SBK-07: Superbike World Championship PS2 Review

If you aren’t a player who can keep your vehicle on the track on many racing simulators, then an officially licensed game of Superbikes may not sound particularly appealing. SBK 07 is however a game that opens its generous doors up and invites two very different audiences to hop onto some very fast bikes.

Don’t be fooled by anything that the title suggests, as SBK 07 is a title that an entry level racing game player can get on with, whilst the more confident amongst us can be presented with a game that demands some serious riding ability. It’s highly customisable as well, which means you can dilute or increase the realism, and tailor everything to your needs.

So, when it comes to racing you can choose arcade or the heavy and demanding simulation mode. The arcade handling has all the assists turned on by default, whilst simulation may very well see you tumbling from your bike on more than one occasion if you don’t understand the science of these speed machines.

Options range from the obvious championship mode, a two-player split-screen mode (complete with a number of AI bikes!) to the more unexpected inclusion of a challenge mode. The former allows you to take part in full racing weekends on 11 real life tracks (including the world famous Silverstone, Donnington and Brands Hatch amongst others), giving you the opportunity to practice and qualify before revving up for the race, and this is certain to please Superbike fans, although practicing and qualifying aren‘t mandatory tasks and can be skipped if you so wish. The challenge mode meanwhile presents you with a number of tasks to focus on including passing a number of bikes, beating the clock and so on. When you are tired of the racing or just fancy a change then this mode should suit you just fine.

The manner in which you unlock bonuses is notable, as meeting certain criteria allows you to flip over some cards. In the Championship mode for example, you earn the opportunity to select a single card for finishing third, two for coming in second and the maximum three for managing a victory in each of the races. Obviously, like a Kinder Egg toy, you never know what you are going to get, with bonuses ranging from photos of the flesh flashing umbrella girls (whom also fill the loading screens) to new riders. One of the most interesting extras is the addition of ghosts of the development staff for you to race against, and yes, if you manage to beat them all you’ll have the right to be smug for life!

Being on the PS2 and having so many polygons to push around means that compromises have had to be made with the graphics, resulting in lower detail. Things are still far from shoddy though. A notable graphical detail is the physics when you tumble from your bike, which look suitably excellent, especially in the midst of a major pileup.

SBK 07 is a sturdy simulation, although as the game can also be played as a less demanding racer, it’s a game with an inviting appeal for a wide audience. Superbike fans will love it, whilst those with any interest in two-wheeled racing games should also hop onto a bike for a ride.