My latest game review is a bit of a departure from my normal stuff. Every review I have done in the past revolved some type of car racing game like Forza, F1, etc. However a rep from Namco Bandai games reached out to me about a new motocross game they developed called “MUD”.
Nostalgic thoughts of Excitebike made me jump at the chance to play a motocross racing game. Keep in mind I am being literal when I say that as Excitebike was the last motocross racing game I ever played! So did MUD capture my childhood memories? Was it an enjoyable experience that I can recommend to strangers I see on the street because I was so over come with joy?
In short: not quite. I did have fun with the game but not in the way I think the developer intended. See what I mean by watching my review below.
DISCLAMER: I played this game on Xbox 360. It is also available for Playstation 3 and PS Vita (as digital download). Please note that I DID NOT play online mutliplayer as during the time of my review there were internet issues which prevented me from connecting to Xbox Live. This review strictly deals with single player modes.
If you like to race you know that there is nothing worse than the times when you are NOT racing. We try to get our fix by playing games like Forza Motorsport 4 to take the edge off but even then we still can’t quite get the level of realism we want with the standard controller in our hands. Steering with your thumb on an analog stick is nice but it just is not quite the same as holding a wheel in your hands. For an added touch of realism you may want to put Fanatec’s Forza Motorsport CSR wheel on your gift list this year. With up to 900 degrees of rotation, top of the line forcefeed back motors and high resolution steering input sensors this is one of the best steering virtual steering wheels you can get right now and the $249 price tag reflects that. There is also a shifter set and aluminum pedal set available to go with your wheel as well. The full package with the wheels, shifter set, and pedals will run you about $459. While that seems like an astronomical price this set up is pretty high quality, plus there is the added bonus of Playstation 3 compatibility. Before this wheel, consumers had to buy a wheel for their Xbox 360 and a wheel for their PS3. So in a way you are actually getting two-wheels in one. If you want to see everything you get in the package check out our unboxing video. Then add this wheel to your gift list this year or consider it as a gift for the gearhead in your life!
We were lucky enough to be among the first to get our hands on the new Fanatec Forza Motorsport 4 wheel, pedals, and shifter to test along with our review copy of Forza Motorsport 4. The funny thing is the wheel showed up before the game did! So, we decided to do a good ol’ fashioned unboxing video so you can see what you get when you pre-order the set up. We figured since it was a special occasion it was a good time to dawn our 80s-licious driving gloves we got for free when we were invited to a pre-screening of the movie “Driver”. In case you are wondering, the free gloves were the best part of the movie, but we digress..
The first thing we noticed when we opened up the wheel was how light it was. After using it at E3 we were expecting the wheel to feel heavy with all the hardware in it but it was very light weight. We were also pleasantly surprised to find genuine alcantara swatches on either side of the wheel for added grip. Classy!
Second we opened up the shifter set and we were surprised to find that you actually get not one but two shifter attachments! One is a sequential style shifter and the other is a full 6-speed H-pattern shifter with reverse. We like options! Both shifters also had some real heft. We are thinking that is probably due to their construction. Also the H-pattern shifter is slightly larger than the sequential. The only negative to the shifters is that they are both quite loud and clicky, we know that may annoy some but there are others who may not mind at all.
Finally we opened the “Elite” pedal set. The first thing we noticed is that it is really heavy! We realized right away that the weight comes from some pretty heavy duty metal construction. It also appears to be highly adjustable as well. Users can swap the pivot points of the pedals to the top for a more realistic feel and they can also adjust their positioning as well. Finally there is a small knob behind the brake pedal to adjust sensitivity. It is pretty easy to see that the “Elite” set is for the serious simulation racer.
If you are interested in this gear all the parts you will see in the unboxing video are available for pre-order now. The wheel is a fair $249.95 and the shifter set is $59.95, the Elite pedal set goes for $149.95. You can pick up all three pieces of gear for a package price of $459.85.
If you find yourself trying to justify spending that much on simulator gear take comfort in the fact that the wheel, pedals, and shifter are all cross platform compatible. That means they will work on the PC or your Playstation 3. So in a way it is like getting three wheels in one! See, that softens the blow a bit does it not?
Since we did not get our review copy of Forza Motorsport 4 yet we have not attached this set to our Playseat rig yet. We were a little bummed that both did not come at the same time but on the bright side it gives us a chance to figure out if there will be any compatibility issues with hooking up this set to the Playseat Forza Motorsport 3 rig. If you do not already have a Playseat and want to pick one up before you get Forza then we reccomend buying the Forza Motorsport 4 Edition Playseat as it was designed with the Fanatec set-up in mind.
Each part of what you see unboxed is available now for pre-order at Fanatec.com. The CSR wheel will set you back $249.95, the CSR Elite pedal set will go for about $149.95, and the shifter set will cost $59.95 or you can buy the whole bundle for $459.85. While that does sound pricy the MSRP is justified by the fact that all the components are cross-platform compatible. That means you can use this set up on your Playstation 3 and your PC so in a way it is like getting three set-ups in one. Depending on your ability to weild the sword of logic that fact may soften the financial blow a bit.
