Let’s get this out of the way: last year’s SBK game was disappointing. Get over it. Since then, developers Milestone worked on the impressive MotoGP 08 for Capcom, and now they’ve taken things on again with SBK 09 for Black Bean.
The controls are suitably demanding, depending on the level of realism you choose, with options to suit hardcore masochists after an extreme simulation with manual gears, right down to an idiot-friendly ‘cuddle-me’ mode that makes it almost impossible for the girlfriend to crash.
The riding is convincing, especially from the rider’s camera. You’ll feel the rear spin up under power, the front lofting over crests and yes, you can highside big style. Depending on how clever you make them, the other riders offer a decent challenge, and the racing gets tense as you storm from the back of the pack to take the flag.
The graphics are better than before, while still nothing to shout about, and at least they’ve spent some time on the presentation this time around. In gameplay terms, the numerous warm-up, practice and qualifying sessions are tedious, but accurate if you want to experience the full race weekend.
While SBK 09 still isn’t a game you’d recommend to fans of the racing genre without an interest in bikes, if you’re a biker looking for a racing game, this is the best there is.