Moto GP 2007 Review
The Moto GP franchise has been the staple of motorcycle racing no matter which publisher was behind it - be it Namco or THQ. Admittedly, the Xbox Moto GP games were nothing short of stunning, trumping the PlayStation 2's visual quality considerably. Still, even Namco's efforts were pleasant and enjoyable titles. Well, now the franchise is completely in the hands of Capcom, and instead of bringing their efforts onto a next-generation platform, we get this...
I can't really sugar coat this, but Moto GP 07 may be one of the ugliest racing games available on the PlayStation 2. I thought the game was quite unpleasant when I first saw it at E3, but I figured that perhaps the HDTV was to blame for bringing out every imperfection in the visuals. I held out hope that perhaps it'd look nicer when playing it on the PS3 with smoothing and upscaling enabled. It doesn't. Moto GP 07's visuals are low-budget. The amount of pixelation on the screen is atrocious, not to mention how bad the background shimmering is. Worst of all, there seems to be virtually no implementation of any anti-aliasing, which gives Moto GP 07 one of the poorest pictures I've ever seen on the PS2.
And it's not that I'm just so used to PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 games, because both Gran Turismo 4 and Tourist Trophy still look fantastic for PS2 games. But things don't quite end there. If the aliasing and shimmering wasn't enough, the texture detail is pretty poor, as well. When pausing the game and observing the scenery, I immediately noticed that the ground has absolutely no detail to speak of, the bikes aren't very detailed, and the rider is rough around the edges.
Moto GP 07 is one of the few games where its visuals are so bad that they actually ruin the gameplay. Thanks to the shimmering and aliasing, your view of the game is so impaired that judging turns becomes nearly impossible - so you'll frequently find yourself out of bounds in the sands, or even losing control and flying off the bike. And no matter how long I tried to play Moto GP, I only found myself getting more and more frustrated before finally putting down the controller - this is a wasted effort, and Capcom would've been much better off making it a next-gen game, or even a high-def downloadable title.
As far as what content Moto GP 07 features, it isn't anything spectacular. You've got your basic modes such as, Quick Race, Time Attack, Championship, Challenges, and Multiplayer. The Challenges mode is a lot like Gran Turismo's license tests, in that it'll state a requirement you have to pass in order to move on to the next challenge. I assume that everything other mode needs no explanation and is pretty obvious. You have the option of choosing between three gameplay models: arcade, advanced, or simulation. Simulation will require extremely precise movement of the analog sticks, so its learning curve is quite steep. Lastly, multiplayer consists of only two players, and there is no online mode to speak of.
Much like the rest of the game, the audio also suffers. While the engine notes of each bike are well pronounced, there really isn't much else outside of that. In fact, the engines may be a bit too pronounced, as they completely drown out the sound of the tires screeching. There is no soundtrack to speak of, and the only music you'll hear is during the main-menu, that's it - which makes it that much more obvious that there wasn't very much effort put into making Moto GP 07.
When it's all said and done, I cannot recommend Moto GP 07, not even for $29.99. This simply isn't what I'd call a polished game; it is below what the average racing game should be. It's largely ruined by its impairing visuals, as they prevent you from accurately judging distances, thus ruining your ability to take a proper turn. It offers the rudimentary gameplay content, and doesn't have any online gameplay to speak of. It controls reasonably well, but otherwise, Moto GP 07 has no saving grace. Keep away from this one. If you're looking for a fantastic motorcycle game, pick up a used copy of Tourist Trophy - it is, quite literally, Gran Turismo with motorbikes.
11/20/2007 Arnold Katayev