Moto Racer: World Tour Preview

More tracks, more bikes, better graphics, and twice the fun. That's what Infogrames' Moto Racer: World Tour aims to offer. Will it be enough to entice fans of the series to purchase this third installment? Possibly!

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The Moto Racer series is renowned for bringing arcade-style motorbike racing to the PlayStation. In the first installment, publisher Electronic Arts made high jumps and insane spills the order of the day. For the second game, EA added a number of simulation and upgrade elements, which, in addition to a variety of new courses, made it one of the platform's most beloved racing titles. A year later, however, it isn't EA that's bringing Moto Racer 3: World Tour to the PlayStation - it's the industry powerhouse, Infogrames. Gamers shouldn't fear this minor detail, though, as Delphine, the same development team responsible for the first two titles, is once again at work on this third installment.

If you enjoyed the first two Moto Racer titles, the third one is shaping up to be more of the same, only better, flashier, more detailed, and more varied. The game will support one to two players, maintain the same control system as prior Moto Racer releases, and offer the same track-editing features that drove gamers wild in the second installment. Once again, a selection of street and dirt racing bikes will be present, as well as a number of variable simulation options, giving the game a wide appeal for gamers of any skill level.

What makes Moto Racer 3 different, however, lies in its subtitle: World Tour. Unlike the smattering of no-name and real-life tracks of Moto Racer 2, World Tour will feature more than 30 distinct locales, all true to life. Further, Delphine has kicked up the replay value with a number of play modes. There's street and off-road racing, the usual mainstays, as well as endurance and skill competitions. Just as they did with the second release, it seems as if Delphine's formula for the third is to refine and increase the number of features, while leaving a successful physics and gameplay engine intact.

Truthfully, no number of additional features can guarantee a racing title's success. Considering the raging success that Moto Racer 2 attained, those already sated by the second game will be wondering what else there is to entice them to acquire the third. If the prospect of new courses and new modes doesn't do it, then maybe Moto Racer: World Tour's visuals will. If Moto Racer 2 was to Moto Racer 1 as Christina Aguilera is to Mandy Moore, then Moto Racer: World Tour is shaping up to be the Britney Spears of racing games. That's a good thing, by the way. Moto Racer 2 had a crisp, smooth graphics engine, but the amount of course detail had to be kept to a minimum. Not so with World Tour. If early shots are an indicator, course detail, clarity, and frame rate will all see vast improvements. Spinning tires, billowing exhaust, blowing dust, and flowing grass are just a few of the many visual effects that Delphine has in store. With an added emphasis on rider and bike animation, Moto Racer: World Tour seeks to take the aging PlayStation to new visual heights.

Due to the prerelease popularity of the PlayStation 2, it seems that many last-generation PlayStation titles are being overlooked or cast aside. At only two months until release, Moto Racer: World Tour is one of these overlooked titles. But with its diverse features, improved gameplay, and killer visuals, it won't remain quiet for long.

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