Released: May 2002
Genre: Sports (Motorcyle Racing)
Capabilities: Memory Unit, System Link Cable, X-Box Live Online Play, Communicator Voice Headset Compatible
Review Written: October 21, 2002
Moto GP is the motorcycle racing title from THQ. The world’s best racers tour the Moto Grand Prix across the world to determine who’s the best of the best. This simple concept gets the job done for Moto GP. Yes, Namco has released two forms of this game with the same name on PS2, but this one is a completely different game so make sure not to get it mixed up with Namco’s efforts.
The main thing Moto GP focuses around is obviously the motorcycles. The developers did a great job at modeling them after their real life counterparts. All of them have all the little advertising decals, model name, and a damn good paint job. When creating your own motorcycle, you have a wide variety of colors to customize it with. All the stages are designed to perfection of their real life replicas. When racing in rain, you’ll be amazed at the weather effects. Drops of rain will splatter across your windshield, and your opponents will leave you in trails of mist. Another slick effect is when you’re going over 160mph, everything will get a blurred effect like you’re breaking the sound barrier.
The animations are also done well. You’ll notice all the tiny details such as drivers kneeing down as they take the corners. Some of the crash animations will keep you guessing at how these guys can cheat death after they do three flips in the air and land on their head, while other look plain out bland. While racing, you have several different camera angles to choose from. You have two first person perspectives that give you a realistic look at how it looks from the driver’s position. It’s hard as heck to race with those views, and I prefer the third-person perspectives that Moto GP offers. I love the menu scheme, where there’s various FMV footage being shown in the background as you tinker around with the menus. Moto GP runs at a fast frame rate, even with four people playing simultaneously.
Sound effects are on par and proper for the most part. All the accelerating and braking effects are well done, and the way you expect them to sound. The background music featured in Moto GP is a decent offering, but nothing sticks out too much of the mostly instrumental tracks. It’ll mostly go unnoticed during game play. Thankfully, you have the option to use your own soundtrack on your X-Box Hard Drive. It makes the whole experience a lot better while racing to your own set of tunes you prefer.
There are several control schemes available in Moto GP. I’m not a fan of the default one. Accelerating, and braking with the A & X buttons just doesn’t work out for me. I prefer the “Roberts” scheme where the L & R triggers operate as accelerate and brake. This style works out best for me and most of my friends, much like they do for other X-Box driving games like Totaled, and Crazy Taxi 3. The one thing you have to get use to in Moto GP is the cornering. All of the tracks contain plenty of sharp turns that you’ll have to power slide your way out of. Once you get the hang of managing the turns, it’ll make a major difference during game play.
There are two main ways to play this game. One is the “Arcade Championship” where you select any one of the pro cyclists, and race them in all of the tracks. All of these are short three lap races. Not too much stuff to worry about in this mode, except to finish in the time limit. The other mode is “Grand Prix” where you create your own rider, and customize your bike’s paint job. You then race on every track, but before each competition, you have to qualify to see what position you rank. A score table will tally points based on your finishing position, and it’ll keep totals throughout the Grand Prix. By finishing well, you are awarded with attributes to add on to your skills for cornering, braking, acceleration, and top speed.
Moto GP does have a multi player mode, where you have several ways to play. You can have up to four people play on one X-Box through split screen. Then there is System Link play where you can connect up to four X-Box’s with a grand total of up to sixteen players at once. It’s unlikely you’ll find the room or resources for that many players, but you can also do System Link LAN play over Gamespy or Xbox Connect where you can play the same way as System Link, but minus the hassle of having everybody stuck in your room.
In October, Microsoft and THQ teamed up to release an online version Moto GP to be used over its X-Box Live online gaming service. If you own the full version, you can upload your created racers, and use all the drivers and tracks you unlocked. People stuck with just the demo don’t get 11 of the divers, and are stuck with only three of the tracks. The online experience on X-Box Live is eons better than through the LAN networks. Up to 16 people can play at once, with anywhere from one to four people being on each X-Box. Only through X-Box Live play does this game keep track of your best times, and rank you with the best among the world. You also get to use the headset communicator for actual voice chat with your opponents. All of my games played great with mostly no lag at all times due to the broadband players only policy to X-Box Live.
You’ll be hard at it completing all the tracks in Grand Prix mode. As you progress in it you’ll unlock all the hidden drivers and tracks in Moto GP. There are also video highlights to unlock as well. If you want a break from the racing, there’s a fun little shooter game you can play after viewing the credits. It’s a wire framed 3D shooter, which is similar to Tempest. The multi player modes are what keep you stuck to this game. Having up to four people through split screen is fun, but having up to sixteen more over X-Box live is tons better! You can’t pick X-Box Live play from the retail version of Moto GP, it comes with the X-Box Live starter kit when you buy it.
+: I love the weather effects, plenty of stuff to unlock, the bonus tempest-clone is a nice change of pace, X-Box Live online play is a blast!
-: Cornering will take a while to get down, some of the crashes look fairly bland
The Final Ratings Rundown
Game play: 8.6
Replay Value: 9.0
Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9
I didn’t think a motorcycle racing game would be this good. After you’d complete and unlock everything, there wouldn’t be much else to play this for except for multi player, and thankfully you can play over X-Box Live! That feature added a lot on for my score, and if anyone has a sweet tooth for motorcycle games, than you I recommend you give Moto GP a shot.
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