Review By: Jared Black
was released in relative obscurity, being overshadowed by the
avalanche of PS2 launch titles. Included in this avalanche were
Namco’s own Ridge Racer V and Tekken Tag Tournament, but much
bigger franchises. As a result, MotoGP was released to
very little fanfare. Despite that, it ended up being one of my
favorite early PS2 titles thanks to some excellent visuals and
challenging gameplay. The sequel to that game has arrived, and
it has all the features you’d expect from a good sequel.
modes are essentially the same as the first game’s: Arcade,
Season, Time Trial, Challenge, Vs., and Legends. The only new
mode with this game is the Legends mode. Legends mode allows the
gamer to race against one of four different legends of the sport
in a single-race battle. All of the other modes are identical to
the first MotoGP, and are pretty much self-explanatory by their
essentially two different ways to play MotoGP 2…with either
the Simulation option set to "On" or "Off".
This will determine how your bike handles in any mode, and thus
greatly impacts every gameplay mode. With the Simulation option
turned off, MotoGP 2 is very much like any other arcade racer.
It’s nearly impossible to crash without hitting something
head-on, and the player can do things with his/her bike that
normally wouldn’t be possible in real life. With the
Simulation option set to "On", MotoGP 2 becomes a
grueling simulation racer that demands cat-like reflexes and
extreme care when cornering and braking.
really MotoGP 2’s only significant flaw. When racing in
Simulation, the game is often too difficult for all but the most
hardcore racers. Any minor mistake will usually result in the
player crashing (even moreso than on a real bike), and this can
be pretty frustrating considering the fact that with this
version it only takes a few crashes before the player is forced
to retire from a race. If you combine the Simulation mode with
wet driving conditions, all but the most skilled of players can
forget about even finishing a race, much less winning it. This
will no doubt appeal to hardcore bike fans and gamers looking
for an extreme challenge, but in truth it’ll just turn off
On the flip
side, when racing with the Simulation turned off the game is too
easy. Things are very arcade-like, meaning that the gamer
probably won’t crash at all unless they have incredibly bad
driving skills (or just refuse to tap the brake button
occasionally). Combine this with some pretty pedestrian A.I.,
and the result are races that are pretty easy to win…even with
the difficulty set on Hard. While the A.I. is pretty much the
same in Simulation as well, it’s not as noticeable because
other riders are generally the least of your concerns. As an
arcade racer there are much better ones out there, and chances
are even the most casual gamers will want a bit more challenge
set has been improved considerably from the last MotoGP. In
addition to all new stats, this year’s version sports 5 new
tracks (for a total of 10), varying weather conditions, hidden
shortcuts (which you’re penalized for taking in certain
settings), and the new Legends mode. Bikes can be customized a
bit better than before (although not to the level of something
like Gran Turismo 3), and there’s even some added fluff in the
form of special tricks such as wheelies, stoppys, burn outs, and
victory poses. These don’t add anything to the game, aside
from just being fun to pull off.
the feature set, the graphics have seen an incremental, but
pronounced improvement. The returning tracks look much better
than they did the first time around, with better texturing, more
detail and quantity in track-side objects and the new ones are
quite stunning as well. While the bike and rider models only
sport minor increases in quality, the new weather effect is
quite stunning. Water lays very realistically on the track, and
the splash of water on the camera is as realistic as can be
found this side of Wave Race: Blue Storm.
features and graphics only feature minor improvements, the aural
aspect has received a major upgrade. The terrible J-pop/Techno
combination soundtrack from the first MotoGP has been replaced
with the standard Euro Techno stuff you typically find in this
kind of racer, and here it’s much better than it is in most
games. You can even change the tune (or turn the music off) on
the fly by simply pressing the circle button, which is a welcome
feature when racing a full race. The sound effects are pretty
much the same as they were last year, which is to say sparse but
- The first
MotoGP featured some of the best graphics of any PS2
launch title, and this one looks even better.
simulation mode is simply the most realistic representation
of motorcycle racing to be found on any system.
soundtrack is actually good this time around.
features have been beefed up considerably, including double
the number of tracks and a lot of minor touches.
mode is too much for most casual racers, and the arcade mode
is pretty average compared to other racers.
- A.I. is of
the "follow the path" variety, and offers little
challenge in arcade mode where it needs it.
was a great, and underrated, racing game and MotoGP 2
improves on it in every imaginable way. The graphics have been
beefed up considerably, the soundtrack is infinitely better, and
the added features give it a lot more replay value than the first
in the process of improving the series Namco fell into the trap of
making it too hardcore for most sim fans and too easy for most
arcade fans. I still recommend MotoGP 2 to anyone looking
for an excellent motorcycle or niche racing game, but just be
prepared for a good bit of frustration if you plan on diving deep
into the simulation mode.