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MotoGP4 PlayStation 2

Published by Namco
Developed by Namco
Distributed by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £39.99

MotoGP4, an introduction.

Two years ago now we reviewed Namco's MotoGP3 and all things considered it was a solid use of the MotoGP licence. Here we have the fourth game in the series (they have all appeared on the PlayStation 2) and this time around we have more features, two new bike classes and a more realistic handling system. Motorcycle games have never quite reached the heights of car based racing games on the PlayStation 2 so it would make a refreshing change to have a game that offers real quality. Could MotoGP4 be the game many motorcycle fans have been waiting for?

What's the game about?

MotoGP4 offers plenty of modes to keep you entertained. Single player modes are Season, Arcade, Time Trial, and Challenge. On the multiplayer side of things you have a Split Screen VS, Split Screen Grand Prix and a LAN mode. The Season mode is the heart of the game and it's here that most gamers will spend their time. You can either create your own racer or choose a pro to ride as. Throughout the MotoGP season you'll get opportunities to win extra parts for your bike that can improve performance. The idea is to begin with the 125cc class (and win the championship) and make your way through the 250cc class (and win this class) before finally reaching the MotoGP class and attempting to become world champion. At the end of each season you'll even get the chance to switch teams if you want. As far as season modes go it's a very good one. Arcade and Time Trial are exactly what you would expect them to be. Challenge mode has 125 challenges for you to undertake ranging from beating a certain opponent (in a 1 vs. 1 race) to tasks such as finishing first at Le Mans. It's possible to score a gold, silver or bronze for each task. The Challenge mode alone will keep you busy for well over a month, especially as some challenges are very difficult.

What's good about the game?

The biggest plus with MotoGP4 has to be the addition of the 125cc and 250cc classes. These bikes handle differently from the MotoGP class and this adds some much needed variety to the game. Not only has the addition of these classes added variety, it's also made the Season mode far more enjoyable and longer lasting than in previous versions. The handling physics in general have been improved and the game is more a simulation than previous games in the series (although it's not as painfully realistic as GP 500 on the PC). Throughout the game's various modes you'll earn GP points and these can be used to unlock bikes, riders, etc. The Time Trial mode stores 5 ghost laps for each circuit which improves upon the usual 1 and is great if you want to store different ghosts for different bike configurations. For those who want a more arcade like experience you can turn off the simulation handling for a very forgiving ride, although it does make things far too easy.

What's not so good about the game?

The most obvious disappointment is the lack of an online mode. The PlayStation 2 still doesn't have many quality options for racing online and MotoGP4 would have been a great game to have taken online but sadly it's not to be. The game is based on the 2004 season which might upset MotoGP enthusiasts who want a more up to date experience. Whilst the game is fairly realistic, collisions during a race do not always result in the accidents you would expect and most of the time both riders are not even knocked from their respective motorcycles. These are only minor complaints though and they don't detract too much from the game.

How does it look?

Graphically the game probably looks as good as possible on a console that's now over five years old. It's nowhere near as good as the MotoGP games on the Xbox (by Climax) but it's more than acceptable. The circuits and bike models look good for the most part and the frame rate remains fairly constant. I wasn't happy with some of the animations though such as some of the falls which looked unnatural but on the whole it looked quite realistic. Loading times are not the worst we've seen but some of them are on the long side and it can get a little irritating waiting for certain screens to load up. The game supports widescreen but no 60Hz mode has been included.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

MotoGP4 won't cause deaf gamers any problems as all the information in the game is delivered through text. The in-game tutorial has its instructions exclusively in text so you'll be absolutely fine with these. Communications from your racing team between races (to notify you of challenges to win better parts or to simply congratulate you on your performances) are all in text too, so you'll have no problems with understanding what's going on. Although race games are always difficult in that deaf gamers can't use sound to determine if they're pushing the speed right to the limit (in regards to being able to hear the screeching of the tires etc.), the game does have an onscreen gauge that shows how much acceleration and brake are being applied which is very handy indeed. If you choose not to race in simulation mode, you'll find a blue line that indicates the ideal racing line. This line turns red when the brakes need to be applied and again it's something deaf gamers can take advantage of.

Final thoughts.

MotoGP4 represents a significant improvement upon MotoGP3 and fans of the series will be more than happy with how the game has turned out. The main disappointments are that the game is based on last year's data and that no online mode is present. Whilst this hurts the multiplayer options it doesn't take anything away from the game as a single-player title. In fact, all things considered, it's probably the finest two-wheeled racer on the PlayStation 2 console so far.

 

Overall Game Rating: 8.3/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

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MotoGP4 is the finest motorcycle game to date to appear on the PlayStation 2. It improves considerably on previous titles in the series and it doesn't cause deaf gamers any problems.