Since 2008, Capcom has been solely responsible for the video games based on the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix and MotoGP 10/11 is the most recent result. All of the gameplay modes from MotoGP 09/10 are back, but there are a few new racers and tweaks.
The most robust, and best, feature of MotoGP 10/11 is easily career mode. You start by creating a custom racer and then have a motorcycle racing career. Your character starts out as a broke beginner, with no endorsements, managers, engineers, and two below-average bikes. As you race, your character’s reputation increases depending on how well you do (or don’t do) on the practice, qualifying, and race sessions. Once you start racing, you see a calendar showing when races are and when you need to pay your team.
What’s great about this mode is you can develop an idea of how well you’re going to do after a particular race event by watching a bar at the top of the screen. It’ll show your current grade while you perform. Showboating, overtaking other racers, and completing impromptu challenges (like passing a certain racer) makes your score rise. Sometimes, even just going really fast makes it go up. Falling behind, being run into crashing and going off track makes your score plummet. Thankfully, your performance from your practice, qualifying, and race sessions all count towards your overall score for one race event. So, even if you get an E or D score on a official race, you can still get a C grade for the day. (Thank goodness.) Once that day’s events are done, your reputation goes up, you might be able to get new bikes, you get paid and you might get new sponsorship offers.
The world championship, arcade and multiplayer modes return from MotoGP 09/10 in MotoGP 10/11. Only now arcade is known as time trial. World championship mode lets you play through a full racing season, through 18 races. If that seems like too much, you can also play through one championship race. There’s also a time trial mode, where you have to participate in racer while trying to get the best time as possible. Of course, you can also run out of time in time trial, so you have to keep an eye on the clock while you race and be careful. (Flying off the track or running eats up your time.) The multiplayer mode lets you take part in an online or offline multiplayer race.
MotoGP 10/11 has great potential as a multiplayer game, simply because there are so many options. Like most racing games, there is online multiplayer. It supports up to 20 players, which adds a little extra sense of realism to the game. Online play worked quite well too. My Wi-Fi isn’t exactly optimal and I’ve sometimes experienced unexpected drop-outs when playing Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood or Dead Rising 2, but I never once lost a connection during a race. I also never won a race either, but then that’s my fault and not the game’s.
There are also rather interesting local multiplayer options. You can go through either challenge or championship mode with two players on the same system using split-screen to show both riders. Granted, it wasn’t all that great having the smaller view, but it was still there and a nice addition to have for both modes. Especially, since so many games tend to focus only on online multiplayer. The career mode I mentioned earlier also has a cooperative multiplayer option. Granted, your friend/team mate can’t help you earn any trophies if they race with you, but it’s nice to add a little variety to that mode and perhaps make it a bit easier to earn money. That way, even if you keep coming in in 25th, 26th or 27th place, like me, you can get a little help from a friend who somehow manages to always place in the top 10.
Multiplayer is where you want to spend all your time. In multiplayer, you don’t have to worry about the cheating computer. I know, you’re thinking that I’m just a little bitter because I’ve played MotoGP 10/11 for about 10 hours now and haven’t made it into the top 10 once (and I am), but that’s not it. The AI racers in MotoGP 10/11 really do cheat. They are inexplicably faster than you. They have an easier time of speeding up after sharp turns and if you’re all going on a straight line of track, they will go faster than you for no reason, even if you’ve also got your rider tucked in and going over 160mph.
As you can probably gather, MotoGP 10/11 isn’t going to cater to beginners. If you’ve never played a motorcycle racing game before, it expects you to sink or swim. You have to know exactly how to turn and move, whether to use the front or rear brakes and know when to tick in, shift your rider’s weight or make certain gestures in career mode to build your reputation. It’s a lot to learn and even on the easiest difficult level (Gentle), you’re going to have issues. It can be quite damaging to someone’s ego, especially if that someone’s enjoyed games like ModNation Racers and Mario Kart Wii and is accustomed to being a natural right from the start.
In addition, all of the tracks are incredibly intricate. There are lots of twists and turns. So if you don’t watch your speed and pay attention to the racing line that shows up on each track, you could find yourself in big trouble. Honestly, the racing line is the only reason I made it to 21th place once. It’s a dashed line that appears on the track, showing the best path you could follow to get a good time and possibly win the race. If it’s green, you’re going at a good speed and you’re fine. Should it turn yellow or red, odds are you’re approaching a curve or turn and you need to slow down or you will go careening off the track, probably crashing into a wall or skidding so far that you lose time and have to be replaced somewhere on the track.
If you play the time trial mode, you can create or download racing lines. Your line is uploaded to the servers and shared if you’re one of the fastest and best racers. (Needless to say, you will never see any of my racing lines.) If you’re having issues (like me), then you can download the racing lines made by people who actually know what they’re doing to see if it helps you out. (It probably won’t.)
Simply put, MotoGP 10/11 is for the fans. It’s for people who enjoy the MotoGP racing series and know what they’re doing. Capcom and Monumental Games obviously realize this as well, since the team made the bikes look nice & shiny, the game has many famous racers, and there will be free DLC packs released throughout the 2011 MotoGP racing season to keep the game up-to-date. Career mode is where MotoGP 10/11 shines and the new co-op option there will probably be the only reason MotoGP 09/10 owners will upgrade. As for casual racers, I’d recommend going for something a little more friendly and less complicated, like ModNation Racers. At least there you have a chance of getting in the top five, without much practice.
Food for Thought
- There are multiple viewpoints, which you can toggle with R1 during a race. I’d recommend doing it from the start, since it can be disorienting if you switch during a race.
- Even though it can occasionally rain in the game, it’s just a visual change. It doesn’t have any effect on racing conditions.
- AI racers are terrible drivers. On the Gentle difficulty level 5 crashed into me during World Championship races, making me crash and fall 27th place and someone crashed into me at least once during each qualifying or race I participated in during career mode.
- You can view replays after a race to see how you did.
- Though the tracks are quite curvy, challenging and intricate, the scenery can be pretty bland. Most of the surroundings start to look the same.