Moto GP 3

Moto GP 3 Reviewed on PS2

The Namco motorbike series gets another instalment for another year of racing. This third edition is tweaked from the previous two and it features more tracks, 15 instead of 10 and 41 bikes rather than 38. The graphics have been polished up and the controls have also been improved. Otherwise though, this is pretty much the same as the previous titles in the series.

The greatest addition to Moto GP3 is the handling and controls of the bikes themselves. The addition of loads of handling options increase controls even more, so you will always be able to find a set up that will suit your preferences. The analogue sticks control the throttle and brakes and the riders weight, left to right. There is also a nice option that lets you control the front and rear brakes independently, this is something that only adds to the real life realism of riding a motorbike as the balance between the front and rear brakes is essential to make you bike brake and corner as fast as possible. There is also the obligatory automatic and manual transmission found in most racing games. You may be thinking that with having all these separate controls at your finger tips may make thing a little over whelming, the true of it is, you can get a little muddled at times but the practice is well worth it because it will keep you competitive through out the game.

Once you have got the hang of these controls using the analogue sticks you will have to perfect your braking and cornering technique. This can be difficult and sometime frustrating as the analogue sticks can feel slightly numb at times. To counter measure this Moto GP3 has incorporated an on screen meter that shows you graphically how much pressure you are applying to the controller. This is most useful when you start shifting your riders' weight to the left and right, as this is the real secret to cornering perfectly. Obviously you can switch off all of these options but you will not get the same amount of satisfaction from the game as it will feel much more arcade, plus the level of control available using all of the controls is far greater than the computer can off you with these options switched off.

Moto GP 3's features pretty much the same selection of game modes that its predecessors offered. In the season mode you take a racing contract with one of the racing teams before you go to race a season against everyone else. The arcade mode is basically what you would expect, you can select any bike and any track for one race only. Time trial let you set lap times for each track, plus you can use this mode to tweak your riding style and practice the 15 tracks. Once you have set a time on a track, you will see your ghost on the track the next time you race, enabling you to see where you went wrong or did yourself proud on your last quickest lap. Time trail will also give you a password that will let you post your fastest laps on the games website. Then you can see how bad you really are. Legends mode will allow you to race the very best of the competition from the past up to the present. Then there is the multiplayer mode which offers the ability for four players to race head to head.

Moto GP 3 Reviewed on PS2  @
Moto GP 3 Reviewed on PS2  @
Moto GP 3 Reviewed on PS2  @
Moto GP 3 Reviewed on PS2  @

Last of all is the challenge mode which pits you against 100 unique challenges, including time trials, slalom courses, drag races and one on one races against top riders. Each challenge has three difficulty levels, the variables that make each challenge are different, they can range from completing a time trial in a shorter time to setting stricter rules like not leaving the track. This is fairly similar to the licence section in Gran Turismo, but instead of earning the right to take part in races you are rewarded with videos, pictures, new stuff for your rider and a selection of new bikes and riders can be unlocked. This is the mode which will keep you coming back for more.

The best of these modes is the season mode in which you enter a seasons worth of races against top real life riders. You can choose from 12 teams and set a number of options before you start racing. The difficulty level makes a large difference, if you hike it up the AI riders will become noticeably better, but the real killer is the removal of braking and traction control that is available in the easy mode. If you decide to up to the level to hard, you will only be able to select from a couple of teams initially.

Moto GP 3 looks great, the bike all look great you can even see the brake callipers and foot pegs. The riders have had a good job done on the animation so the move nice and smoothly. The rider's leathers are also nice and clear so you can make out all of the sponsors. New to Moto GP 3 is the drivers eye view, this isn't so good for racing but it really does look good, with each bike having its own detail on the instruments and fairing etc. The replays are fantastic and very much like those from Gran Turismo, heat shimmers and lovely sweeping motions of the camera. The frame rate is also very good, especially in the single player games, when it come to multiplayer games the frame rate can chug a little.

Moto GP 3 is by far the best motorbike racer on the PS2. It's as challenging as you would like it to be, the challenge mode will keep you coming back for more and anyone that is a fan of super bike will find the depth of controls will keep you immersed for a very long time. Casual gamers may not find Moto GP 3 as immersive and as a result it may not hold your attention for very long. Anyone looking for a challenge or anyone who is a fan of the sport should invest in a copy of Moto GP 3 straight away, there are no substitutes.

8.5 out of 10