neon green and pink color scheme on both our racing leathers and bike liveries. Needless to say, the look of McShea Bikes has been a hit in the office.
With my team fully established, it was time to start racing. I went with the default medium assist level, which enables aids such as traction control, anti-wheelie, and auto weight transfer so you need only steer into corners rather than shift your weight around as well. Assists that are left disabled on medium, however, include auto-braking and auto-tucking for when you're gunning it on the straights. I'm by no means a motorcycle racing expert, but I was able to do pretty well with this difficulty level. I finished seventh in my first race in the Grand Prix of Qatar and then went on to nab first in my second race at Gran Premio de Espana.
Feeling confident in my results, I decided to disable a few of the assists such as anti-wheelie and auto weight transfer. Naturally, this led to a much tougher racing experience, and I spent an awful lot more time tumbling on the ground than atop the first-place podium. Fortunately, Moto GP 10/11 preserves the rewind button new to last year's game. You can use it as much as you want, on the lower difficulty levels, though bumping the difficulty up will disable the rewind button entirely.
After settling into the groove of racing without those initial assists turned on, I went back to racking up top-level finishes and managed to acquire a pretty decent amount of cash. Like in last year's Moto GP, you can use accrued money to fill out your team staff, including hiring PR managers. After a while, you can also nab sponsors who will pay you bonuses based on how you finish.
Another feature I tried out was the local split-screen co-op racing. The name itself is a bit misleading, as it's actually two different people on two different bikes. Essentially, you can have a second player join you at any time during the career mode events. The player will be outfitted in your team colors, and any earnings he or she pulls in go toward your team's overall cash pool. It's a neat little feature that helps to occasionally alleviate the loneliness of playing a long, drawn-out offline career mode--and you can also team up surprisingly well.
That about does it for our experience with the Moto GP 10/11 career mode. If you're eager for more, you can expect to see our review arrive around the time of the game's release on March 15. Stay tuned!