MotoGP 10/11

Wait, who is Valentino Rossi?

Is MotoGP 10/11 the motorbike racing simulation you've been waiting for?
Author: Parjanya C. Holtz
Published: April 9, 2011
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With the official license of the MotoGP at its disposal, MotoGP 10/11 is a game that clearly aims to satisfy those among us who prefer the simulation style racing games over the arcady, and less serious Burnout-type actioner. The overall result is a game that comes across as satisfyingly minimalist at first, an impression that unfortunately is quickly replaced with the realization that it really is an uninspired, boring and perhaps a little soulless piece of entertainment software.

A lack of creativity is especially apparent within the games' main modes of play. The first option in the top menu lets you play through a World Championship season in one of the three official MotoGP classes: 125cc, moto2 or motoGP. The game then asks you to choose a rider and his bike (from a large list of official 2010/11 real world riders, each found in their respective classes), the number of laps of each race, its difficulty and what assists should be turned on. For the racing game veterans among us, the game also provides some mild tuning options giving more experienced players a rather shallow sense of realism. For someone like me who just wants to race without having to think too much, it's definitely a nonissue, yet I can see the racing game experts feeling a little betrayed. It's just not a good idea to present yourself as a pure racing simulation on the one end, but not deliver on that promise on the other.

Similarly during its first couple of laps, MotoGP 10/11 manages to fool inexperienced players (such as myself) into believing that what they've got spinning in their PS3s is a full fledged, hardcore racing simulation. And while it is true that the game does deliver a good sense of realism, the actual riding really is merely a mix of fairly accessible racing spiced up with a few shallow racing simulation characteristics. But it's not just thrown in for good measure, as the result certainly is a surprisingly satisfying riding experience. MotoGP 10/11 is a fantastic feeling racing game that can be challenging at times, yet never comes close to being as frustrating to newcomers as some of the genre veterans such as the Gran Turismo series.

While I recommend leaving most of the assists on at the very beginning, allowing especially newcomers to slowly adapt to what it feels like controlling a two wheeler instead of the usual four wheels, it won't take long for anyone to figure out that playing this game with all assists off is the only way to get the most out of MotoGP 10/11.

With the assists off, players not only control front and rear brakes separately, but also shift their rider's weight on the bike while taking corners. Starting out in the 125cc class means that the bike's lack of power makes it relatively easy to control at first, yet once you get into the higher classes, weight shifts become essential to preventing your bike from losing traction in corners. Having to deal with so many different aspects of the bike may seem a little overwhelming at first, but the excellent, fully customizable controls soon make taking corners second nature.

Besides its career and championship modes, MotoGP 10/11 also offers a standard time trial mode in which you compete against ghosts, and a challenge mode in which your goal is to never let the timer reach zero. Once this happens, you basically run out of fuel and your bike refuses to go any further. To prevent this, players are rewarded with additional seconds for racing perfect lines, overtaking opponents and making good use of slipstream.
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