MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology Review (2023)

Unfortunately, the PC version of the game doesn't have the same online support and tight control that made the Xbox version so great, but at $20 it's an acceptable alternative for racing fans.

By Greg Mueller on

Riding a motorcycle at speeds approaching 200 miles per hour around hairpin turns on hot asphalt is about as intense as motorsports get. MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology, the latest motorcycle racing sim from THQ, comes complete with a full roster of riders and courses from around the world. But it isn't a mere roster update. In the third installment in the series, developer Climax offers a more arcade-style racing experience with the addition of extreme mode, which adds all-new fictional tracks and riders to complement the licensed portion of the game. Diehard sim fans might object to this slight departure from reality, but it feels perfectly valid within the context of the game, and it's a lot of fun to boot. Unfortunately, the PC version doesn't have the same online support and tight control that made the Xbox version so great, but at $20 it's an acceptable alternative for racing fans.

MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology Review (1)

MotoGP 3 is split into two distinct but complementary racing modes: Grand Prix and extreme mode. Grand Prix mode lets you take part in the 2004 MotoGP season, with fully licensed tracks, riders, and bikes. You can race against the best riders in the world on the 16 real-world MotoGP tracks, from the familiar Le Mans course in France to the new Gulf course in Qatar. All the riders, bikes, and courses are represented with pinpoint accuracy here, but the 2004 season highlight movies that were included in the Xbox version of the game have been cut from the PC version.

When you play career mode you can create a custom rider and race your way through all 16 races in the 2004 MotoGP season. You can choose your bike and leathers, and even create a custom logo to slap on the side of your racing machine. Once that's complete, you're ready to race. Before each race, you have an opportunity to run practice laps to get a feel for the course. After that, you can move on to the qualifying round, where you're given 10 minutes to run the fastest lap possible. Your fastest lap determines which position you'll start in at the beginning of the race. You can't always count on the weather being the same for the practice, qualifying, and racing rounds, so you have to be ready to adapt if it's raining on race day.

After completing each race, you earn attribute points that can be applied to your rider to improve cornering, braking, top speed, and acceleration. These points can be redistributed between races. For example, if you think you'll need a few more points on the top end for an upcoming race, you can pull some points from cornering and put them toward your top speed. In addition to modifying your stats, you can tune your bike between races. The tuning component of the game is fairly shallow, but you can adjust your bike where it counts most: tire compound for grip; gear-tuning for acceleration and top speed; suspension for stability; and wheelbase for cornering. Depending on how you place in each career race, you earn championship points, and the rider with the most points at the end of the season is the champion. How well you do really depends on your familiarity with each turn of every track, as well as the difficulty setting of the artificial intelligence-controlled racers. The artificial competition is downright pathetic in rookie mode, and even inexperienced racers will easily take at least a 30- to 40-second lead over the rest of the pack. Luckily, the pro, champion, and legend difficulty modes are challenging enough to give seasoned riders a run for their money.

MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology Review (2)

The biggest new feature in MotoGP 3 is extreme mode, which lets you race in three different classes on 16 fictional street courses. You can race 600cc 2-strokes, as well as 1000cc and 1200cc 4-strokes, for a total of 16 new bikes. All of the bikes and riders are fictional, but they look and behave convincingly enough. If you're playing in career mode, you'll earn money for each race you're in, which you can spend on parts, tuning, or new bikes. There are five different categories to sink your earnings into on your bike, and each category has three progressive stages. For example, if you want to spend some money to tune your engine, you have to start off with fuel mapping for $100, then move on to port polishing and engine blueprinting, with a $100 increase at each stage. It isn't especially involved, but it provides all the more incentive to keep winning races. As in Grand Prix mode, you can also tune your bike by adjusting things like gear ratios, suspension, and tire compound. Again, the tuning isn't too involved, so even the mechanically inept can easily figure out how to properly tune a bike.

The tracks in extreme mode are fictional, but they're set in real-world locations such as Tokyo, Barcelona, and Prague. These are all street circuits, so you'll race through narrow alleyways, city streets, or crooked country roads. Some of the races even take place at night. The courses look great, especially when you're zooming by at 180 miles per hour. The extreme courses are not only nice to look at, but they're also fast. These courses have fewer sharp turns, so you can keep the throttle open for most of the race. On the smaller bikes, you hardly need to use the brakes at all. Overall, the extreme courses are much less demanding in terms of technical racing skills, but they're still a lot of fun. And even if you're put off by the arcade-style feel of these races, it doesn't detract from the Grand Prix part of the game in any way.

MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology Review (3)

Whether you play MotoGP 3 online or offline, you'll improve your seed, which is basically a skill ranking. If you win a lot of difficult races, your seed will get lower and lower. You start out at 100, and you can get all the way down to one if you're really dedicated. Your seed is used to let others online know how you rank in terms of skill and experience. You can race any of the extreme or Grand Prix courses online, with a full suite of options to adjust the weather effects, number of laps, scoring, collisions, AI riders, and more. Up to 16 players can race in Grand Prix mode, and up to 10 can race in extreme mode. Unfortunately, the online multiplayer in the PC version isn't integrated very well. There is no server browser in the game, so unless you know the IP address you want to connect to, you have to exit MotoGP 3 and launch a third-party program to find a game. The game also supports LAN play, or you can run four-player, split-screen races if you have enough USB ports and gamepads.

