Capcom’s MotoGP series has carved a bit of a niche out for itself by giving motorcycle racing fans a sim-style experience, but hasn’t quite reached the upper-echelon of racing games despite years of entries because of little things holding it back. Unfortunately, that trend continues with 10/11, which delivers a good game at times, but rarely an exceptional one.
I felt that past entries were a bit too unforgiving in their approach to racing, and the handling always felt a little off no matter how much tinkering I did with the settings - either by changing assists or tuning the bike. Now, Capcom has made the game more user-friendly by letting you choose just what assists you want to have turned on or off right from the start of the game - a step in the right direction, but not executed very well since you’re locked into those settings until you dig through a sea of menus to change each one individually. The start-up screen also does a poor job of explaining what each assist does, and the manual is no help in that regard either.
The game is split into a variety of modes that all revolve around racing - you’ve got the career mode, where you start from the bottom and work your way up, championship modes of either a full season or a single race, and online multi-player. The championship mode is based on the 2010 season, so dedicated fans of the sport will probably love it, while casual players of the games will want to stick with either single races or learn the ropes in career mode. There, you’ll earn sponsors, access to a better class of bikes, and get teammates. In theory, it sounds a bit like GRiD’s career mode, but isn’t as fun or well-executed.
On a technical level, the career mode is fine - gaining sponsorships and staff is done in a logical way, and the addition of co-op for it is nice, but held back by being offline-only. The idea of hiring people may seem laborious, but it isn’t because it only involves a few menus, and the jobs, their levels, and money needed to pay them are all outlined verbally and in text quite clearly. I also like that you can have practice and qualifying runs before each race - it’s an easy way to get people used to the gameplay without forcing them to place well in their only shot at tackling a track. However, the biggest issue with the career mode lies with the core gameplay, which you’ll be exposed to here a lot, and see just how every kind of bike, from low-powered ones all the way up to the pro-grade MotoGP bikes perform. It just isn’t quite as polished as it should be to deliver the experience the developers intend.
One issue is probably caused by the nature of sims - if you lean towards it being too much of a sim, you can instantly alienate those wanting an exciting game, but one with some sim elements. It’s rare that a car racing game can really blend the two, and this series has never done it before. The handling is better and the game as a whole is more accessible because of the assists, but still never results in the bikes handling as well as they should. There’s also a big issue with the rain not causing a huge change in races. In PGR 4, in either a motorcycle or a car, it made a huge impact on how you raced - if you liked to race all-out, you couldn’t, because you’d slide all over. Despite being a sim, 10/11 falls far short of even an arcade-styled game’s version of racing in the rain. You’ll slide a little more, but it ultimately doesn’t make a big difference in things. It’s unrealistic and definitely disappointing.
Despite the issues I have with the way the bikes handle, I still had fun with the online multi-player. Being able to have 20 racers online at once, with any possible mix of AI bots or real-life foes to fill out the pack if you desire, is nice. It’s also a lag-free experience despite offering up so many possible simultaneous players, which really impressed me.
Graphically, 10/11 underachieves a lot of the time. While it looks fantastic in first-person and close-up views, from the further third-person driving perspectives, things fall apart. The rider animation is limited, and the bikes they ride lack detail. Many of the environments are drab with nothing going on in the background and it leads to the visuals having a somewhat sterile feel.
There isn’t much life to the audio, either. The soundtrack is techno-heavy and the songs kind of blend into one another, while the sound effects just don’t have much impact to them. Collisions with other racers barely make a sound, and the same goes for flying off the bike due to a huge crash.
The problematic handling and lackluster nature of many of the game’s features makes it impossible to recommend for most players. Unless you’re a series die-hard, you’re probably fine sticking with last year’s entry, or just renting this one. The developers succeeded at delivering a rock-solid online experience, but the core racing gameplay still needs a lot of work before this can become a must-have series.