We put our superbike skills to the test in a hands-on session with Black Bean's upcoming simulation racer.
Black Bean Games is due to release its latest instalment in the world superbike series, SBK-09 Superbike World Championship, on June 25. Fans of the official series will be happy to know that the title has acquired the licence for all tracks, teams, and riders from the official World Superbike Championship, as well as new 3D environments, teams, tracks, and game modes. We recently had a chance to check out SBK-09ís revamped features in a hands-on session.
Like previous games in the series, SBK-09 is a simulation racer. This means itís not a good idea to launch into the single-player Championship or Challenge modes without visiting the tutorials first. The gameís training mode sees you in a variety of sessions that involve mainly free practice (just you on a track), qualifying sessions (timed), warm-up, and a couple of races to introduce you to the competition element. We wonít lie to you: staying on track is a lot harder than it looks, especially when taking corners or misjudging the distance needed to properly slow down. But after a few practice sessions, we could pretend we were ready to race.
SBK-09ís game modes have been given a slight overhaul since SBK-08. The game offers five single-player gameplay modes, including Quick Race, Training, Race Weekend, Championship, and Challenges, and three online multiplayer modes, including Quick Race, Championship, and Team Championship. We had a look at each of the single-player modes to compare.
Quick Race lets you pick your own team and rider from a selection of celebrated real-life champions--such as Michel Fabrizio and Noriyuki Haga--and teams like Suzuki, Yamaha, Ducati, Kawasaki, and Honda. There are also 13 real-life tracks, including Australiaís well-known Phillip Island, and tracks in Spain, Qatar, Italy, France, South Africa, and the USA. You can also customise the number of laps in a race, the weather conditions (sunny, wet, cloudy, and so on), and even the skill of the AI opponents, which ranges from rookie to professional.
Racing in SBK-09 proved somewhat challenging. Even though turns are well accentuated by the arrival of a green arrow above the track, it was hard work learning to brake at the right time in order to turn without veering off the track (which happened a lot). Suffice it to say, we crashed more times than we care to admit, at least during the first couple of races.
The real challenge was in the Championship and Race Weekend modes, which offer the bona fide superbike fan something to indulge in. You can begin by asking an engineer for advice on the best bikes to use in the different sessions, but if advice is not your thing, you can kick straight into the gameís lavish customisation options. You can change your bikeís settings, tweaking each aspect to your heartís content. You can pretty much tweak anything and everything, such as suspension, steering, gears, chains, balance, and tyres, as well as get hints on how to perfect each one of these changes.
We also had a quick look at the Challenge mode, which lets you complete a few time trials before moving on to the tricky part of performing special scenarios and tricks. For example, you will be asked to perform a skid, wheelie, or burnout in the highlighted part of the track while still finishing within the set time limit. The scenarios are all variations of the normal Quick Race mode, where you will be asked to beat a number of different riders to the finish line.
Overall, the gameís 3D environments look sharp and detailed, and small things like the bike gears and tyres really stand out. While there was not much scenery to speak of, the little amount we saw looked great.
SBK-09 improves on its predecessors but still needs a bit of polish--the loading times proved a bit too long and the game froze completely during one of the races. However, the game is visually impressive and pays a lot of attention to detail in the customisation options. We hope the other issues will be resolved before the gameís launch later this month.
SBK-09 Superbike World Championship is scheduled for release on June 25 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 2, PSP, and PC. Stay tuned for more GameSpot previews.
I love the "very little scenery" comment from the reviewer. I can tell you from track experience (on my Yamaha R1) that at 170mph you better not be looking at the scenery -- that turn is coming up at a football field per second! But, it is a game after all, so scenery might make for a better game.
Simulation mode is a joke. Load up times are a joke Advanced mode is awsome. Leaderboard should be based on lap times. To many people cheat. Game should punish anyone who goes off track. 1 day they will get it right, so i shall keep buying
Anyone who rides a bike like these on a Race Track at those speeds can say if this is a simulator or not. Just because you ride a bike does not mean you know if it is, or not a simulator. I always liked the SBK series. I don't ride a bike, but think this game is fun simulation or not.
lol you guys should really play the game first before critisising it. RFactor and RACE 07 those games are simulators i have yet to play a motorbike game with that kind of hands on realism. I agree none of these bike games seem to be that realistic, But seriously, play it first. Then give an opinion not the other way around.
These games are most definitely not simulators. Anyone who actually rides a bike can tell you this. The market needs a real bike simulator.
it's funny when I read stuff like the previewer wrote. This game isn't hard and isn't a sim. But what it also isn't is a fantasy racer you can just stay on the gas without concern for braking. compared to the silliness of GTA or PGR4 it could be considered a bike sim but it isn't. Having said that, the presentation is extremely flat and boring so unless you are really into taking the time to learn how to get around the track correctly you aren't going to like it because there aren't any fireballs or any of that stuff. As I said the main issue with the game is that they screwed up the braking so that it's more work to stop the bike then it should be. How this is supposed to make a game that is supposedly already to hard for the casual gamer more appealing is beyond me. I'm a diehard bike game fan and it turned me off because the reward for learning the stupid fantasy physics model wasn't worth the payoff, especially when they had it correct with the SBK'08. At least Tourist Trophy which was majorly flawed in the physics area made adjusting to it worth while.
ronin41 thanks man that was helpful, this isnt the first game i hear of that kinda thing, games require tweaking but changeing physics is hit or miss weather it improves gaming elements.i might rent it or something, or see what else is out there, i want a next gen road rash bad, i think there one on the ps1 it was horrid, but they get it right it be a blast from the past to biking games (yes i know its a different racer to SBK09 etc)
SBK'09 is a number of steps backwards IMHO. They changed the physics so the braking is screwed up. Still lacks basic common features. And the load times are horrendous. Sad because this could easily be a great game. I've been a long time fan of the SBK series (way back to the EA Sports days) and bike games in general, but after a couple of hours with this one I just put it back on the shelf. If they wouldn't have changed the physics even without the features it would have been a good racer worth the effort put into it, but as it is, it's really not worth much at all
For those in the US interested in this game you can get the UK/Euro version online and it will play fine in a US PS3. right now no publisher has been announced for a US release.
yea feedback guys, any good,decent,ok,lame,poop,worse than the new hannah montana game? (i had no choice am deeply wounded) or should i stick to road rash on the megadrive, respond i demand you all!
lol, so this has been out since May 29 and they are giving preivew now. When the review then? You see Ghostbusters is out now and reviewed and on the game icon on this site it says release October
I think this will be a miss had SBK 08 and its just too damn ridiculous to control. I love an arcade bike game not a simulated one.
- Release Date: May 29, 2009 (EU)
- Release Date: Jun 18, 2010 (US)
- ESRB: E10+Titles rated E10+ (Everyone 10 and older) have content that may be suitable for ages 10 and older.