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Michael Kontoudis
11 Apr, 2010

MotoGP 09/10 Review

PS3 Review | Moto-notonous.
The latest iteration of the venerable MotoGP franchise, developed by Monumental Games and published by Capcom, has arrived on a wave of indifference, and it is not difficult to see why. MotoGP 09/10 is a faithful recreation of the sport, but is so devoid of passion that it struggles to justify its existence. While it would be unfair of us to say that 09/10 is a bad game, there is little on offer to suggest that anyone involved in its creation tended to it with love and care. With four modes on offer, including online play and a robust championship, motorcycle racing enthusiasts will surely find something in 09/10 to rev their engines – but does this simulation merit more than a passing glance for the more-casual fans of the sport?

Personally, we can't wait for a Wild Hogs game adaptation.

Personally, we can't wait for a Wild Hogs game adaptation.
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09/10 cannot be faulted in terms of its fidelity to the license; sporting a bevy of bikes, riders and venues. Interestingly, 09/10, as its moniker suggests, includes all the MotoGP details for the 2009 championship and incorporate content from the 2010 season by way of downloadable content. The game’s core single-player options include an arcade mode and time trials in addition to the championship.

Speaking of the ‘career’ mode, that on offer in 09/10 is a lengthy, in-depth creature, requiring a good mixture of solid racing skill and effective, strategic micro-management for success. The basic structure of practicing a certain track, qualifying for the event, and then winning the subsequent race is fairly predictable, yet satisfying. Events outside the main races are given importance due to the fact that the player’s reputation is built within them; it is through this reputation-garnering that lucrative sponsorship deals and better bikes are made available. Slick riding, including capitalising on other riders’ slipstreams, earns reputation points, but sloppy racing and colliding into other racers does just the opposite. It is a fairly unforgiving system, but adds a mite of variety to the slightly predictable flow of the mode. Hiring team members, including managers and engineers to develop upgrades for your bikes, aids in player-immersion, but this aspect never develops beyond a surface-level. Overall, the championship mode is where most players will spend their time in 09/10, and it is definitely the most solid and fleshed out of the game’s components.

Eyes on the road, and off my arse, buddy.

Eyes on the road, and off my arse, buddy.
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The trouble is that the racing model itself is fairly unexciting, with the twitchy, terrifying, yet satisfying controls of past iterations foregone in favour of a more rigid, arcade-based driving model. Rubber-banding and a decent sense of speed ensure that most races in 09/10 are competitive fights to the finish line, but the experience feels slightly inauthentic and less dangerous than hurtling over 100km/h on a motorcycle should. The revised handling model may increase the series’ accessibility for newcomers (although the intricacies of tucking and following racing lines will probably elude the most casual) but it seems unlikely that the unwashed masses will flock to 09/10 over and above the bevy of superior arcade racing titles on the market. By pandering to the masses, Monumental Games has arguably missed the point, and risks alienating the most ardent followers of the franchise.

The terminal lack of excitement referred to above is sadly aided and abetted by a visual presentation utterly lacking in panache. Track-side detail is lackluster and sparse, and nothing looks as sharp or vivid as it should. Bikes and riders are animated without much flair, and a weak physics engine renders collisions and wipe-outs far less visceral than one would hope. Weather effects are fairly good, however, and sell the changing conditions effectively, and the frame rate is fluid for the most part. The sound design in 09/10 similarly fails to convince; the bikes sound like nests of angry hornets instead of fuel-guzzling beasts, and the licensed soundtrack comprises a dozen or so songs from a variety of artists with which we are unfamiliar. The music fits the action surprisingly well, but we suspect that the lack of variety will lead most players to supplement their listening experience with their own music library in short order.

The gameplay is about as exciting as this screenshot; track-side scenery is nonexistent.

The gameplay is about as exciting as this screenshot; track-side scenery is nonexistent.
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09/10 supports twenty players online or two players via split-screen, and these multiplayer options offer only rudimentary thrills. Joining a race can often take more time than the duration of the race itself, and frequent connection drop-outs mean that 09/10 is never going to find itself in the rotation of the devout online gamer. Like so much else in the game, Monumental Games has ticked the necessary boxes without necessarily pushing the bar in terms of inspiration or innovation. 09/10offers a fair amount of content for those willing to stick with it, but it is not destined to be a long-term prospect.

