For those not in the know, MotoGP is the ultimate form of motorbike racing today and MotoGP 08 allows you to experience just that, along with some other forms of motorbike racing such as the 125CC and 250CC class bikes.
You take yourself and a bike all around the world on all the tracks present in the 2008 MotoGP calendar, this means that you get to race in the night of Qatar as well as Indianapolis and a whole host of amazing racing venues.
The usual variety of game modes are all present and accounted for, you can start a Career, perform a one off Quick Race, set the fastest lap with Time Attack and take part in a one off Championship. There are also 50 Challenges with a wide range of difficulties to play around with.
So there is a lot to do in MotoGP 08, but it isn’t done fantastically, there is a notable lack of depth in the bike settings. I assumed that, being a more simulation oriented game than something like GRID that there would be loads of little options to tweak on the bikes. Instead you just get to change the tyres and tweak the suspensions, turning speed and gears on a very basic bar. You expect more than just that, it is pandering to the arcade racers, but without the optional level of detail for the more simulation oriented racers.
When you come to customising your bike in the Career mode you are again presented with the simplistic segmented bars which allows you to increase the top speed, acceleration, braking and tractions, it just feels like the developers are scared of presenting us with any kind of simulation in the game settings.
If there were more arcade stylings these failings wouldn’t be missed too much, however the extent of customisation to your rider in Career mode is to change the helmet, you can’t change the colour of your bike or colour of your overalls. It just smacks of finding a middle ground between arcade and simulation and not doing anything to make the game stand out one way or another.
The racing is fine, it is certainly fun to cut up the opposition and storm to victory a handful of times using the Arcade realism setting, but soon enough you will get bored of the lack of challenge, bumping up to Advanced provides you with a bit more of a challenge and feels just like it should be the standard setting. If you dare to use the Simulation setting, well you best be a real MotoGP rider as the bikes are nigh on impossible to ride.
Graphically MotoGP 08 is poor, racing around Donnington Park here is a sad experience compared to what we got in GRID, it feels bland and lifeless. This is a malaise that spreads to the other tracks, even the night race in Qatar looks poor, nothing like the spectacle that it was on TV.
The novelty of playing a racing game devoted to motorbikes soon wares off though, while it is fun to see your rider shift around the bike as change his position for the corners the animations can get repetitive over a long period of racing.
MotoGP 08 will appeal to fans of the sport and may even appeal to some other racing game fans, however there is not enough here to keep anyone else interested for too long. The more you play the more the problems become apparent, park up your bike and wait for hopefully a better experience next year.