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2005 E3Expo - Thursday, Day 2

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Moto GP 3 for PC (THQ)

Both THQ and Microsoft PC Games division had displays that included the new Moto GP3 motorcycle road racing title at this year's show. Surprisingly, Microsoft had only 1 PC loaded with MotoGP3, and was using it to host a hot-lap competition wherein the winner will receive a new gaming computer. I thought of entering the competition, until I saw the venue — a big leather sofa in front of a plasma TV, with the controller of choice being a game pad. I find it rather hard to precisely control a motor vehicle with a game pad, and luckily for me none of the real motorcycles or cars in this world come with game pads in place of trusty old, boring handlebars or steering wheels. I did take heart in the game's physics model though, as I watched teen after teen start his hot lap run with a full throttle run right into and through turn 1, ending up time after time in the outside wall. We moved over to the adjacent THQ exhibit area to get a better look at this exciting motorcycle racing title. Surely the game developer and publisher would be smarter about providing a controller worthy of their product? Well, um, no actually.

At THQ, Moto GP for the PC was offered for testing on one PC station, flanked by 2 console systems. The game was locked in 3rd person view, and vehicle control was afforded by the venerable keyboard. Indeed, there is one device that's less adept at high performance vehicle control than a game pad, and THQ found it. Regardless, I gave Moto GP3 a spin. Using the arrow keys on the keyboard, I was able to select either full brake, full throttle, idle or full handlebar throw as the subtle and finesse-filled options for controlling my high-performance racing motorcycle on the track. Great fun... not.

Driving Impressions: The game is graphically pretty on the PC and features a training option of a "best lap" ghost bike that acts as a telemetry "rabbit" for drivers to chase round the track, allowing the player to see where he's not running consistently and where he/she is improving. I liked this feature for providing a graphic, real time way to visualize the telemetry data between best lap and current lap. As for the physics model, AI performance, etc. I can't really comment, since I couldn't get a feel for the game with all the driver aid options locked into the 'On' position, the visuals locked in 3rd person view, and with an on/off controller like a keyboard for vehicle control. How disappointing THQ and Microsoft's presentation of this interesting title was.

Friday is the wrap-up day for E3Expo as we race around attempting to see the remaining products and people at this years show.

We'll be back tomorrow night with the finale.

Chunx and 20mm with friends.


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