Game Name: SBK X SuperBike World Championship
Platforms: Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Publisher: Southpeak Games
Developer: Deep Silver
Release Date: June 7th 2010 (EU), Dec 7th 2010 (US)
Price: $39.99 (US)
ESRB/PEGI rating: E10+/3
Pre Order the game HERE (US)
I find it totally odd that SBK X came out in europe on June 7th yet, the US release date is six months later. If you are into simulation racing, you are most likley playing that other game that came out recently with 1000 cars in it. Have you noticed that game has little to no Speed cycles or Superbikes in it? That is where SBK X comes in. Its touch of realism is nice and refreshing compared to the other well known Motorcycle game, Moto GT.
Most if not all simulation racers do not have a story so lets move on to what counts, the gameplay.
This is the heart and soul of racing games. SBK X does very well in this factor. It has two modes that change the gameplay. Arcade and Simulation mode. Arcade is quite easy and very fun. This is the mode to choose if you have friends over that want to get stuck into some arcade action without the difficulty of a racing sim. Arcade mode is really easy to pick up and play. Using the X button to “Boost” on Straight-a-ways involving alot of screen blurring.
Simulation mode is main course of the game. It is the only way you can play story mode. In story mode you pick a team to ride with and take on the SBK curcuit. Any real racer knows that it isn’t what’s on the outside of the car or bike but its what is under the hood and how the car or bike is personalized to the driver. That is what this game is all about. You don’t get to pick the make, model, or colors of your bikes. All of that is chosen when you pick your team. What you get to choose is a extensive mode of options that tweak your bike to the way you want to ride it and what is best for the track.
In story mode a few rounds of practice are given before the actual race, this is where you get used to the track and tune the bike accordingly. If the track is more curvy, then the bike needs to be tuned to be more reactive and more toward the acceleration side. Alot of straight lines? more on top speed and less reactive. You have your engineer to rely on when you do not know how to tune your bike. It is almost like going to the doctors. Tell him where it hurts and he will try and fix it. If you want the bike more attuned to yourself though, you will learn to tune it yourself. There are alot of options and it can get confusing but a tips button helps out. Gear ratios, suspension tunings, chain tension, even the kind of tires you put on can be changed. All can be tweaked to provide an overall change in the bike or just a specific change. For example if the bike skids and slides a bit when you come out of a turn you can do a couple things. Raise the suspension on the back and lower the front, lower the tension on the chain, or lower the gear ratio. It shocked me how a simple tune this or that way can change the way the bike handles completely. Sometimes though it is just the rider that needs work. Once you get the bike to where you want it, it is essential to ride it and get a feel for it. If you jump into a race with a fresh tuned bike and have no idea how it handles it could cost you the race. I enjoyed tuning my bike to perfection on each track then racing against the CPU.
One gripe I have with it though, is it just throws you in the pot with no instruction. No tutorial for driving or buttons. You just have to feel it out until you get the hang of things. In a game like this where every detail counts, a tutorial is almost essential. Especially to a new comer like me. This takes away from the experience some but it quickly gains it back. Sadly there is little to none online community. Maybe because I have the game before everyone else in the US, but this was a let down.
Audio and Visual
If a game promotes itself a simulation it has to look the part too. SBK X did real well in this department. No real glitches or frame rate drops I could see. The tracks look realistic as well as the bikes. Very detailed and accurate. Every engine sounds unique. It has a nice soundtrack if you like rock. Not very expansive when it comes to the music but, if you do like rock then it is good. I like the way the screen blurs when you are going high speed. Rain looks very well done also. The terrain was a bit lacking. It looked fairly bland. I did not notice too many trees or shrubs but that isn’t too much of a gripe as long as the tracks looked as close to 1:1 as possible.
A very solid racing game. I have never heard of SBK or even the pro motorcycle racing was even out there. Being a fan of sim racing though I had alot of fun with it. It is pure motorcycle racing – you tweak the bike to each track, ride it, if you do not like it then tweak it differently. It is all about the bike and shouldn’t that really be what all racing games should be about ? If only the visual options on your bike were more abundant and little more bikes and tracks were put into the game. Also a little more variety of music would have helped also.
SBK X Superbike World Championship gets