SBK 2011 Hands-On

We don our leather gear for a ride around the latest circuits of SBK 2011.

Milestone has long been trying to perfect the art of two-wheeled racing with annual updates to its SBK series. The developer is bringing a number of improvements to the latest installment, SBK 2011, including better graphics, a Career mode, and simulation settings. It's also introducing new social features, which will allow players to share their best racing performances with the SBK community. We went hands-on with an early build of the game to try our hand at the simulation mode and get an early glimpse at the changes.

Speaking with Milestone, we were told many of the new features in SBK 2011 have come directly from critics and player feedback. One of the most lambasted features in SBK X was the Arcade mode, which aimed to make the game accessible to more casual players. Rather than bring it back, Milestone is replacing it with three different simulation levels: low, medium, and high. Low incorporates plenty of driving aids, such as braking assistance, which aim to make racing easier without losing any realistic physics. Subsequent levels remove the aids, with the hardest requiring quick reflexes to navigate safely around a circuit.

In our hands-on, each level was tuned to make moving from one to another feel like a natural progression. A lot of that came down to the bike handling, which felt similar on each level and made it easy learn. It was also helped by the assists. For example, when we played on medium, the braking assistance from low was removed, but arrows on the track lit up red if we drove too fast, so we still had a shot at making it around in one piece.

As we rode around each circuit, we also noticed improvements made to the visuals, the most noticeable of which was reflections. Road surfaces and billboard advertising around the circuit were all reflected on the shiny surface of the bike, giving it a highly realistic look. The effect was heightened in wet weather, with rain catching the light for an ultrashiny effect. Milestone told us there were also a number of other additions planned for the visuals, including new shadows, lighting effects, and motion blur.

Even the pros like to pop a wheelie from time to time.

Though the Arcade mode has been scrapped, many others are making a return. The SBK Tour retains the driving challenges from the previous installment while attempting to create a more compelling experience with an improved narrative and better prizes. The Career mode remains mostly unchanged, letting you work your way up from a minor Superstock 1000 team to the SBK World Championship, complete with full customization tools for your bike.

The final addition to the game is photo sharing. Though we didn't get to see it in action, Milestone told us that players will be able to take pictures of their race performances and upload them to social networks for the world to see. SBK 2011 is due for release on the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this May. Keep checking GameSpot for more coverage soon.

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Discussion

8 comments
ZedX-14Pilot
ZedX-14Pilot

@Worm209 TOTALLY agreed! People who say sim racing is boring.... You miss the point. People play games like this for the challenge. Any idiot can cheat around a track. A real competitor (gamer) races for the challenge and the fulfillment when getting it right. There is not any other game, Forza, GT, Shift, Dirt, hillbilly NASCAR, or any others I may be leaving out, that offer the same level of pleasureful accomplishment when you win a race on full simulation. The ONLY other game that comes somewhat close is F1. So, if you want a real challenge, MAN UP and get your ass in the game! You want BORING, Call of Duty is f'ing boring! World of Warcraft... snore! It takes a REAL GAMER to master a simulation.

lordofallpies
lordofallpies

I played SBK X and it was just so boring and dull, what a decent bike game needs is some good arcadey handling and a lot of action and intensity.

CabooseGrif
CabooseGrif

I still think that their gonna be the same as all the rest of the other SBK games

ston_kol
ston_kol

Agree with Worm209 At least its far more better than MotoGP franchise.CAPCOM know nothing about racing game.Hope both of them(WSBK 11 & MotoGP 10/11) will make more improvement.

ston_kol
ston_kol

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

@Worm209 - Well said! I personally enjoyed last years effort and think this is shaping up to be an improvement!

JangoF-76
JangoF-76

Meh, looks as boring as ever - realism is all well and good, but if it means having to crawl round the track at snail pace for fear of the bike sliding out from under you, where's the fun in that? Still waiting for someone to make a really good arcade style bike racing game...

Worm209
Worm209

Whatever they change from last year, they MUST stop allowing people to cheat their way around tracks in multiplayer. SBK-X had good potential, but even when playing it on the highest sim setting you werent penalised by cutting loads of corners and using run-off areas to cheat massively... (the time trials are full of people cheating around every corner possible) totally ruined the game for me and others i know. PLEASE put in a mode that stops people from cheating in multiplayer.. SBK-08's rules were deemed too harsh by many but it needs to go back to that level of harshness if you ask me, or at least have some mode where you can play by 'real' rules with ride-through penalties being dished out and ppl disqualified if necessary. If i am playing by the rules and racing properly (its why i play on the highest realism level!) i want everyone else to do the same instead of them cutting corners/gaining seconds from run-off areas then saying 'uh well the game allows it so it isnt cheating'.