Ducati World Championship Review for PC
Welcome to the world of motorcycle racing, Ducati style.
Distributed by Strategy First, Ducati World Championship is the second Ducati game, the first being Ducati World Racing Challenge back in 2001. Can Ducati World Championship compete with the latest and greatest video games? Not exactly.
You are immediately presented with a simplistic menu design, which doesn’t even utilize a mouse. After a quick pass through the setup to set the graphics to the highest quality, our first race was underway. The benefit of the simple menu design is that selecting a race and a biker is fairly easy and you can be at the starting line in less than a minute.
Before you hit the throttle, make sure you read the controls first. They aren’t the conventional arrow key race controls you are probably used to. Our first race led to a quick disappointment, as we were quickly fooled by the controls and had to scramble to find the accelerator. Got a good start!
Graphically, Ducati World Championship doesn’t appear to be a next-generation game. For a game released in 2007 the graphics are very uninspired and unimpressive. Bikes are detailed, but just enough to get by, tracks are open and bland and the fans cheering you on in the stands look like they came from a mid 90’s racing game. Little details such as dirt flying up on to the screen and rain effects are a nice touch, but just aren’t enough to compete with modern games. Where is the WOW factor?
The game easily holds steady frame rates and slow down was never experienced, most likely due to the lack of graphical details. Each track has its own specific feel, but they still feel bland and generic. As expected Ducati World Championship features many different camera angles, so you can enjoy the ride. However, very few of the views are useable to race. The ‘behind the bike’ was our ultimate pick as using the 1st person motorcycle view proved to be nearly impossible – a choppy, bouncy and hard to control camera view was not a good experience
Perhaps the game’s best feature is the huge amount of Ducati bikes to choose from. Each group of bikes is separated into different classes, ranging from classic all the way to racing bikes, with sport, and super bikes (SBK) in between. Each class has its benefits and its downfalls, and each is accentuated by the games controls and physics.
Starting off with the classics, best recommended for beginners, the race felt slow and easy to control. You could easily learn the style and technique needed in order to win, but an overall lack of speed sensation quickly made us want to move on to a higher class.
Next up is the sport bike class, Motorcyle.com’s personal favorite, featuring a good combination of speed and control. We found ourselves using the sport bike class the most, as it gave us the top spots on the podium and the game was starting to become fun and enjoyable, despite the other downfalls.
The super bike and racing bike classes completely take away from the game and only served to highlight the downfalls. Multiple races were lost and restarted with frustration and anger as the game proved to hinder us from enjoying it. The more speed you gain the tougher the bike is to control. We found ourselves speeding past opponents only to come into a corner and hit another rider that could crowd the corner and not let us pass.
This brings out yet another huge flaw - the crash detection system. Bike passes, which seemingly look clean, leave you bouncing off bikes if they get too close and you are sent flying like a pinball into the gravel. If you are trying to squeeze around a crowded corner, knee on the ground and passing the pack for the lead, you can easily get sent flying into the dirt. When you do crash, the bike and the biker are sent flying like a rag doll in an unrealistic manner - no cool factor on these crashes.
Sound effects in the game are simple, uninspired and do just enough to get by. Also, the game’s soundtrack is simple rock music - it’s there but it won’t be sticking in your head and we were quick to shut it off.
The game has a few major pluses, but it just doesn’t have the polish needed to make it a quality game. Ducati World Championship features a wide array of tracks with selectable weather (rain or sun), numerous bikes and customization. Lasting appeal and fun is extended with a Challenge portion of the game, featuring such challenges as wheelies, endos and race competitions.
In the end the game would have succeeded if it had polished up on its physics engine. With an embarrassing crash system and frustrating opponent AI that must follow a solid race line on each track, the game will make you want to stop playing before you want to play it some more.
|Gameplay||5 / 10|
|Audio||5.5 / 10|
|Lasting Appeal||5 / 10|
|Overall Score||5.25 / 10|