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MotoGP Ultimate Racing Technology 2

Published by THQ
Developed by Climax
Platform: PC CD-ROM
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99

Whilst MotoGP Ultimate Racing Technology was in a class of it's own on the Xbox, on the PC it had some stiff competition. It may be an old game now but Microprose's GP500 is still a classic, a classic which you can buy for as little as £5. One flaw of GP500 though is that it's a hardcore simulation and is an extremely daunting prospect for someone who just wants an exciting race. MotoGP on the other hand offered an exciting balance between accessible arcade style racing and challenging simulation racing and as a result became a classic in it's own right. Only a short while after the Xbox version we now have MotoGP Ultimate Racing Technology 2 for the PC and although only just, it does improve on the first game.

Personally I would regard the biggest improvements with MotoGP 2 is that it now features 16 circuits and a training circuit. The original MotoGP only featured 10 circuits. So what are the extra circuits then? The extra 6 circuits are Phakisa, Catalunya, Estoril, Rio, Motegi and Sepang. The addition of these 6 circuits makes the game feel far more complete and also makes the championship feel more authentic.

If you've played the original MotoGP you'll remember there was an arcade championship, where you had to try and score as many points as possible from keeping on the track and pulling wheelies etc., and a full-blown championship. This time around the game has been set out a little differently. The single player mode now offers a Quick Race, Career Mode, Stunt Mode and Time Trial. Stunt Mode has replaced the Arcade Championship from the first game but is exactly the same thing. Quick Race and Time Trial are self-explanatory but it's worth mentioning that you can only drive on circuits that have been unlocked by either driving on them in Stunt Mode or Career Mode.

Career Mode is where you create your own rider and customise their bike and leathers. You have a multitude of lessons you can take and if you successfully complete them, you get experience points that you can assign to four abilities, Cornering, Braking, Top Speed and Acceleration. You can also take part in the championships too in Career Mode. This time though you have a choice of three difficulty levels. Doing well in the championship races will earn you more experience points to further improve your rider.

To keep Stunt Mode interesting, Climax have included a feast of unlockable items from the first game. There are various graphical filters such as toon, sketch, emboss, pop video (which is a new one) to name just a few. There are extra riders that can be unlocked to play as. There are also extra items to alter the look of your custom rider. It's fair to say that even the Stunt Mode offers many hours of play in it's own right.

It can be a bit tricky in deciding how to control the bike with the vast array of PC peripherals that are available today. My personal favourite has to be the Microsoft Force Feedback 2 joystick and in all honesty I found it handled more comfortably than the Xbox version as a result of this. Using the keyboard is OK but if you want to clock up some serious lap times then getting hold of a good joystick or analogue gamepad is essential. Using the Force Feedback 2 joystick, the force feedback seemed very impressive and added an extra dimension to the game.

On playing MotoGP Ultimate Racing Technology 2 for the first time one of the major improvements becomes glaringly obvious, the graphics have been improved. The details on the bikes and circuits have all received an upgrade. The game runs wonderfully smooth once anisotropic filtering is disabled (unless you happen to have a real monster of a graphics card that can handle it without receiving a performance hit). Amazingly the game looks even more impressive than last years game, which didn't look too shabby either.

MotoGP 2 isn't going to cause any problems for deaf gamers. As with the original game the FMV clips that run before a grand prix are not subtitled. These only serve as an introduction to the circuit though. That's not to say it wouldn't have been nice had they been subtitled. If you place first in a grand prix you'll unlock a highlights clip of the 2002 race on the circuit in question. These clips have commentary and this is not subtitled but once again this isn't too much of a problem.

Overall MotoGP Ultimate Racing Technology 2 is a worthy successor to a brilliant game. Should you want to take the game online then support through Gamespy Arcade is provided or you can play over a direct IP address if you want to. You can even play LAN races if you're fortunate to have access to a network. The extra tracks and improved Career Mode, not to mention the brilliant bike control that has been carried over from the first game, make this the best two-wheeled racer you can currently purchase on the PC.

Overall Game Rating: 9.3/10
Coupled with a quality force feedback joystick this is one heck of a racer that everyone can enjoy.

Deaf Gamers comment:
FMV clips and highlights are unsubtitled but in every other way it's fine for deaf gamers.


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