At its best, Moto GP 08 is a realistic, stripped down racer that constantly challenges you to take a few seconds off you lap time. At its worst, it is a frustrating game with few milestones with which to track your achievements.
Either way, MotoGP 08 is a blast from the moment you step on the gas and pass the starting line!
Starting with a lousy tutorial is a great way to lower expectations. More of a practice-run, the tutorial offers up tidbits of advice about braking and turning, but the tips are almost completely useless. Here is a tip that will come in handy: MotoGP 08 is not an arcade racer!
Taking turns at full speed will add huge chunks of time to your laps, either from crashing or correcting yourself back onto the track. And while this game can be forgiving when it comes to bumping into other racers, don't get too cocky; any high-speed contact will give you road rash and your competitors' dust.
Controls are great, but only when you're winning. As with many other games, races tend to be a matter of who can take the turns fastest. Getting the hang of this can be tough, but when you do, the racing aspect ends and you can begin mastering the art of shaving seconds off your time. But always remember that Moto GP 08 keeps you on your toes, because the moment you think you've mastered the controls, the courses get more difficult or the competition gets stiffer.
All of the usual racing modes are available: time trial, career, championship and challenge. Career is for people who embrace the long haul, but be warned: a career will last only five seasons. You start at the bottom and work your way up through 125cc, 250cc and MotoGP.
Upgrades are available, but only in the form of earning points and cashing in those points for things like better acceleration and braking. There isn't much in the way of customisation, so people who like to tweak vehicle and rider alike might be underwhelmed.
MotoGP 08 looks and sounds great. The courses are distinct and full of detail. They could have put a little more effort into making sure the actual tracks are clearly defined, as ramps leading off the course are accessible and easily mistaken for part of the race. The sky in this game looks great and caused me to crash on more than one occasion. The roar of other motorcycles closing in on you adds to the intensity and provides an alternative to looking behind you, something that almost always ends poorly.
Fans of real life racing and previous incarnations of MotoGP will be happy for sure, but the learning curve and lack of customisation when it comes to upgrades may disappoint people who want more of an arcade feel.
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