Last year, THQ released MOTO GP for the Xbox, hoping that the game would dominate the motorcycle racing genre like GRAN TURISMO does the car racing genre on the Playstation 2. A little over a year later, THQ releases the sequel, MOTO GP 2. But one has to ask, can THQ improve on an almost perfect game?
For starters, one of the biggest draws of the first MOTO GP was its great graphics, and MOTO GP 2 improves on its predecessor. The motorcycles and racers are all beautifully modeled and animated, which makes this game feel very realistic. Your racer will shift in his seat as he takes a hard turn, and if you bump into another rider, prepare for a hard shake of the first in return. While it may seem gruesome, the best part of the visuals is probably the crashes. Did developer Climax go out and watch people crash motorcycles? It's painfully realistic as you watch your rider somersault over the handlebars and fly through the air. When you get back on your bike, you'll notice the scratch marks on your paint.
While the environments mainly sport pavement, grass and trees, the environments feel alive. Everything from the tire marks on the pavement, the tire tracks on grass and other off-road places and the clouds in the sky make for a very realistic experience. MOTO GP 2 also sports some of the best rain effects I've seen in a video game yet. Droplets of rain will form on your screen if you follow too closely behind other bikers, and the wet road causes water vapor to trail behind you as you ride.
Since MOTO GP 2 is a simulation game, you should be expecting some pretty realistic controls. Don't expect to win if you're throwing your bike into all these weird curves at full speed; the game requires finesse to win. Now, if you go the former route rather than the latter, expect some of those beautiful crashes I was telling you about earlier. Handling your bike can also be effected by weather conditions. During rainstorms, it is easier to steer and take corners, but it also makes you more susceptible to spinouts and you'll likely find yourself on the ground a lot more often.
MOTO GP 2 sports a variety of gameplay modes. Grand Prix mode is more for the simulation fan. If you just want action, head straight for the Stunt mode where you rack up points by doing stunts. Time Trial means you have to beat previous records set, but the main part of MOTO GP 2 is the Career mode. In this, you make your racer and follow him throughout the sixteen locations that you are able to drive on.
For the online part of everyone, MOTO GP 2 is Xbox Live enabled, so if you get the craving, you can go up against fifteen other opponents at a time. The weakest part of MOTO GP 2 is probably in the sound department. But hey, you can make your own custom soundtrack so I'm not complaining.
Probably the biggest problem that people will have with MOTO GP 2 is that, in most respects, this is virtually the exact same game that THQ released a year ago. Other than some beefed up visuals, some more tracks and unlockable videos, not much has changed in the sequel, which will probably be a turn-off to a lot of fans.
But if you're looking for a quality motorcycle racing game on the Xbox, look no further than MOTO GP 2. While there may not be many differences between this game and its predecessor, this still is the best motorcycle game on the Xbox.