G1 Jockey 4 2008 PS3 Review

Who would have thought that riding a racehorse could be so difficult? It looks easy enough from the outside, although as Koei’s series has shown us, it takes a lot of skill to finish a race in front of the pack. By now, you probably have come to the conclusion whether this game is deserving of your attention or not, although if you’re not a fan of horse racing and are just looking for something unique, G1 Jockey is certainly very different from anything else out there.

Firstly, don’t expect to be riding beautiful looking horses through amazing looking environments, as G1  would be comfortable on the PS2 as far as visuals are concerned. A plus point is the animation, particularly of the running horses, although where the plusses start is where the plusses end.

The extensive tutorial provides you with the insight of just how deep of a game G1 Jockey actually is. There’s so much to take in that, if you’re new to the series, and your brain doesn’t absorb as much information as you want it to, then you’ll likely be finding yourself repeating visits to this excellent tutorial. If you’re a first timer you’ll have to put your heart and soul into picking up the skills of a jockey and how to get the horse under your spell (by cruelly whipping it nonetheless).

Motivation, speed, stamina and potential are all things that need to be taken into consideration as your horse thunders along the grass. On screen information gives you feedback on all of these things and by using these circular meters, it’s then up to you to make the horse work, being mindful as to not tire it out too early. It’s all complicated stuff but dedication does eventually pay off and the player that will stick with it will be the player that will be delighted with each new success that comes their way.

There’s three control configurations, two of which make use of the buttons, whilst the third allows you to use SIXAXIS motion control. True, the SIXAXIS was never going to emulate the reigns of a horse as well as the Wii’s remote and nunchuck managed on G1 Jockey Wii, controlling various actions of the horse, with simple movements from the PS3 pad, is still satisfying enough and works as well as I would have hoped.

The main story mode is as deep as the game itself with you beginning as a rookie jockey and making a name for yourself as you begin to show your cruel talents. In this mode it’s possible to mould a foal into a winning racehorse, a task that is more satisfying than simply being offered a racing-ready steed by a trainer, which is your only option in the early stages of the story.

In conclusion, there’s so many horses with different stats and so many things to pick up that for a new player to the series it may just be too much to ingest, thus only the truly dedicated will stick with it. It therefore has to be said, that for some G1 Jockey 4 2008 will be very difficult to get on with. Horse racing games were always going to be an acquired taste, but if you are patient, focussed and view racing games without engines as acceptable, then you’ll find plenty to like here.