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SBK 2011: Another 'more-of-the-same' entry in the series?

On your bike...

You may have heard the term 'feature creep' bandied around by developers before.

It's used to describe when games get locked into yearly instalments and, instead of dramatic changes, there's only enough time to staple a couple of additions to the game before they pop it in a box with a new year on the end.

SBK 11 has a new year on the end and it's not so much feature creep as feature glacial drift. Fair enough, the previous game in the series, SBK X, featured the most sweeping changes in years.

It wasn't quite the glory years of MotoGP all over again, but it's clear there had been some late nights in the Milestone offices to crank out a genuinely improved racing game. Unfortunately, the effort of getting that and WRC out in the same twelve months seems to have had a knock-on effect on this year's outing.

Zoom

You could scribble the line-up of new features on the back of a stamp. A photo mode - that's the headline addition. In SBK 11 you can pause the game and take snaps of your rider and steed (probably as said rider is being pitched from said steed) and share them with your buddies.

Beyond that it feels like more has been taken out than introduced - the supersonic arcade mode has been stripped away because apparently no-one played it for more than about 15 minutes.

The associated career mode, with its Phoenix Wright-inspired story scenes, has been integrated into the main Career, though we're yet to see the form it'll take. It's no doubt the right call, swapping an unrealistic stab at Wipeout with a more playable entry-level handling model, but it still feels like less rather than more.

WHEELY SAMEY
The physics are getting an overhaul and while we had a blast around Assen and Portimao, it's tough to find substantial differences. There's a slight feeling of extra weight to the bikes and stability on corner exits seemed reduced, but with the team still hammering away at the maths it's hard to say if that will still be the case come release.

Add in a few minor graphical tweaks, including more reflective bikes, and a new menu screen (which to be honest we can't even muster the enthusiasm to comment on), and that's your lot. The newly compiled Career mode had better be a hell of an ace up Milestone's sleeve otherwise SBK 11 is going to make as big an impression as a fly hitting a helmet visor at 100mph.

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