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MotoGP '06 Xbox 360

Published by THQ
Developed by Climax Racing
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £49.99

MotoGP '06, an introduction.

The MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology series enjoyed real success on the original Xbox console. The series has an ideal mix of realism and user friendliness to make it the motorcycle racing game that all could enjoy. Of course the original Xbox console is now fading into the background whilst its successor, the Xbox 360 takes over. It's only natural then the MotoGP series, having enjoyed such success on the Xbox, should appear on the Xbox 360. With a lot more graphical horsepower at the developer's disposal, we really should be in for a treat with MotoGP '06.

What's the game about?

Like previous titles in the series, MotoGP '06 offers both online and offline motorcycle racing that's both challenging and fun. The game offers a single-player racing career in addition to a Quick Race and Time Trial mode as well as a variety of multiplayer racing modes that can be played on Xbox Live, via split-screen or System Link. As with previous titles in the series there are a generous amount of unlockables such as bikes, riders etc., and in terms of content, at least, the game is difficult to find fault with.

What's good about the game?

With 17 official MotoGP circuits, 17 Extreme street circuits and riders from the 2006 season MotoGP '06 has a lot to offer racing fans.  The game offers four difficulty settings (Rookie, Pro, Champion and Legend) with the Rookie setting allowing for glorious victories in races where you can begin from the back of the grid and still end up winning the 3 lap race. The initially locked Legend difficulty mode is another matter entirely of course. The Extreme circuits offer a nice contrast to the MotoGP circuits and give the game long term appeal as well as variety. You can tinker around with your bikes configuration, admittedly in a simplistic fashion, which is welcome. Of course when you're ready for online racing you can jump onto Xbox Live and take on the best riders out there. You can take part in races, stunt races and tag races with up to 15 other players.  Just as previous titles in the series were popular on Xbox Live, MotoGP '06 also looks like it's going to be a firm favourite.

What's not so good about the game?

Those expecting the MotoGP series to make major advances with MotoGP '06 will be disappointed. If you purchased MotoGP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 for the Xbox you might feel MotoGP '06 isn't all that different. In fairness though it's not been that long since MotoGP: URT 3 was released so a great amount of difference was probably not expected. Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the game's performance. The frame rate just isn't as consistent as it should be and there are times when it takes quite a dip. Sure you might be thinking that the frame rate dips only occur when the bikes bunch up on a corner, during a race (which they do) but they also  occur at times you just wouldn't expect. For instance during the tutorials you'll notice significant slowdown. During time trials you'll also notice disappointing amounts of slowdown, especially when cornering. This all seems a bit strange considering the extra power of the Xbox 360 and that previous games in the series were quite impressive in their performance on the original Xbox. Load times are also disappointing, although this doesn't really spoil your enjoyment of the game in the same way that an inconsistent frame rate does.

How does it look?

There's no disputing that MotoGP '06 looks better than the previous games in the series but the difference is not as big as you might expect. Playing the game on a standard TV the differences between MotoGP '06 and the previous games are actually quite small and it's only a HD display where the game manages to look like an improvement. Even when playing on a HD display though, the game doesn't represent a significant leap in quality over previous titles in the series. As we mentioned earlier the frame rate fluctuates a little too much for our liking and we would have hoped for a solid 60fps with the series being on the Xbox 360 but sadly the game is nowhere near achieving this.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

Deaf gamers won't have any problems with MotoGP '06. The races have no commentary so you won't miss out on anything there. Information during races is all shown visually via the HUD or text. The games tutorials are all delivered via text so you'll be able to follow all of the instructions and learn the techniques that help you to make the most of the game.  

Final thoughts.

As we said earlier the MotoGP: URT series has been one of excellence and the series arrival on the Xbox 360 has been highly anticipated. There's no doubt that MotoGP '06 delivers a quality racing experience but there's also a sense of disappointment with the game that's difficult to ignore. Primarily this disappointment comes from experiencing the frame rate problems which seem very strange given the game doesn't look that much better and isn't wildly different from the third game, MotoGP: URT 3, that appeared on the Xbox. Given the option between the MotoGP '06 and MotoGP: URT 3, I would choose the latter because of the frame rate issues. That's not to say MotoGP '06 is a bad game though, far from it in fact. However the game just isn't as impressive as the previous titles in the series and here's hoping that the next title in the series to arrive on the console has none of these performance issues.

Overall Game Rating: 7.5/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

(Click the letter or here for details)

MotoGP '06 represents a good, but not great, debut for this excellent motorcycle racing series on the Xbox 360. In terms of content it's not wildly different from MotoGP: URT 3 that appeared on the Xbox but the real disappointment comes in the form of a sloppy frame rate that really takes the edge off the experience.