Players: 1 Player Game | Release Date: 03/17/03 | Genre: Sports
Namco's popular MotoGP series has a new installment on the PS2. The Dorna licensed motorcycle racer is the official game of the MotoGP and more polished than the last incarnation of the series. It also features 15 tracks, 41 different motorcycles, and better visuals. With these changes, Namco puts the finishing touches on yet another successful title in series.
My personal favorite feature in MotoGP3 is the season mode. Here, you can race an entire season as one of twelve different teams. Players can also customize the game to fit their playing style. For example, by raising the difficulty level, the AI will get much tougher and the computer will no longer assist you with braking and traction. For me, I personally prefer having the computer give me all the help I can get. Okay, so I suck at a lot of simulation racers... Sue me, I am an RPG gamer!
Besides the lack of extra assistance, players who choose to play on the two tougher settings will be able to change their tires, handling response, gearing, etc. You also will only have the choice between a few of the teams initially.
As I mentioned above, the game can be modified to fit your gaming style. The gameplay will vary from more of an arcade style to a simulation style depending on what settings you want to turn on. Players can choose to have analog control of throttle and breaks, control of both front and rear brakes, shifting the rider's weight, and automatic or manual transmission shifts. To succeed at some of the harder difficulty levels, you are going to have to master the analog control for the throttle and brakes. However, this can take a lot of practice and it can get very frustrating. Fortunately, since Namco allows the game to be more arcade like, you can still get all of the enjoyment out of MotoGP but without mastering the simulation controls. After spending some time with the arcade style of gaming, you will always have the simulation side of things to master. This gives MotoGP 3 quite a bit of replay value.
Visually, the game looks great and does not suffer from any slowdown While I don't know much about motorcycles, the machines appear to include all the parts and details of the real thing. The riders are a little bit blocky though... but everything is animated very well. Since there isn't a drop in the framerate, this is a minor complaint. The individual tracks look good too. While racing, you will encounter numerous grandstands, crowds, and builds to add life to the gaming environment. Players can also choose to play the game through a cockpit view. However, this proves to not be very practical for racing but looks still great and adds a different perspective to the race.
While the single player mode doesn't have an issue with framerate, the multiplayer version does. MotoGP 3 allows for up to four players to compete against each other and race against a few computer controlled players. While it is still playable, the framerate does drop considerably from time to time. This may be more of a limitation with the PS2 hardware than a programming issue. Since most PS2 racing games don't offer a four player mode on a single system, Namco should have probably dropped the multiplayer mode down to two players in order to keep the framerates high. But if you have a multitap and four buddies that want to play, it is a nice, but slightly flawed, feature to have.
Overall, this is the best version of MotoGP Namco has put out. If you are a fan of the series, motorcycle racing, or just looking for a new racing game, pick up a copy of MotoGP 3.