Champion Jockey: G1 Jockey & Gallop Racer
Tecmo KOEI Games
Released: November 2011
Back on the original Sony Playstation and PS2, Tecmo and KOEI filled a void for gamers, releasing quality horse racing experiences in both the G1 Jockey and Gallop Racer franchises. Tecmo KOEI has return to fill the void yet again, releasing Champion Jockey, a combination of both franchises, on the PS3 and Nintendo Wii in the U.S.
The Gallop Racer and G1 Jockey releases, for those who played them on the PlayStation and PS2, were very sim-oriented. The games were always designed with the belief being that gamers who purchased them, were real fans of horse racing.
This carries over to Champion Jockey on the Sony PS3 as well as the Nintendo Wii.
The main action here is the inclusion of the story mode, which puts you in the role of a jockey, getting into things right from the start of your career.
The idea is to take a jockey, and go through the whole lifestyle, choosing a stable owner whom you will ride for, negotiating races, talking with other jockeys, earning stats, breeding horses, etc.
The simulation aspect comes in purchasing horses whom you will then be able to breed down the line, and maintain a successful stable as your horses age and are forced to retire.
Scheduling races is no easy task either, as you must be sure you are placing your horse in races where they have the best chance to succeed, in terms of class, race length, track type, etc.
You also have the option of training horses and such in-between races if you do not feel you are ready to just jump to the next weekend race.
There is a lot to digest here, and because of that there is certainly a great deal of depth involved, as this will take you some time getting used to. You will likely find yourself starting over as a new jockey after you get the hang of it your fist time out.
The great thing about this though is that once you understand what needs to be done and you understand the logistics, horse racing fans are really going to find the story mode engaging and rewarding.
Game modes outside of the story mode are pretty basic as you get things such as standard exhibition mode, as well as the addition of online play for the first time in the franchise, a very cool addition indeed which really adds to the experience a great deal.
The game is a lot of fun to play on the Sony PS3, as you can play the game utilizing either the PlayStation Move controller, or your standard PS3 controller.
My preferred choice is using the PS3 DualShock controller simply because it is a pretty simplistic control scheme which allows you to focus more on your pacing, where you are on the track, etc.
The PlayStation Move support is very enjoyable though as it literally puts you in the saddle of a horse, as you will use the controllers to speed up, slow down, charge at the end, and so forth. The support of PlayStation Move works extremely well here and makes for a very cool experience, especially if you are in a party-atmosphere and you want to race against a friend.
From a visual standpoint, the Sony PS3 version looks decent, nothing that is really earth-shattering. The game looks like a high-definition version of what we received on the Sony PS2. Tracks are not all-that detailed or varied, and horse models certainly could use some improved texture work. The game runs extremely smooth throughout though and load times are almost non-existent between races, a solid bonus.
The audio presentation has never been a strong point for the franchise, and that carries over here. The audio in terms of sound effects is decent, but leaves a lot to be desired.
The Closing Chatter:
Champion Jockey: G1 Jockey & Gallop Racer on the Sony PS3 is a great release if you were a fan of the horse racing sims on the PS1 and PS2. For the niche market out there of horse racing fans, this release is not perfect, but it is a dream come true to have it released on the PS3 in the U.S.
Final Score: 8 out of 10 Chatters