In response to the runaway success of the original MotoGP for the Xbox, THQ decided to bring the next game in the series to both the PC and the Xbox. The original game featured accurate and accessible controls, stunning visuals, and a dynamic racing experience, and the Xbox version of the sequel managed to improve on the outstanding original in every way. The PC version of MotoGP 2, on the other hand, shows signs of being perhaps a little too closely related to its cousin, and in the end, the developer should have spent more time making the PC version as cohesive as its console counterpart. Fortunately, the game is at least available at retail at a budget price of $20.
The bikes and riders are modeled with a high level of detail.
The first thing you'll notice when comparing the versions side by side is that their menu systems are nearly identical. Unfortunately, this means that the in-game menus don't have PC-specific options, such as the ability to adjust your control setup and graphical configuration. These functions are all handled by the game's launcher, so you have to exit the game and then relaunch to make any changes. The game does all this with short load times and very little fanfare, but it's still a pretty clumsy setup.
Otherwise, MotoGP 2 is a detailed re-creation of the 2002 MotoGP series, and with the changes it makes to last year's title, the experience is a spot-on match. The roster has been updated to match last year's series, with riders such as Valentino Rossi, Max Biaggi, Sete Gibernau, and Daijiro Kato. The track count has gone up to 16, representing all of the series' courses, from Suzuka and Sepang to Brno and Valencia. The 500cc two-stroke machines now share the starting grid with 1,000cc four-stroke bikes such as the Yamaha M1, the Suzuki GSV-R, and the Honda RC211V. The single-player mode provides a wide variety of modes to play in, such as the quick race mode, for those who want to jump right into the action, and the stunt mode, which is an arcadelike game in which you pull off high-speed stunts to score points and unlock new riders. Other modes include time trials to polish your cornering lines on the tracks and a slew of multiplayer modes.
The heart of the single-player game is the career mode, in which you create a rider to compete in the full MotoGP series. In addition to choosing a bike and leathers, you'll distribute attribute points into skills such as cornering, braking, acceleration, and top speed. Additional points are won by completing challenges and winning races, so if you're successful you'll have a pretty skilled racer by the end of the season. Each circuit is run in a sequence and presented as a two-day race event. The first day is for practice and qualification for grid placement, and the second is for the race itself. True to life, races are held rain or shine, and the lines you chose on a sunny practice day might be thrown out completely in the pouring rain of the actual race day. At the end of each series, you can choose to go back and race on any of the previous tracks again or complete any challenges you may have missed to improve your attributes, or you can move on to the next season.