MotoGP 09/10 Updated Hands-On

We saddled up for a brand new demo of MotoGP 09/10 to experience the excitement of the Arcade, Championship, and Career modes.

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Capcom took over the reins of the MotoGP licence last year, and its first game featured all of the excitement of the motorsport's most illustrious two-wheeler competition. While Milestone developed last year's version, Capcom has tapped Nottingham-based Monumental Games--responsible for Football SuperStars and Hunter's World--to redesign the franchise for Moto GP 09/10. The game spans the full 2009 and 2010 MotoGP seasons, with the 2009 season included on disc and the 2010 season available to download for free once the game is released. We got a chance to talk to the team at Monumental and play a new build of the game, which is looking very promising indeed. It manages to combine mouthwatering visuals with rewarding gameplay, and the many game modes should keep racing fans hooked all season.

One of the most interesting additions to this year's game is the Career mode. You start off your professional career by choosing your home track, number, and nationality. You're initially limited to the 125cc class, with only a few team sponsors from which to choose. You need to employ engineers who will research specific parts; for example, engine or crankshaft technology, which will yield a more competitive bike later on in the game. Once you've earned enough experience on the racetrack, you can also hire a public relations manager to help attract better sponsors. You gain experience by earning "reputation" on the track from winning races, completing clean sections, slipstreaming, overtaking, and showboating. If you earn enough reputation, you'll be invited to compete as a wildcard entrant in individual 250cc and MotoGP events. And, if you're successful, you'll eventually be asked to try out for a team. While Career mode lets you participate in the business behind the sport, the Championship mode lets you pick an officially licensed rider and take him through a full season. Although it features arcade gameplay, you can tweak a number of settings on your bike, including ABS and throttle control, to make the Championship mode more challenging.

MotoGP 09/10's Arcade mode features a time-attack scenario that reminds us of OutRun. While skillful riding is crucial, you will also gain additional time by earning reputation, and making mistakes, such as being overtaken, or causing collisions will shave valuable seconds off your score. The ultimate goal is to finish the season under the par time, so it is vital to earn as much time as possible in each race. You can also participate in single races; however, the idea of racing a full season against the clock in Arcade mode really appeals to us. MotoGP 09/10 also includes a Time Trial mode that lets you race against your own ghost data, as well as those set by others on the online leaderboard. If you earn the best time on a track, the racing line will update to represent your time. Time trials were rewarding, and we found ourselves going back for just one more race around the Valencian circuit as we tried to beat the developers, as well as other journalists.

Monumental has added a new "tuck in" option to MotoGP 09/10, which presses your rider's body against the fuel tank to reduce drag. This results in faster acceleration, but it also means your handling is reduced, so it works best on the straights. It's an interesting feature, and the benefit of tucking in becomes apparent when you're tearing down a straight at over 200 kilometres per hour. Also new this year is a rewind feature, which is dubbed "second chance." Similar to Forza 3 and Dirt 2, it lets you rewind the race at any point, so if you mess up, you can have another crack. It's a sensible inclusion to the game because cornering can be more challenging on a motorbike than in a car.

A new feature called "fluctuating catch-up" also makes its debut this year. While it's similar to the rubber-band catch-up in other racers, this feature aims to simulate the way real riders pace themselves throughout a race. Monumental told us that in a typical race, the grid changes significantly at the beginning of the race, settles down during the middle, and fluctuates toward the end as riders go all out to win. As a competitor, this means that the best chances for overtaking are likely to be toward the beginning and end of a race, although it's still possible to overtake at any time if you're skillful enough.

Moto GP 09/10 is looking great, with a solid frame rate and detailed visuals that reflect the action and atmosphere of MotoGP. Each track features a slightly different colour palette that is meant to reflect its real-world appearance, which Monumental describes as exaggerated lighting. Valencia features washed-out blue skies and bleached sand, which reflects the hot Spanish climate, for example. Qatar's Losail track, which takes place at night, has greater contrast and the light bloom reflects vibrantly off rumble strips. Not only is this eye-catching, but it also helps you navigate the track. Our only complaint is that the menus and fonts look clunky at this stage, but we hope this is addressed before launch.

The Valencian Grand Prix features some intense racing, thanks to the small circuit, and is surrounded by rolling hills and vibrant blue skies.

