The PSP is a hard-to-love handheld. On the one hand, it has the power to provide games that look like games on other portable systems, but it lacks the modern control capabilities to work with technically possible games. The only Genre with which the system has no problem is racing. From the first day, the system impressed with Ridge Racer and Wipeout Pure, the absence of two analog sticks not being a major problem when racing on a track. Namco obviously recognized this and released MotoGP for the handheld, and although it’s not a perfect portable game, it’s another respectable racer that the PSP can add to its collection.

MotoGP for PSP gives you the dates of the 2005 and 2006 Season and you can play in a number of game modes, the most important of which is the Season mode. Here you go through each round of the real MotoGP season, choose to train and qualify, then you ride to earn points in the championship standings. The game itself is neither entirely a Simulation nor an Arcade racer, but it’s definitely not for casual players. It takes a lot of concentration to make sure you stay on track, and although the settings can be changed to ease the difficulty, it’s never easy. There are a small number of bike optimizations that can be performed, but only for transmission, handling, acceleration and braking.

In off-season mode, you can race on any track in Arcade mode-successful races unlock bonuses that can be displayed on the reward screen. A time trial mode is designed for players who want to improve their skills on specific tracks and offers a Ghost Rider Option if you want to gradually reduce your best time to a fraction of a second.

As with the Ridge Racer games on PSP, multiplayer is available, but this is only a Local live game, not an online game. This is a disappointment because it greatly reduces your chances of finding someone to play against, unless you have friends who are also interested in the game. It supports up to eight players, and it would have been great to offer at least a lite version of the game to play with the PSP’s game sharing function, but unfortunately this is not an Option.

This is a technically impressive PSP game

On the track, the graphics are a clear downgrade compared to the series on PlayStation 2, but they are certainly comparable and things move at a nice smooth frame rate, even when the screen is full of other drivers. The music seems to be the typical range of rock melodies, but it is quite harmless and takes over your mind when you focus on every corner. The loading times are not bad either, although they are somewhat masked by a race information screen that should not be ignored.

MotoGP is a real no-frills game for the PSP, but it offers a solid racing experience and is different from most racing games available for the system. It’s technically impressive and offers a lot of statistics to track and unlock bonuses, and the multiplayer is there when you find someone to play with. This is definitely a game that owners of PSP bike racing fans should consider adding to their Collection.

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