The cynic in me is resigned to one inescapable fact: everyone has to make difficult decisions almost every day of their lives. Despite that, there are whole industries built on the idea that these compromises somehow don't exist - yes, you can lose weight and eat tasty food say the adverts. Well I'm here to give you a painful nugget of truth: no you can't. If you eat things that want to eat, you're going to get fat.

Moto GP 08 is the result of a number of difficult decisions and compromises, too. Here's a game that finds itself entering a market currently obsessed with hurtling towards high-definition 3D racing – with all the choppiness that such a tactic currently involves – yet, I-play has decided to strip Moto GP 08 back to basics and come up with what many will see as an 'old school' racer. And boy, we should be thankful for it.

Many amongst you might have a hankering for 3D visuals and top-notch graphics, but five minutes playing Moto GP 08 proves that, compromise or not, this is a game that feels all the smoother for turning its graphical equaliser down a notch or two. Literally smoother, too. Sacrificing a place atop the graphical league has resulted in a game that runs like a dream. No slowdown, no awkward camera angles, no delayed reactions. This is an instant racer, which is just as instantly gratifying.

The races themselves manage to convey a real sense of speed. With 18 bikes on the track – made up of names that litter Moto GP circuits every season – it's very hard to have an uneventful race; rivals will whizz past you if you make the smallest mistake. Likewise, if you manage to put together a chain of smooth, tight corners, then you'll find yourself slicing and dicing your way back up to the front of the field.

Moto GP 08 seems to employ a certain amount of elasticity in these contests, in that the pack stays quite tightly together throughout each track's two laps. Even if you pull off a faultless race at the front of the grid, it's fairly likely that your competitors won't be too far behind. It also means that a disastrous first lap can be saved if you manage to keep it together on the second circuit.

It's the kind of system that enrages purists, but I-play's take on Moto GP 08 is an unashamedly arcade one. This is a game designed to celebrate the sport and embrace new fans, rather than a secular title created to service a closed-off fanatical community. That said, anyone who does spend their weekends following the Moto GP season will appreciate the fact that I-play's ode to biking comes with both circuits and riders fans will recognise.

The courses themselves are pulled off with panache, serving up varied experiences despite the fact that graphically their differences are few. Where that sense of realism falls apart, however, is in the races themselves, where both boosting and flying around corners without touching your breaks are commonplace. It's not to the detriment of the overall experience, however – quite the opposite.

Success in Moto GP 08 comes from holding tight to the corners and using the game's boost – which starts full, and then builds back up gradually when depleted – when on clear straights. While breaking usually isn't needed to stay on the track, you'll find that rivals will slip by unless you hit the breaks slightly before each bend. Fusing all these elements together is easy enough, however, and becomes second nature after a few minutes of play.

The game also has a sizable chunk of charm mixed in, too. Pre and post race commentators constantly keep you in touch with your performance and position in the championship, adding a sense of connection that many other racers just don't manage. Moto GP 08 also encourages continued play, with successful races resulting in your bike being steadily upgraded, improving your performance on track.

But most gamers won't need any motivation to keep on plugging away at I-play's take on the Moto GP circuit. It's full of thrills, is instantly accessible, and makes a sport perhaps not usually to everyone's palette suddenly affable to all. If that's as a result of a compromise or two, then they're compromises that are fully justified and are rewarded tenfold.