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One sign of this game’s effort to appeal to all racing fans is the inclusion of completely separate arcade and simulation modes of play. The arcade mode permits faster racing because the motorcycles are easier to handle, and the simulation mode has the motorcycles act more like real racing bikes (for example, you tend to slide out when taking a corner at too high a speed). After trying both modes, it is clear that while the arcade mode will easily satisfy fans of this type of racing, the simulation mode will not: you not only cannot customize most of a motorcycle’s performance capabilities before racing, but also cannot maintain a level of control of the bikes while racing that feels anything like the real thing. Nobody who enjoys the experience of true stand-alone simulations such as Castrol Honda Superbike World Champions will find the experience here to be very satisfying.
Another indicator of Moto Racer 2′s desire to be all-inclusive is your ability to do both Superbike racing, with its emphasis on speed, and Motocross racing, with its emphasis on stunts and jumping. The difference between street bike and dirt bike racing cannot be overstated, and they appeal to very different personality types and require very different riding skills. In this game you may enter tournaments that are all Superbike races, all Motocross races, or a mix of the two. To tell the truth, though, the differences in the racing experience between the two types of racing should be a lot greater than it actually is in this game.
Perhaps the one innovation that Electronic Arts trumpets the loudest is the inclusion of a full-fledged track editor to create new tracks or customize existing ones. The 3D track Creator offers a reasonably easy-to-use interface in which you can create racing challenges for street and dirt bikes in one of five different locales. Players can save their custom tracks, and Electronic Arts encourages them to trade them and upload them to the web to allow others all over the world to enjoy them. I find this track-creating option, which is indeed quite rare among racing games, to be the most positive feature of this game.
Ultimately what is missing from Moto Racer 2 is both a sense of freedom and a sense of fun. You feel unfairly constrained to the tracks, particularly in the Motocross races where normally you would be able to roam all over the place; there are not even a lot of short-cuts or alternative routes you can take to your destination. Unlike both Redline Racer and Motocross Madness, there is no sense of whimsy in this game at all to add a sense of frivolity to the gameplay. The inherent sense of rebellion that pervades motorcycle racing demands much more than the overly serious nose-to-the-grindstone attitude you get in Moto Racer 2, especially when the game’s introductory video ends with the injunction, “Defy the laws.”
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