The controls are fully customizable, but steering with the keyboard is less than ideal. We found the best option to be a gamepad with analog control, which the game does support. The bike physics are accurately represented here, and there's a simple satisfaction to be found in gracefully righting your bike after a perfectly navigated chicane or hairpin turn. You can really feel a difference when the road surfaces change--which they often do. You'll race on cobblestones, wooden bridges, and rain-slicked pavement, and if you stray off the course there's always a dreaded gravel trap waiting to swallow your wheels and slow you down. All of these effects can drastically alter the outcome of a race. For example, when the track is wet, it really feels like your rear wheels are about to slip out from under you at any moment. As a result, you have to modify your lines and ride a bit more conservatively to stay on course. One thing to especially look out for is getting too close to the computer-controlled riders. If you tangle with them, you'll most likely end up eating asphalt while they ride on unfazed. Although the AI isn't overly aggressive, it's still frustrating when you get knocked off your bike at the slightest contact with another racer.

MotoGP 3: Ultimate Racing Technology Review (4)

The production values are fairly high in MotoGP 3 on the PC, especially for a budget game. The courses, bikes, and riders look great, but the frame rate often dips and snags as you're racing. The engine noise sounds authentic, and while the music isn't particularly interesting, it isn't intrusive either. MotoGP 3 on the PC feels like a stripped-down version of its Xbox counterpart. The PC version features the same tracks and riders, but the online play, frame rate issues, and awkward controls make it a much less-appealing game. Still, the licensed content and budget price make MotoGP 3 a solid choice for racing fans.

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Is it worth it to buy MotoGP? ›

That career mode, though

Despite reservations about some on-track behaviours, the new modes pull the game around. For the first time in several releases, and including the WorldSBK game, there's a refreshed career mode. If you purchase the MotoGP titles to enjoy single-player play-through, then you're in for a treat.

Is MotoGP 14 worth it? ›

It's not to say that MotoGP 14 can't be appreciated for what it offers, which is a lot of content, but it simply isn't for everyone. Fans of the sport and franchise have a lot great modes to look forward to, with not only single player races but multiplayer also.

Is it hard to play MotoGP? ›

MotoGP 22 is a simulation racer, so at the highest level, you are expected to turn just about everything off and get immersed in the said simulation. As a beginner, you don't want to do that. There is a lot to learn in any racer - and when you start throwing “simulation” things get more than a little bit spicy.

Is MotoGP 21 fun? ›

Just for the racing experience alone, Moto GP 21 is a very enjoyable simulation. If you want more content: Compared to other games, MotoGP 21 isn't stocked with content. Online is a bit threadbare and Career Mode is rather basic – though I'd say that places more of an emphasis on the racing itself.

Is a MotoGP bike faster than an F1 car? ›

MotoGP trumps F1 at 0-200kph. At around 180kph, the electronics take full control in the F1 car, while MotoGP riders can still work the throttle. The F1 car does it in 5.2s, but it's 4.8s for the bike. The MotoGP bike needs 11.8s to go from 0-300kph, while the single-seater F1 car needs only 10.6s.

What is faster a MotoGP bike or F1 car? ›

At 221.5 mph on a bike to 234.9 mph in an F1 car, Moto GP is slower, but both are incredible speeds to hit in the heat of competition and while utilising the skill required to navigate tracks and other drivers. As reaffirmed by Red Bull, F1 cars can go faster around a track than MotoGP motorbikes.

Why is MotoGP so expensive? ›

Expensive, hardwearing and extremely light materials like titanium, magnesium and carbon fibre are used in the production of MotoGP bikes. Metal and plastics that cost pennies to a dollar per pound are replaced with carbon fiber, which costs £2 per 100g. MotoGP bikes are out under extreme conditions during races.

Does MotoGP 19 have career mode? ›

Career mode returns as well and offers some customization. Players are free to start from the bottom rung of the ladder and start a long climb, kitting out bikes in various categories as they go.

Do MotoGP riders drink alcohol? ›

'The presence of alcohol in a concentration higher than the threshold and the consumption/use of alcohol (ethanol) are prohibited in motorcycling sport during the in-competition period and will be considered as a violation of the Medical Code. '

Is MotoGP faster than NASCAR? ›

While most forms of car racing can unsurprisingly register a faster time than MotoGP, NASCAR is not one of them. In NASCAR, the top speed registered to date is 321km/h or 199mph. NASCAR cars are significantly slower than MotoGP or other forms of motorsport because of safety concerns.

How far do MotoGP riders lean? ›

Improvements in both tyre and chassis technology have enabled the lean angles to increase over time to the point where the rider can now get not only his elbow on the ground but also the shoulder! This equates to a lean angle of a scarcely believable 64 degrees from the vertical.

Is MotoGP more exciting than F1? ›

Three times Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton, has agreed publicly with what we knew already, that MotoGP is more exciting than F1 because its races provide closer racing. "MotoGP is just so cool, much more exciting to watch, I would say, just because it's closer racing," he said.

Is MotoGP as popular as F1? ›

Even though the last few years of MotoGP have been exciting, unpredictable, full of the best racing in all motorsport, F1 has completely overshadowed MotoGP in terms of popularity.

Why do MotoGP riders lean off the bike? ›

When we hang off we effectively move the centre of gravity closer to the ground and towards the inside of the corner which, for a given speed, requires less roll angle to balance out these forces. This allows the motorcycle to remain more vertical and on the fatter part of the tire giving us more grip.

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