As I stated earlier we have not set up this rig yet as we are waiting for our review copy of Forza Motorsport 4 so stay tuned for our full review of the Fanatec Forza Motorsport 4 CSR set up and Forza Motorsport 4 soon! For now click on the thumbnails above for detail shots of the Fanatec set up and scroll below for the official unboxing video featuring the debut of the awesome “driver” gloves…
According to the G4 TV news ticker the Forza Motorsport 4 demo will be hitting Xbox live on October 3rd, about a week before the game is slated to release. There is nothing on the Forza website to officially confirm this but we would not be surprised if this report turned out to be true. Stay tuned to MotorworldHype tomorrow for an interview with Dan Greenawalt, new screen shots, and new info on Forza Motorsport 4
UPDATE: We have confirmed that the Forza Motorsport 4 demo will in fact be released on Xbox Live on October 3rd. We have more info on the demo coming up in our exclusive interview with Forza Motorsport 4 Executive Producer Dan Greenawalt. Stay tuned!
In the fourth and final Development Diary for Codemasters F1 2011 we get some insight on the highly anticipated Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Safety Car and how some of the other new functions such as KERS and DRS will change the gameplay. We also learn how tire dynamics will change and have an even bigger impact on race strategy than they did in F1 2011. With all the competition and strategically based realism changes that are going into F1 2011 it is starting to look like being good at F1 2010 won’t mean much! By the way, we think that’s a good thing! Stay tuned for our full review of F1 2011 coming soon!
The new Co-Op Championship Mode is arguably the biggest change in Codemasters’ F1 2011 from 2010. In Co-Op mode you and your friend can race on the same team as you battle for the constructors’ championship. However, you and your buddy are still in contention for the drivers championship as well. As it goes who ever is getting the faster lap times and winning races will become the team’s #1 driver and get all the upgrades first!
In the third development diary for F1 2011 Stephen Hood and Paul Jeal of Codemasters will tell you all about what you can expect from this new gameplay mode.
F1 2011 by Codemasters will hit stores at the end of this month and earlier this morning we got to join in on a conference call with Chief Game Designer Stephen Hood for a few last minute questions courtesy of Forty Seven communications. Here is a quick break-down of what we talked about:
The first thing we asked about was the addition of the Safety Car. we wanted to know what were the hurdles, if any that the team had to jump over to get the car in the game. According to Stephen there were a few roads that needed to be crossed as far as licensing with Formula One and with Mercedes Benz. In fact the team was already certain on including the Saftey Car weeks before it was announced, but they had to wait for the green light from both Formula 1 and Mercedes before they could make the announcement at Gamescom last month. Besides that they also wanted to be positive that they could implement the Safety Car in such a way that it would genuinely add to the game play experience instead of adding it in just to say that it was in.
Online Multiplayer Events
With games such as Madden and Modern Warfare there are sometimes online tournaments and other events such as double XP weekends. We asked if there were plans to do anything similar with F1 2011. The short answer is “maybe”. Stephen definitely has interest in organizing things like that for the players and the Codemasters team is already putting their heads together on possible online mutliplayer events but it is likely that we probably won’t see anything like this until F1 2012. Provided that Formula One gives the ok, there might even be events where players can race against the “ghost” of the real drivers based on their result from an event. For example trying to beat the total race time of Sebastien Vettel after his victory at a given track.
Forza Motorsport 4 and F1 2012
Time was running short at this point so we asked a double whammy of two quick questions. First, we asked Stephen what his thoughts were on Forza Motorsport 4 (coming out next month) and if he saw that game as competition for F1 2011. After some good natured ribbing Stephen admitted that he does not see Forza as direct competition for F1 2011 because each game is offering its own unique experience. As Stephen explains it, F1 2011 is for F1 fans and anyone who wants to try their hand at racing an F1 car while Forza is more about the car ownership and modification experience and lifestyle. We would have to concur on that.
Finally we asked if development has already begun on F1 2012. At this point there has not been any hard coding or design work done but F1 2012 is already in the conceptual phase and the team is already talking about what they want to add to the next installment but it is way to early to get any confirmed details.
And there we have it! Our last minute prod to the Chief Game Designer on what we can expect for F1 2011 and future games. If you haven’t done so already we would suggest you hit up Best Buy, Gamestop, or Amazon to pre-order your copy of F1 2012 before the first batch gets sold out! If you still need more convincing then stay tuned for our review!
The guys at Codemasters Birmingham have just released the first official gameplay trailer for F1 2011! Despite the video showing “work in progress” shots you can still immediately see the increase in detail of the environments, cars, and people over F1 2010 just like we mentioned in our first report on the new F1 game. We can’t wait to get our hands on this game again. We are hearing that there may be a possible U.S. promotional tour for the F1 2011 next month and we are already bugging the Codemasters team for an invite. You will be sure that if we get in we will bring you as much new info as possible on F1 2011 but in the meantime scroll down and enjoy the new trailer and new screen shots!
In our new segment “Talkin’ Cars” we got to know the car guy inside Forza Motorsport 4 producer John Wendl. What does the guy behind one of the best racing games in the world like to drive? What was his first car? What does he drive when he is playing Forza? All of that gets answered here! Check it out.
Every year when we go to E3 we search the show floor for cool games and gadgets that gear heads would love. Last year we fell in love with the Forza Motorsport 3 edition Playseat, this year we paid a visit to Playseatagain and were happy to see that they are going to follow up with a new Forza Motorsport 4 edition seat, complete with a few changes. To help go over all the changes on the new seat we had Trevor from Playseat America walk us through it. Just scroll down for pics and Trevor’s walkthrough of the Forza Motorsport 4 edition Playseat.