So while 09/10 is functional, faithful and generally includes everything one would expect of a MotoGP simulation, it does so in a passionless way which seems to dare players to care. Faithful followers of the sport will probably enjoy themselves, but even they will be hard-pressed to ignore the game’s humdrum nature and ham-fisted concessions made in the name of accessibility. Sink your teeth into the championship mode, take time to acclimatise to the stiff handling, and you may not regret your time with 09/10. Just don’t be surprised when it slips from your memory in a matter of weeks, destined never to be fondly recalled. MotoGP 09/10 is competent then, but will never raise your pulse like any good racer should.
The Score
Moto GP 09/10 is a competent racing sim, but is never as exhilarating, beautiful or engaging as one would hope.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related MotoGP 09/10 Content

MotoGP 09/10 media
13 Nov, 2009 Showing off the game's Career Mode.
MotoGP 09/10 screens, trailer
25 Sep, 2009 Time to do some wheelies.
Info on next MotoGP surfaces
19 Jun, 2009 Time to burn some rubber again.
4 Comments
4 years ago
Harsh review. Though I think it's alot better than last year's laugh and a half, I agree that the manager system isnt as clean as it should be. An ambitious move, but it's very cluttered.

The fact that the 'big dogs' arent available from the start will put alot of non MotoGP purists off too. Another review likened it to buying a new Street Fighter and having to unlock Ryu or Ken.

On the plus side, I actually like the music doesnt come from widely recognised artists. Like you say, if you want stuff you know.. just put on custom tracks.

I think that the promise of 2010 content (for free no less) is a massive plus that would be great if the trend passed on to other sports franchises we know and love. It's something that has been talked about for eons but no one ever saw it coming thanks to the publisher's love for the almight dollar!

Another negative aspect of this game that I found personally bittersweet.. after finally implementing splitscreen multiplayer, why the hell can you only race the stupid timed 'Arcade' mode and not choose to do proper races or championships?!?!?! GRRRR!!!

Here's a question for ya Mikey.. out of all the licensed iteritions, what's your personal fave MotoGP title and why?

Many still stick with Climax's '07 as the best ever MotoGP title released. Which is your fave and why?

*Holds up reporter mic*
4 years ago
The Climax-developed games are still the highlights of the series for me, although I played very little of '08. I suppose that makes '07 my favourite - I truly think it struck the right balance between accessibility and complexity. It made the right sort of concessions, in my view. Still felt utterly dangerous, though.
4 years ago
Thanks for the comment Jaws, was wondering if it was worth picking up after 08, the previews got me excited so I'll grab this. I like the idea of starting out at the bottom and unlocking Rossi et al.
4 years ago
I personally think that Milestone didnt do anything to impress me with MotoGP 08. I personally own the Wii version which is simply titled 'MotoGP' and it's not bad, but not great either. It really fell down with the limited control options.

Now MotoGP 09/10 is certainly taking things in another direction what with the addition of new modes to try and spice things up. The manager feature adds sort of a Rockband 2 staff hiring portion to the mix but it sort of ends up being a poorly displayed experiment on the screen as it is very text based and was personally CRT TV unfriendly (yes.. I'll be making the move soon enough..).

Thankfully, there is a wide range of control options to please people who like to use right analogue stick to accelerate or people like me who prefer to use the triggers to accelerate. This is a plus! It used to be either one or the other and control variety is the spice of life.

The developer this year; Monumental Games, is supposedly a new studio made up of former Climax Nottingham employees.

They've dropped the ball on quite a few things but are listening to fans. Before you buy the game el_rezzo, I suggest you check out the MotoGP 09/10 - Current Gripes page from the official forums before you buy.

In my opinion, lack of customisable localised split screen mutliplayer is a waste of time as you can only race someone in a timed 'Arcade' mode which sucks the fun out of things..
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  18/03/2010 (Confirmed)
Publisher:
  THQ
Genre:
  Racing
Year Made:
  2009

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