Moto GP 2014 - TopSpeed Tested
If you are a gamer and a car fan, there are literally dozens of games out there for your enjoyment. Just this year alone we have already tested Forza Motorsports 5, Forza Horizon 2, F1 2014, Grid Autosport, and The Crew. If you enjoy your motorized fun when it happens on two wheels, games that follow your passion are much more scarce. When I was offered the chance to review the latest installment of the Moto GP racing game, I couldn’t turn it down.
In reality, Moto GP is one of the most exciting forms of motorsport. Apart from potentially rally racing, I don’t think any other professional motorsport focuses on driver skill for success. The racing is fast, dangerous and incredibly technical. This will be my first experience with any motorcycle racing sim, and I am excited to see if MotoGP 14 can channel the excitement and suspense of bike racing in the same way that games like Forza channel the thrill of driving a car.
What I found was a game with some great features and few nagging issues, but did the good outweigh the bad? Read on to find out.
Read on to learn more about MotoGP 14
One thing you need to know about MotoGP 14 is that much like real motorcycle racing, it’s not easy. I imagine that since this is my first attempt at a motorcycle simulation racer I had a harder time than more experienced players of the genre will have, but holy hell is there a steep learning curve. Thankfully the game does a offer a huge collection of settings, and if you start out on the slower Moto 3 racing series the game can be forgiving. Just be warned if you are a new player, the first few hours you spend on track are going to be brutal, demoralizing and frustrating.
But then it starts to click and the feeling that success brings is hard to describe.
Just like real MotoGP racing, once you really learn how to handle your bike and you nail that perfect apex to overtake the guy in front of you, the feeling is supreme exultation. I felt like a superhero with every perfect overtake.
A big aid of this is the physics system that lies under the game. It may not be as precise as the best car simulation games, but it provides a great level of sensation, feedback and realism. There are times where the game lets you get away with things that wouldn’t work in reality, but overall the game feels real enough.
Until you crash anyways.
One of my biggest pet peeves of the game is the lack of a collision system for crashing. Essentially, if I am in a pack of racers, overcook it, and then come off my bike, my body and my crashing bike will just magically clip through the other racers on track. This does prevent every accident from turning into a 19-bike pileup on the track, but it does sort of jolt you out of the experience for a second. It’s not a fun-killer, but it does hurt my enjoyment of the game at times.
While I spent almost all of my time in the game’s main career mode, there is a pretty solid collection of other modes available. Grand Prix modes allows you to do a custom race on any track with any racer, Time Trials is a great way to practice certain tracks, and then Instant Action is the quickest way to get into a race. There is also a peculiar Safety Car Mode that sees you pilot the four-wheeled safety car. This mode is terrible and should be avoided at all costs. If you follow the racing closely there is a Real Events mode that sees you trying to recreate or change moments that actually happened in last year’s season.
From a visual standpoint, MotoGP 14 falls into the “good-enough” category. Having spent the last year bombarded with next-gen visuals, jumping back to my PlayStation 3 has been a stark reminder of how far things have moved. The game does a good job of accenting the drivers and bikes to make them look the best, but lots of distant features lose some sharpness. Still, when the racing is heating up, you are focused only on your rider and bike, and the game looks pretty good. The animations added to the riders are particularly good and they move with speed and grace like you would expect them too.
Wen I first turned on MotoGP 14 I wasn’t sure I would be able to make it far enough to even do a review. My first lap saw me fall off my virtual bike more than a dozen times. Thankfully I stuck with it, and what I found was a great racer that provides tons of fun and excitement.
The graphics could be better, the physics models could be updated a little bit, and the collision issue when crashing your bike could be resolved, but all in all these are very minor issues in what is otherwise a very solid gaming experience. If you are at all interesting in taking the step to enjoying MotoGP racing, this game could be a wonderful stepping stone to let you get familiar with the tracks, liveries and drivers.
TopSpeed Tested Score: 7/10
MotoGP 14 was reviewed using a retail code provided by Bandai Namco for the PlayStation 3 console.