A good ride, poorly presented

User Rating: 6.5 | MotoGP 08 PS3
When Capcom took over the MotoGP game franchise i rejoiced as im sure many others did. I had never been a fan of THQ's offerings. The way the bikes handled like..well fantasy hovercraft annoyed me, the way they slid without the front wheel turning in grated with me and the way the AI would take you out consistently was soul destroying ( see my reviews ). Capcom on the other hand seemed to have a grasp of how motorbikes handled, so here is where i will start.

Coming out of the final fast left hander on Philip island the power is wound on at high speed and the bikes rear struggles to stay stuck. Too much and it will slew sideways. How violantly this happens depends on your bikes set up, your riders attributes ( still not a system i really like ) the conditions and your throttle control. When this happens your rider counter steers into the slide and moves his body weight to compensate. This is what happens when a motorbike slides in the real world. Its a good example of how this game captures ( for the most part ) the intricate physics of riding a motorbike.
On simulation level you are forced to quite literally learn to ride. Brake mid corner without extreme care and the front will tuck, throttle too hard and the rear will go, follow this up with a throttle cut and you will high side the bike.
THQ will NEVER understand this.

So far so good, but i like graphics, alot. I am very superficial in that a game cannot be truly great for me unless it looks it. Here Capcom really missed a trick. The game goes for a more gritty realism approach than THQ's "prettier than life" colour saturation but there are rough edges and glitches everywhere.
Bike and rider models look good, smooth ish and for the most part detailed enough. The tracks on the other hand look dead, nothing moves at all. Every bit of scenery is merely there to shoot past the camera, anything else shows up the 2D cutouts for what they are. It isnt that any one thing is horrific its just everything other than the bikes looks pretty depressing. As mentioned glitches also abound, bike shadows actually show up THROUGH hills which you will notice in replay mode, riders knees clip through the floor and sumtimes you will notice a crashed rider levitating a foot above the ground on all fours.

Thankfully most of this is covered up during the race where the nicely detailed engine sounds do a good job of reminding you that your on either a highly strung 2 stroke or a beefy 4 stroke. These arent just single tone whines but properly researched soundtracks and they made me want to go and buy tickets to the real thing. Races draw you in further by featuring AI that seems a really nice balance between agressive and sensible, they will avoid you if they can but will also protect their own line and at least before you ramp up your attributes they provide a good challenge. The collision detection, often a sore point in these games is very forgiving, really its too fogiving, you will bounce off the other bloke but thats it.

In terms of content the career mode is fun as long as your ok with a long haul. Working your way up from the 125's is realistic sure but it means that getting onto the bigger bikes takes a while. Of course theres always quickrach or the challenges which add replay value and quick blasts. Personally though i started to get bored of playing through the career b4 id even completed the 250 class.

My reviews tend to be too long so ill cut this here. This game represents motorbike handling far better than any THQ game did so if thats what your after then you'll be happy. But next time Capcom must sort out the aesthetics of the game to really provide an experiance. The graphical glitches here are unexusable. Theres definatly a good game here, it does feel like more of a prototype for motogp 09 though.