G1 Jockey 2008 PS3 Review

I don’t know how it happened, but I have reviewed just about every horse based game for this site over the last few years. I don’t even like horses that much and I hardly ever put a bet on any races, so this does not make much sense. On top of all this I think Seabiscuit was one of the most asinine films ever, but still, I end up getting my hands on these games, and for the most part find something to enjoy about them. However, after some solid time with G1 Jockey 4 2008 it may be fair to say that that my love affair with these games could be over, as this time, after I put down the controller, I came away with an intense unfulfilled feeling.

You start off the game right at the bottom – in a jockey school. Not is not a insult to jockey schools by the way, so don’t contact OFCOM and complain. At this point you are horseless, and must learn everything (and I stress everything) you need to know about jockeying. This is very much the equivalent of earning licences in the likes of Gran Turismo, as the game won’t reward you until you learn how to do each task to the best of you ability. Another Turismo-alike feature of the game would be that it is very much a sim experience, with a large portion of the game needing attention beofre you race. This involves rummaging though a selection of races to find the best for you, reading a lot of stat screens, and studying a large selection of information about upcoming races.

This all sounds great, as there is nothing wrong with the game revelling in being a horseracing sim, and in my opinion all of the best sports games have a learning curve. However, in truth that curve is far too steep. More so, the bigger problem comes when you are asked to perform the moves you’ve learned during a race – which involves using every single one of the buttons on the controller in some way. Doing so is nigh on impossible, as the controls are very fiddly, and always seem to fight against you. If you can envision rubbing you belly, patting your head, and trying to play the at the same time you can image how awkward a task it is.

In terms of visuals, if you were to compare the game to others racer on the PS3, which is the closest comparable genre seeing as a horse racing game is in a field of its own, then you are going to come away disappointed. Everything about the game seems grainy, with all objects having oddly shaped unsightly pointed edges, with supposed organic object having more right angles than the box the game came in. Furthermore, just about everything in the game has hideous low poly textures. In truth the game would not even impress if it was on the PS2, with its mix of dull, drab and dreary colours in conjunction with the rest of its mediocrity. Menus are not much to talk about either, but thankfully they are serviceable, and at least a few steps off working on a computer running DOS.

But all in all there is just not much to like here, and that’s the biggest problems the game has. The main story/career mode is in no any way interesting, and unless you are very determined you’ll struggle to make it more than a few hours into it. What’s more, the game more or less forces you to play it for many tedious hours to learn all its little eccentricities before you can be successful, and to be bluntly honest G1 Jockey 4 2008 is no where near entertaining enough to invest that that amount of time in.

I am sure there is an audience that will love this game, and will have some solid fun with it. However, that audience – no matter how niche it may be – deserve a better game to accurately represent their hobby. Right now this version seems to have the lowest production values you can possibly have for a PS3 title, and that, in conjunction with the game’s many other problems, is not going to please anyone in the long run.

4 out of 10