SBK’07 – Superbike World Championship PS2

Milestone, the creators of the well-received Superbike games 7 years ago, make a return and are developing a new Superbike title across 4 formats – PS2, PSP, PC and Xbox 360. There’s not a myriad of games in this racing genre niche so it’s not surprising a contender has stepped up to challenge of THQ’s MotoGP.

Surprisingly for a new foray into the mainstream market this game it comes awash with the World Superbike Championship license, so you can expect real world riders, bikes and venues; which for many fans is often an essential buying factor. For added incentive some teams and riders are locked initially, so you’ll have to play through the game for them to become available. It’s always a battle to keep up-to-date with the latest riders for each team so to appease fans hopefully online updates will be provided for the full Xbox 360 and PC versions, or alternatively a way to manually edit the teams, to add to the longevity.

There’s a full selection of real-life tracks and ones such as Silverstone are instantly recognisable. Following the racing line makes a big difference to your times, as does breaking correctly; probably the element hardest to master, along with the leaning technique. As is the case with most racing sims it takes longer to learn the track layouts when compared to the likes of Mario Kart, due to the absence of recognisable track side dangers, e.g. fireballs and the like. Thankfully there are no blue shells so races are determined purely on skill factor.

As you can tell from the screenshots there won’t be any Road Rash chain wielding antics on show, but their aim is to deliver a thrilling, accessible and engaging racing experience for fans of the racing genre. Their hope is to appeal to both casual racing fans and real bike enthusiasts by including both arcade and simulation modes of play. Both feature the same modes of play including: quick race, full race weekend, time attack, take part in pre-set challenges, and lastly for the wannabe pros, experience a full championship season. You can also choose the difficulty to play at and at lower levels most people should be able to enjoy the experience without any natural bike skills. On harder difficulties on simulation mode you will be in for a very tough challenge with frequent falling off.

By PS2 standards, graphically the game is nice to look at and the attention to brand detail on the bikes is clear for all to see. There’s a suitable selection of camera angles available, allowing you to choose the easier 3rd person perspective or opt for the 1st person for greater speed sensation. On the menu there’s a rock themed soundtrack, which is fitting.

To add depth to the game there’s differing weather conditions, bike damage, type wear and customisable gear and break settings.

If you’re a motorbike fan this game is going to be worth your while, as for more casual racing fans, stay tuned for our full review. SBK’07 – Superbike World Championship is due for release on PS2 & PSP Q1 2007 and PC & Xbox 360 Q4 2007.