Bikes racers are nothing new (Hang On, anyone?) but THQ's MotoGP series took the sport to the mass market. Superbike World Championship 2007 now wants a slice of that pie and has pulled out all the stops to give it a run for its money.
Being huge motorbike fans, we were pleased to see developer Milestone when they brought us in their latest racing game, Superbike World Championship 2007. Although its last superbike game was very good, we thought there were a few things missing, the most notable being the lack of an official superbike license. Thankfully this has been sorted, and not only are the official teams, riders and tracks in there but the physics have also been tweaked and boy is it awesome.
The physics are impressive and the handling great, but there are enough game modes in it to keep you going for ages. Our favourites were the Race Weekend and Championship modes, Race Weekend lets you experience a whole race weekend, including free practice and qualifying sessions.
One thing we loved in this game is the way rider position is so important. Like in real-life, if you put the power down when exiting a corner and haven't got your rider over the front wheel, you're going to pop a wheelie, it's just as important when slowing down, as the way you position your rider massively affects your braking.
As well as impressive handling, SBK- 07 also has a few unique features, which genuinely contribute to the riding experience. Your rider health is also important to the game. How this works is that your rider's health falls every time you come off (as it would in real life), park it too often and you end up retiring from the race. This might sound like a pain in the arse, but it actually turns out to be a good thing as the more you fall off, the more used to falling off your rider becomes. As he increases his crashing skills, his health lasts longer, which is a great help if - like me - you're particularly accident-prone.
One problem with making a game so realistic is the time it takes to build up your core skills. Of course you can adjust the difficulty levels, but to get the full racing experience everything needs to be set to hard and you'll really need to invest the time to undo all those years of MotoGP play, though it's worth your effort.
Milestone has put in a lot of effort to make this better than its last Superbike game and for us the most important feature (apart from the official license), is the fact that there can now be up to 22 bikes on screen at any one time. This must have taken a massive amount of effort because last time around only seven riders were on track at any one time.
SBK-07 is definitely being pitched more at the hardcore bike racing fans out there rather than the casual gamer. You could even say it's by riders for riders. From what we've seen so far (and if it was ever released on 360 or PS3), it would give the mighty MotoGP a run for its money.