Namco Bandai has finally brought its two-wheeled, high octane racing series to the PSP in the form of the simply-titled MotoGP. From afar, the game very closely mimics the console titles and brings its dead-on controls to Sony's portable. While it does make for a pretty good racing experience, MotoGP's first on-the-go experience doesn't bring many bells and whistles with it.
Much of what you'll find here is as minimalistic as possible. The game's Season mode is about as bare-bones as it could get, simply putting you through race after race until the year is done. The Arcade mode just lets you take part in a single race, and really there's not much else. The Ad-Hoc multiplayer is nice, but again, it's as simple as possible (though eight player support is cool).
The Rewards section is much like the challenges that you'll find on the PlayStation 2, but rather than having a number of individual challenges it simply acts as a checklist for things you do during a normal race. It's certainly cool that it's in there, but it doesn't provide as much replayability as a full Challenge mode.
Really, there's not a whole lot to the package. If all you want to do is jump on the back of a bike and just race, that's exactly what you'll find here. But if you use different challenges and such as incentives for switching up rides and keeping things fresh, or you feel like you'll get bored of the eight included courses quickly, you'll find it quickly dries up.
What makes the game good is how fun it is to race, pure and simple. The controls are fantastic as the analog stick provides perfect input over your ride. You can weave in and out of the pack at will, breezing by other rides with precision so closely that you can almost feel the heat from their engines. You unfortunately don't have analog control over your throttle and brakes, but that's due to the PSP hardware's limitations.
The only gripe we have with the game's control and handling is the turning radius of the bikes. They simply don't hold on in turns like they seem like they should, so you'll really need to practice many of the game's hairpin corners in order to cut them properly. Heading into the bike's tuning options and pushing the handling all the way towards cornering and away from stability doesn't help much, so you really need to be careful in turns. Aside from this, however, the game's controls are spot-on.
With MotoGP, Namco Bandai has once again proven that it is the king of visuals on the PSP. The game simply looks great with smooth lines, a very long draw distance and rock-steady framerate. Even the crashes are taken directly from the PlayStation 2, so from a distance this and MotoGP 4 may look identical to the untrained eye.
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