Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

Electronic Theatre ImageThe Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology series is one with a very questionable path. With industry regulars either praising the title for its inherent sense of using the most totally realistic approach possible, or simply passing it off as an uncontrollable mess. Clearly, the latter comments come from those with no appreciation for the adrenaline-pumping pleasure of belting down a winding road at over 100mph, cranking it down for that hairpin, and then opening it up as you come out of the bend onto the straight – right up and over 170mph. Now, I’m not exactly a sports bike guru myself, but I can appreciate the fact that, in a Moto GP sprint, running with nineteen other racers at over 250mph into a ninety-degree angle can be a little hair-raising. With the announcement of the series next instalment appearing on Xbox360, high-hopes are held out for this version.

            First things first, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 is not Super Hang-On. Got that? Good. Then you’ll be pleased to know that handling the hot metal is also totally different. Yes, left is still left Electronic Theatre Imageand right is still right, but you will find the opacity of the Analogue Stick is not at all what you’d expect – having been developed to represent the heavily customised control style of Moto GP, it’s unlikely that you will have played anything similar before. Turning a ninety-degree left bend will invariably result in viewing a rag-doll cut-scene featuring your avatar in immense pain, without practice. Once having become accustomed to the flickering controls – seemingly lifeless at one point and career-death-dealing at the next – the system works in harmonious balance with your racing line, should you be able to stay on it!

            The title features a minimal selection of offline modes; the usual Quick Race and Career being both selectable and predictable. With sixteen tracks selectable from the start, Mirror Mode and a further sixteen Street Tracks unlockable, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 has a fair amount of variety, and is fully licensed for the 2004 season – offering you the likes of Valentino Electronic Theatre ImageRossi and Max Biaggi as playable riders and bikes from a huge variety of manufacturers including Yamaha, Suzuki BMW and Honda. The Career Mode travels through the basic sixteen tracks offering a small amount in the way of unlockables, and even less in the way of rewarding gameplay, whereas Quick Race – well, it does exactly what it says…

            In an unprecedented move, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 seemingly disregards its only-just-slightly-above-average Single-Player option with a swift rev of its accelerator, moving quickly onto XboxLIVE!. And this is where the latest title in THQ’s Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology series shines. Challenging online rivals is almost always a plausible argument to the split-screen of yesteryear, but in Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 we now see arguments against watching TV, buying your own sports bike or simply leaving the house. With a player-rating system on par with that of the mighty Halo2 – before players learnt how to Electronic Theatre Imagecorrupt it – it’s always easy to find a player online of similar ability, or twenty. Featuring no Lag, a plentiful supply of variable racing and bike options and a straight-forward Menu System, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 is now closing the gap between watching your mates race virtual bikes online, and watching the actual Moto GP. Add to this an extremely large collection of unlockables which can be earnt online, and you’ll never be seeing that Single-Player Menu again.

            Graphically, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 doesn’t sparkle. Backgrounds are often sparse and lifeless, and the track animations are, obviously, minimal. However, somewhere around that 250mph barrier a special blurring effect comes into play. As your acceleration increases, so does the effect. Racing through the Street Tracks at night shows exactly why the GPU’s power has been diverted from the polygon-stingy rider models and lack of animation within the backdrops, and has been a trade-off that may not be to everyone’s tastes, but has been worth the effort. There’s a whole host of camera Electronic Theatre Imageperspectives available and the XboxLIVE! spectator option is really as dull as, in all fairness, it should be. In a continual effort to show THQ’s mastery of the current generation, the bikes rev and hiss with an accurately authentic ting, as though they’d been recorded trackside and had little editing since.

            Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 tries to do everything right, and succeeds at least half the time. Pushing the boundaries of online play as much as any first-party Microsoft title would dare to whilst, without an Arcade Mode, the handling of the title makes the game virtually impenetrable to those without some negligible knowledge of how sports bikes work. Some minor AI assistance such as that seen in F1 05 would have been useful, but never-the-less will make the title more endearing to its target audience. As a sports bike simulator, Moto GP: Ultimate Racing Technology 3 is miles ahead of the field, however without this entry-level assistance the aforementioned target audience is clearly limited. Electronic Theatre Image





















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