Lets face it, Moto GP has never been as popular as its rich boy cousin, Formula One. As a result, there are only two current games based upon the sport. One is Moto GP on the PlayStation 2 and the other is MotoGP for the Xbox. Naturally, this causes a lot of confusion with people assuming it's the same game for different systems.
For those not in the know, Moto GP is just like Formula One except, obviously, on bikes. If anything this makes things a lot more exciting as balancing on two wheels can, at times, be a lot harder than raqcing on four. If you want to get full enjoyment out of this title, you will have to put a lot of time in. With the driving aids turned off, the game can be very unforgiving. Off course being the uber gamer that I am, the first thing I did was pick a 500cc bike and turn off all aids. Needless to say, I fell off no less than four times on the first corner.
Whilst I do recommend turning the aids off and simulation mode on, I do not recommend starting on such a powerful bike. 125cc races have been added to Moto GP 4 and they are a great place to start if you haven't played any previous games in the series. To get anywhere in this game you will have to master the art of early breaking and throttle control. It may take a few goes before you can do an entire lap without leaving the track but when you do get those corners right it's damn satisfying!
The realistic handling is further complimented by the camera views included in the game. Whilst watching your character shift his weight about does look pretty cool, I recommend switching to first person view for a more realistic experience. My two favourite angles would be the helmet cam and the bike mounted viewpoint if you really want to feel the leaning action. Just be warned, stick to the 3rd person view if your one of those poor souls that suffer from motion sickness. Oh and manual shifting is essential!
Because of the escalating popularity of the Moto GP (The recent F1 PR disaster may also add to this), the Moto GP series has been brought up to F1 standards with features. The game features all the tracks from the current season, including the China circuit. The career mode is beautifully bloated with the kind of depth you'd expect from a car racing game. It fully covers a drivers career with contract options if your good enough. You even get to try out new parts between races, if you complete the challenges you get to keep the new tech. This is rewarding and helps to break up the race by adding some variety.
Graphically, I found this game rather average. Sure the other racers look realistic and are well animated but the track textures and background object are a little sparse. Then again it is realistic and you'll be a little more concerned about the next corner rather than how pretty things are. Still, I feel there could have been slightly more gloss.
Whilst I have to say, before now, I have preferred Climax's MotoGP series, the fourth instalment of Moto GP really does give it a race for its money. Featuring more options and features than a bikers wet dream, this is the most complete Moto GP game yet. It will be interesting to see if the upcoming MotoGP can better Namco's latest effort.