Moto GP is perhaps the most entertaining of the major motorsports. Nascar involves exactly the same car turning left for hours and the occasional crash, Formula One is too reliant on the cars and not the drivers – but Moto GP features amazing machines with just as impressive drivers performing feats that, at times, look impossible. Recreating these feats in Moto GP 14 feels great, but hitting the perfect apex can be incredibly difficult.
In order to accommodate newer players, multiple physics and simulation levels have been included. The lowest setting is incredibly forgiving, and only truly stupid moves will result in you coming off the bike, whilst the higher physics levels scale quite well with the most extreme requiring almost perfect breaking and throttle control to stay on track.
For anyone who hasn’t played a Moto GP game before there will be a steep learning curve in order to understand the physics. Your first lap will probably result in coming off the bike more times than you will in any other race. If you do struggle with the physics, take some time to do some Moto 3 races, as coming off the bike is almost impossible on the easiest setting and it will help a lot. The steep learning curve was unexpected and really made the first hour or so quite unenjoyable, but once I started career mode and did some Moto 3 races the enjoyment levels shot up.
While the numerous physics options offer differing levels of simulation, there are some things that remain constant, which break the realism a little. If you come off your bike in the middle of a pack of racers, both you and your bike will clip through them, not affecting the other riders in any way. Although this stops massive pileups, it’s not particularly realistic. Going off track, regardless of the physics level, is also quite forgiving, and with the correct settings can actually give you an advantage. Again, it’s not game-breaking, but it’s not realistic, either.
The steep learning curve and questionable design choices may have somewhat of a negative impact, but the majority of the on-track action is a pleasure. The bikes handle incredibly well and the force of the accelerator can be felt constantly. Hitting an apex perfectly is no easy task but when you do, it feels amazing and it’s even better when you’re challenging for position at the same time. The AI isn’t the smartest, but it does a good enough job, and on higher difficulty levels provide an impressive challenge making races thrilling and a real fight to the finish.
As I mentioned earlier, starting career mode as soon as possible is a great idea as you begin as a newbie in Moto 3, which is much more forgiving than Moto GP. The bikes are easier to manage and the quality of competition is much lower, so it offers a great learning experience. Your created rider will sign to a team after partaking in a couple of wildcard races, and from there you’re free to climb the ranks of the sport, all the way up to becoming the Moto GP Champion. Career mode is probably where you’ll spend the majority of your time – getting to the top will take quite a few hours, but if feels very rewarding doing so.
The other game modes on offer include the standard Grand Prix mode, which allows you to set up a single race (or race weekend) and take part with any driver of your choice. There are also the predictable Time Trials and Instant Action modes, as well as the throwaway Safety Car mode, which sees you doing a time trial in a safety car that handles horrifically. Also included is the Real Events 2013 mode, which sees you try and recreate action from the 2013 season and challenge the champions, which allows you to take on former legends of the sport. Both split-screen and online multiplayer make an appearance as well. The game modes offer some variety, but for me the only real time-sink was the career.
Every track from the current Moto GP season is available to race around and, although they don’t quite have the same visual quality of other next gen racing games, they look and feel impressive, if not a little quiet around the outsides. The bikes and drivers (including ones from Moto 2, Moto 3, Moto GP 2013 and a slew of former champions) all look impressive and have incredibly high detail, and the drivers move around their bikes in a very convincing way.
VERDICT: Whilst Moto GP 14 is the closest many of us will get get to living out our dreams of taking a bike around iconic tracks such as Silverstone, it’s not quite a true simulation even on the highest physics settings. While to some this wont be an issue, others may find it irritating that it doesn’t match the sport quite as closely as it should do. However, that doesn’t stop Moto GP 14 from being a fine racing game once you get the hang of it. The on-track action is extremely satisfying and can be very challenging, making the reward of finishing first even sweeter.
The extensive modes offer hours of playtime and replayability (especially the career mode) and the inclusion of Moto 2 and Moto 3 not only offers even more playing options, but also a great way to introduce new players to the series. This is a game that will please the majority of Moto GP fans, but will also bring in a lot of new ones.
VERY GOOD. An 8/10 is only awarded to a game we consider truly worthy of your hard-earned cash. This game is only held back by a smattering of minor or middling issues and comes highly recommended.
Review code provided by publisher.