Theoretically at least, the Wii was made for games like G1 Jockey. Imagine all the possibilities you could create by combining the sport of horse racing with the Wii Remote; driving the reins to spur your horse on, cracking the whip as you race round the track, yanking back to lift your steed over fences and so on. Done properly, it'd be downright awesome, so it's a shame that G1 Jockey Wii, despite doing all those things and more, turns out to be so tame.
A Day At The Races
The game certainly has tons going for it,
if you're a fan of horse racing, that is. It's unbelievably deep in its simulation of the sport and offers players the chance to not only become a champion jockey, but also breed their own horses and generally do everything a real jockey would do over the course of their career.
The controls, too, actually work really well and have been integrated into the game in a way that demands constant practice in order to truly master them. And believe us, you'll need to do just that if you want to win races on a regular basis because the difficulty curve is steep from the get-go. Between incurring steward's enquiries for 'interfering' with rival horses and trying to maintain a healthy balance between your horse's stamina, motivation and potential during each race, it's all pretty tough.
Unfortunately, there's a slight snag though. All of the game's potential has been buried under a mountain of text conversations, overly-complex stat screens that give far too much information in an entirely unhelpful manner and, worst of all, visuals that are clearly ported from the PS2 version of the game.
The in-game interaction with characters, while annoying, can begrudgingly be forgiven because it's meant to be a simulation, but there's no excuse for the bad graphics, especially since this is a 'new' game for a new console.
As for the racing action itself, it all feels so slow and plodding, even though you're meant to be on a racehorse. There's noreal feeling of excitement during the races, even when you're sprinting up the track after your rivals and ultimately, it drags the whole game down.
It's a shame, because G1 Jockey is undoubtedly a highly comprehensive horse-racing experience that, would be enjoyed by the right audience. If the whole package was injected with a bit more pizzazz, Koei might have gotten away with it.