Capcom has promised a free downloadable content pack with all of the official 2010 MotoGP riders, teams, and circuits around the time of launch. Unfortunately, as the teams are still a long way from finalising their plans for the new season, we'll have to wait to see what next season will offer. MotoGP 09/10 will be shipping for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 in March. Until then, check out our previous coverage and stay tuned to GameSpot for more MotoGP goodness in the future.

Discussion

12 comments
CTstryk
CTstryk

I wish Climax/THQ had this contract Capcom is not doing this game any justice. The last great MotoGP game came out in 07 & thats sad.

ronin41
ronin41

The gameplay looks like arcade play from 10years ago and adding sliders and gimmicks isn't going to change that. Freakin car games are constantly trying to move forward and focus on more realism, while bike games continue to go backwards and base themselves are old arcade style gameplay and silly gimmicks. Yeah they need those gimmicks to try and hide how lame the game actually is. Because with true gameplay you don't need gimmicks to get people to play them. This type of stuff that is in MGP09/10 is for trophy hunters and collectors who's primary goal is just complete whatever remedial task the devs ask them to so that they can complete the game 100% and a trophy to their profile. Once that's done they move on to the next game. To me that is not what a racing game should be about. My biggest problem with this game is the fact that Capcom has locked up this license. If they want to make some goofy arcade game fine, but for them to lock up the MotoGP license so that there is no chance that another company can make a serious game for those of us actually looking for something with actual true legitmate deep gameplay, just pisses me off completely.

ronin41
ronin41

I don't get these people who complain about racing games that actually focus on the racing. I honestly hate eveything I've heard about this game. I don't want some artificial system that hinders my ability to go fast. So basically regardless of my skill level, I have to earn confidence and experience points or my rider will suck? I'm sorry I don't think that's fun or interesting. MotoGP has a lot of hi tech stuff, but ABS isn't one of them. I don't understand why this guy is hyping things as being innovative when they've been standard fair for over 10yrs. Wow look at this great innovative feature called rider tucking....... um that's nothing new. I could give a damn about hiring a press officier or engineer. But if I decided to play this game I'd have to go through this bs just to get a competative bike? Stupid. Unless this in game engineer can analyse my playing style and adjust the bike according it is waste of time and a stupid gimmick to try and make people think something is going on when it isn't.

xrydersx
xrydersx

capcom taking over wow.... something new and interesting ...but ill still wait and see the reviews

anmacd
anmacd

Upset to hear Milestone is not on this project. MotoGP '08 and to an even greater extent SBK '08 were the closest video games have got to any type of realistic handling model (SBK '09 isn't available in Canada so I cant comment) and now it appears as if they're going to ruin this particular game by making it arcade fluff. This game should be handled like Forza - with every step taken to ensure a realistic experience. A Grand-Prix race game should be a Sim, not an Arcade crash-promoting-yawn-fest. It would be an insult to a sport that requires so much skill and precision to make it a dumbed down button masher. Some of the ideas being presented are great ideas for career progression, and other game features, and they're right about the flow during races and tucking in for aerodynamics - all great to see, but it's all a moot point if the bikes don't handle like real motorcycles...it'll be extremely dissapointing.

sleepychicken
sleepychicken

Finally. Welcome to the next gen MotoGP. This game has been hurting for something interesting in the "career" mode. Something besides winning races and tests to get points you can put into your rider's "skills" which for some reason could be changed at any time. Might actually pick up my first motogp game since 07

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Looking pretty sharp and the career mode is something this series has been sadly lacking! :)

tig1979
tig1979

Good question, will have to be a large update, all the 250 models would be wrong!! Let's hope so!

davidamos
davidamos

one thing, when 2010 comes out, do you think it'll have the new moto2 class?

Kawasaki_750
Kawasaki_750

Your basic nonsensical arcade fluff. Oooo, It's shiny and has all kinds of flashing things with bad "rock" music pasted on top.

tig1979
tig1979

All this slipstream gains seconds, par time etc is sooo wrong, i hope there is an option just to ride standard, i like the fact we create own riders hire mechanics etc let's hope it's more than 5 seasons long too!!

Worm209
Worm209

Similar to Forza3 and Dirt.... I was kind of hoping that this years game would have some realistic handling but it looks like its arcade fluff again, pity :(