MotoGP for XBox Live is GREAT!

MotoGP for XBox Live is GREAT!
One of the demos that ships with the XBox Live is MotoGP - a motorcycle racing game. This is one that I'd always loved on the PS2, with its incredible realism in the handling of the motorcycles, and the awesome graphics. The downside had always been the predictability of your competitors. They followed the exact same lines, in a little snake-chain. That's certainly not the problem with the Live version!!

Note that the XBox version is made by a completely different company than the PS2 version, too! I'll post screenshots of both games shortly so you can see just how good the graphics are.

First, the game is just as brilliant as far as graphics and gameplay go. You're driving on courses with trees in the background, clouds in the sky, fans in the stands. You can easily start believing, as the sun flashes off of the 'camera lens' of your TV screen, that you're really in a live motorcycle race and somehow controlling the outcome.

The handling is great, from the way the body and bike lean to the acceleration and braking. While the bike may seem 'jerky' as you get started, pretty soon you'll be moving fluidly, mirroring the movements of professional racers.

You can choose from a variety of tracks, set the weather conditions, add on AI players if you don't end up with enough in your game. You can either join a game in progress or start your own and wait for players. You can also search for games matching whatever conditions you want - track, skill level, and so on.

It's a real thrill to be riding against other real humans. They are definitely more challenging than the AI was, and also much more unpredictable. A few jokers are always riding the track in reverse, trying to turn the race into bumper-cars. Others will be sure to tag you on the way past, pushing you into the gravel. You learn quickly who are the serious racers and who are just annoying troublemakers to avoid.

The voice headset that comes with the XBox is both good and bad in this game. Since motorcycle racing is an individual sport, there's no coordination necessary. If anything, you answer questions during the pre-game setup and say things like "Bye!" as you pass someone. On the downside, the same people that like driving backwards also enjoy yelling swears and ranting about drugs or sex to bolster their own egos, which can get to be very tiresome. While you can easily MUTE those players after the race is over, you still have to put up with their ranting for the entire race period.

At least Microsoft ensured that each person is 'stuck' with a single game across the entire XBox system, so a troublemaker is easily identified and then can be blocked from any games you play. They can't keep swapping identities easily. So the troubles caused by the jerks out there are minor and can be overcome. What's left behind is incredibly smooth gameplay with an entire racetrack full of riders from across the world, who are out to have fun.

Note that you can pretty much play as much as you want with the demo version. If one of the non-default tracks are loaded you end up playing as a "ghost" which just means you can't affect other players or get scored. But you can easily have TONS of fun with the demo, even if you don't want to go buy the full version. Still, it's worth getting the full version for the extra tracks and bikes.

Definitely a great game for any racing fan!

Buy MotoGP for the XBox Live on

Review of the XBox Live
Review of MotoGP (single player) for the PlayStation 2

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