Release: December 7, 2010
Available Platforms: Xbox 360, PS3, PC
MSRP: $39.99 US (Xbox & PS3), $29.99 US (PC)
ESRB Rating: E 10+ (Lyrics, Mild Suggestive Themes)
SBK X puts you in the helmet of a Superbike Champion trying to make his way to the top. Cram packed with options and features, Milestone has something here for everyone – but that just might be the downfall of this title. Auto racing enthusiasts can put aside everything they know about handling cars because this is nothing like it – Superbike racing is about subtlety and nuance – not power sliding around curves and trading paint.
This game is crammed full of bikes and riders with over 90 fully licensed actual riders and their bikes spanning three classes; Superstock, WSS and SBK. The Legends Pack DLC that is included with the full game allows you to race against additional Superbike legends Carl Fogerty, Max Biaggi, Lorenzo Lanzi, Akira Yanagawa and many more.
While focused on realistic racing simulation, SBK X can be toned down in Arcade Mode for less experienced riders, until they get the hang of riding superbikes. When ready, dive into simulation mode that opens up everything from pre-race engine tuning to collecting and analyzing telemetry data in technical meetings.
There are so many ways to play this game – Arcade mode, Simulation mode, Multiplayer, Career mode, Story mode then throw in the options for Quick Race, Time Attack, Quick Championship, etc. – There’s a ton of variety. The options to adjust the game are just as plentiful allowing every detail to be tweaked to the player’s whim. Everything is a factor – from the rider’s weight, weather, track conditions, tire wear, health of the rider, condition of the bike, and the ability to adjust nearly every nut and bolt on the bike.
With all this depth spread across so many areas of the game, I can’t help but think that as a novice I am missing out on a large part of this game. I tried the simulation mode many times and just could not keep the bike on the track – or the rider on the bike. While I’m certain that there are Superbike enthusiasts that will love the simulation mode, it didn’t do anything for me.
The multiplayer mode would expectedly be where this game would shine – blazing around the track with fifteen other players. While I understand this is very early in the game’s release, I was never able to find other arcade races online – or get anyone to join the ones I created. There were players out there in simulation mode, but not many. The biggest disappointment here is the absence of local split screen multiplayer.
Even in arcade mode, this game is difficult and frustrating for the novice. The drive line on the track is green when you can increase speed, yellow when you are at the perfect speed and red if you are going too fast for a corner. The problem is, when relying on this info, it doesn’t allow you any time to adjust. If the line is red going into a curve, you are probably going to leave the track, and any variation from the optimum drive line costs dearly. My advice is just turn the drive line off in options. I found my performance jumped quite a lot when I relied on my instincts instead of the drive line.
In Story Mode, button selection for choices are inconsistent. For example, in a race you will have 3 levels of success you can achieve receiving more reputation points the better you do. If you do not meet any of the three goals you fail. At the end of the race you can choose to retry the race or accept and move on – but these buttons change depending on if you succeeded or failed. It’s a small but frustrating detail.
SBK X is not a bad game, but from a novice standpoint, it’s not a great game either. I’m sure that with enough time invested I would get better and be able to compete, but for those looking for a “jump in and race” game – this is not it. Expect to invest a lot of time to master this one. For the hardcore Superbike racing enthusiast, this game is certainly worth a look – and I’m sure there will be many reviews out there that will dissect the simulation details of this game that were lost on me.
- Over 90 licensed riders and bikes
- Wide variety and depth of game play
- No local multiplayer
- Even arcade mode is difficult
- Inconsistent user interface
Final Score: 6 out of 10