Americans should import this for their PS3. Best SBK game since SBK 2001 on PC.
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Let me begin by just saying that this is definitely without a doubt the best SBK game since SBK 2001 on PC (which is what I started out on back in the day).
Everything from the physics, bike handling, graphics, sound, track detail, and menus have been reworked and improved. The main menu is now reminiscent of the Dirt games, with some cool 3D effects and your custom rider and bike rendered in the background. There is also a trippy psytrance background song for the menu, which I really like, but then again I have a thing for trippy electronic music. See the following screenshot I took to check out the new main menu:
There is an all new photo mode, which allows you to freeze the action at any time (during races or replays) and get down and dirty with the camera. You can make some really cool screenshots - it seems to have been designed well. You can also export them to the XMB (and thus make them wallpapers), or upload them to sbkthegame.com for all to see and rate. See the following examples for some screenshots I took in photo mode:
From sbkthegame.com, you can share your screenshots/profile (which displays your online race statistics and ranking) on Facebook, etc. Pretty nifty indeed. See the following example of what your profile page looks like:
That is my profile of course. It's nice to be able to check the website for your online stats and leaderboard rankings at any time. Online play is up to 16 in one room/race, and I was able to test out some 16 player rooms and the majority of it was lag free. That is pretty impressive considering I'm in America playing against Europeans and whoever else has the game. You can play Quick Race or Championship online. To get to a room you have your typical Quick Match, Custom Match (allowing you to view all rooms), and Create Match. Once you get in a room you can select your Team/Bike/Rider and ready up. After the race, everyone returns from the room so you can go again on the same track immediately, or the host can choose another track/rules. Again, online play was smooth (and I'm in Texas), and there were plenty of rooms to join. So there is a community, although they may be far away, the lag was minimal and everyone I raced against raced clean...not that accidents didn't happen. :) Collisions are able to be toggled by the host, as well as difficulty level (low-sim, medium-sim, full-sim),. track, number of laps, weather, max players (up to 16), AI (on/off), damage, tire wear, and privacy (public/private).
The ability to create a custom rider returns, with your ability to choose a face out of 20 or so options. You can also set your height (which actually makes your rider grow/shrink accordingly) in centimeters, your country of origin (yes, USA is selectable), your DOB, your rider number, your helmet (you start with 5 - unlock around 15 more), visor color, etc. I wouldn't go as far as to say your rider will look unique because you cannot change your leathers/suit colors or type or any of that jazz. Not that it really should matter anyways, since you are riding for sponsored teams after all. And in case you are wondering, the details on the bikes look great.
There is also a SBK Tour mode which I haven't tried yet. Other modes include Quick Race, Career, Multiplayer, Time Attack, Championship, Race Weekend, Photo Gallery (here you can view your photos, export to the XMB, or upload online), and Extras (contains Gallery, and Credits). And of course there is an Options menu.
The gameplay has seen tweaks. I won't go into technical things here since I don't really ride in real life (yet...maybe in a few years when I turn 30, lol). But riding the bike around feels GREAT in Full Sim mode. It is perhaps a LITTLE easier than Full-Sim in SBK 08/09 (North America), which to me isn't a negative. On Full-Sim, you still have to be extremely mindful with the throttle and brakes while taking into consideration your lean angle, etc. One mistake and your eating asphalt. You can hi-side and lo-side you bike easily if not careful (which I've done plenty of times). Moving down to Medium and Low sim provide more and more grip and make it harder to fall off your bike or lose control, which means even people that haven't played SBK before should be able to hang on (if even only by using Low-Sim). There are bumps in certain places of the track where it will affect your bike handling, and the track also "evolves" as you race. This means that as more laps are put down between you and other riders, it will "rubber" up on the common racing line and you will find slightly more grip there. The track will also "dry out" in wet conditions (read further for details on that). Alas, if I had to pick one thing to niggle about in SBK 2011's handling tweaks I would say that the rear brake feels a little weak. But on the upside, you no longer have to mash the brakes for so long to slow down before a turn. It feels like what I would guess to be proper in a real sport bike. You definitely still have to allow braking time, for sure, it just isn't as ridiculous now.
(My two previous posts regarding graphics and sounds went kaput and there is no way I'm re-typing all of that. So just take my word when I say the graphics are improved all around with 3D fans littering the stands and around certain turns, the tracks realistic and detailed, the bikes are spot on and the sound is amazing being sampled from the real bikes - only downside is no 5.1 and opponent bikes could be louder)
I wouldn't hesitate to import this for your PS3 if you are into the SBK or MotoGP games, or bikes in general.
There is NO PLANNED RELEASE DATE for SBK 2011 in North America. I emailed Black Bean about it before I imported it and that was there response. It may one day arrive, but most likely will be sometime next year. Why wait when you can import it for the same price and race online today? :) Don't forget your PS3 can play games from other regions (in this case, PAL Region 2 I believe), with full online functionality.
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