MotoGP 06 & Forza Motorsport Showdown

Been a while since I posted about games. I've had a couple things that I wanted to discuss, but not enough to warrant a full post, so here it is in rapid-fire succesion.

MotoGP 06
This is what I've been playing lately and I have to say that if you've played any of the previous MotoGP games then you know exactly what to expect. It's a very capable motorcycle racing simulation with real-world tracks, bikes, racers, and liveries. I'm not sure what liveries are, but the game uses the term so I figured I would too. MotoGP 06 does bring a rather neat new (to me) feature in that in addition to the standard 17-race season, there are also 17 additional "Extreme" tracks with three other classes of "Extreme" bikes for you to buy. The game plays a bit more arcadey in Extreme mode and there are parts to upgrade and money to win, and a bunch of peculiar bikes to purchase.

Those looking to snag some easy Achievement points better look elsewhere, as this game does not give them up easily. I've so far finished a championship season on rookie difficulty, another on pro difficulty, completed 50 challenges, and have ranked up to seed 68 and have only earned 80 of the 1000 available Gamer Points so far. I love the challenge of playing this game and unteaching yourself all of the habits of car racing, but I'm not a fan of the lengthy load times, and truth be told, if you've played the earlier games in this series then you've effectively played this one too. It's a very solid game, and while I appreciate the addition of the Extreme championships, there needs to be something new done in the way you improve your stats or upgrade your ride. Something needs to be done to shake it up. It's due.

Forza Motorsport Showdown
If you get the Speed channel then you really ought to tune in on Saturday night and check out the Microsoft-sponsored show, "Forza Motorsport Showdown". The show is a driving challenge between 6 teams in a host of different auto events (drag, road, drift, oval, autocross, etc.,) that plays out like a reality show, but it's based on videogame concepts (ripped from the game of the same name) such as earning credits and upgrading your parts. The six teams consist of two Nissan 350-Z's, a 2007 Corvette Z06, a Mustang, and a pair of old Camaro and Challenger muscle cars. Six amateur drivers were each paired with a crew and a car and duke it out on the asphalt to win credits to improve their rides. So far, a teenager in the Corvette is winning, followed close behind by a pretty attractive 20-something blonde woman in the Mustang. Both muscle cars have been suffering major mechanical problems.

Aside from the fact that the show is actually very entertaining to watch -- moreso than that NASCAR reality tryout show on ESPN last year -- but it's a tremendous marketing concept for Microsoft. There is a world of racing afficionados out there who associate videogame driving games with the Playstation and the Gran Turismo franchise. Many of these people, I'm guessing, didn't buy an Xbox or play the original Forza Motorsport videogame. Microsoft is beaming this television show directly at them on the Speed network and lacing the show with trailers and advertisements for their upcoming Xbox 360 racing game, Forza Motorsport 2. The game not only looks incredible and features a highly developed online racing and auctioning experience (not to mention a much deeper car detail system than Gran Turismo), but it also features a collision model and better physics and car handling over its Playstation counterpart. Forza Motorsport 2 is one of my most anticipated titles of the year and I expect that I'm not alone. Between the exorbitant price of the PS3, the disappointing lack of online functionality with GT4 and the a la carte version of GT-HD which as of now has no release date, I imagine there are a lot of folks who will be tiring of waiting on Sony and making the switch as many of us did two years ago.

For those who missed the first episode of the show, you can download team profile videos from the Xbox Live Marketplace for free. Check your local listings for show times, and be sure to catch the next episode.

Strategy Guide Updates
I meant to post this a week ago, but my copies of my strategy guide for Lost Planet finally arrived. If you are playing Lost Planet and need help with the game or want to know where every last Target Marker is, then shoot me an email at the address at requesting a guidebook and I'll send one out to you.

I also recently authored the guidebook for MLB 2K7 which I'm very excited about. There are all sorts of neat features in this book (not to mention, thanks to the player stats and ratings chapters the manuscript exceeded 800 pages!) and the game is definitely the best baseball videogame to date. One of the features I'm most excited about is the ability to set up a custom league over Xbox Live and play a tournament with friends. I'll be buying the game tomorrow -- look for me online. I'll also have copies of the strategy guide to give away once my shipment arrives. I have no ETA on that yet, however.

In other news, my current project is for a PS2 game and, just as my two personal PS2's died last year, so did the one I'm using for work. So now I'm in a holding pattern waiting on another debug PS2 to arrive. Which is part of the reason why I have been able to play as much MotoGP 06 as I have of late.

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