For those not in the know, MotoGP is the highest level of motorcycle racing in the world. It’s akin to F1 for cars, in that it’s run with nothing but hand-made, multimillion-dollar prototype machines that are driven by the top racing talent. In MotoGP 3, you get to pretend you’re part of the MotoGP circus, and if all that fancy bike racing isn’t your thing, the game also includes Isle of Man-style street racing, making it two games in one.
The MotoGP part of the game can be approached in several ways. There’s always the Quick Race option if you’re looking for some racing action without all the hassles a race weekend entails. There are time trials as well, if you just want to ride the tracks without any pressure.
The meat of the MotoGP experience, however, is the career track, where you start the season on one of the crappier bikes (Yamaha M1, Harris, or Proton), and as you finish in better positions you unlock faster, more lustworthy bikes and riders, including the world-conquering Honda RC211V and multi-time world champion Valentino Rossi.
With the completion of every race you get “ability points” you can add to your bike, making it turn better, stop faster, and so forth. You also get money you can use to upgrade your bike with a better fuel-injection map, higher-lift cams, and the like. The street-racing portion of the game functions similarly, and is actually—in our opinion—more fun than the MotoGP segment, because the bikes are smaller and easier to handle, and the courses more interesting.
You must have a gamepad to play MotoGP 3—don’t even bother with a keyboard and mouse because the bikes are too hard to control. Also don’t bother listening to the soundtrack—it’s mixed terribly and the songs are annoying. The graphics are superb, however.
While we think it’s bunk that three-quarters of the game is “locked” and inaccessible in the early stages of the game, there’s still a lot of racing fun to be had.
-- Josh Norem
ESRB Rating: E