Tuesday, 15 July 2014

MotoGP 14

If you own a PS4, you’ll have noticed there has been a shortage of racing games, mainly due to delays (Yes, Xbox users, feel free to rub it in). There’s only been Need For Speed Rivals, and although many found it great, it didn’t fully satisfy me. I’m not going to lie, I’d never played a motorbike racing game until MotoGP 14, despite knowing enough about the sport to know racers like Valentino Rossi, Dani Pedrosa, and even the young star Marc Márquez are among the top names in the sport. So I decided to take the plunge and get MotoGP 14.

The presentation of the game is very smooth, with the stars of MotoGP 14 and their bikes showcased very well. Each track has its own video introduction that shows off the area as well and emulates the classic broadcast presentation of the sport. Despite this attention to detail, overall MotoGP 14 didn’t showcase the true power of the PlayStation 4. However, that doesn’t mean that the game looks bad by any stretch of the imagination, as the graphics are still very pleasing.

There are numerous modes available in MotoGP 14, which is sure even to please gamers with the shortest attention spans. You can jump straight into an instant race, or repeat time trails if you want to perfect a certain track. However, the main appeal to most racing games is the career mode on offer; in this case starting in Moto3 for a lower ranked team, having to meet objectives to move up to better teams, better series and eventually the MotoGP. Thankfully the objectives in career mode aren’t unrealistic. For example, you aren’t expected to win every race in the early stages. Your objectives will be something like “Beat a team-mate”, or “Finish 16th or higher”.  Winning only becomes a necessity when you progress to better teams with higher expectations, but let’s face it – everybody wants to win.  In past racing games, I have just skipped qualifying (Formula 1 games especially), but if you want a higher chance of completing your objective, you need to put in a decent performance to start the race a few positions higher. Usually, career modes in racing games can become pretty boring after a while, but the AI keeps the race really tight and entertaining; even on lower difficulties they remain smart, if more cautious, not turning to complete idiots. All this makes for a very engaging career mode.

You’re also given the ability to fine-tune your bike; either manually or in an automated mode, which involves talking to your mechanic about what you feel is wrong, or what you want to improve. After the conversation, which provides you with multiple-choice questions, your mechanic will tune your bike to the way you want it. The way this is presented is brilliant, as it’s honestly how I’d imagine a conversation between a rider and a mechanic being before a race. The rider has a huge input in what needs to be changed to the bike, but doesn’t actually change anything himself, which adds to that feeling of realism.

As well as the career mode, you can play the “Champions Championship”, which pits all the world champions from 1994 to 2001 against each other. Another great game mode is “Real Events 2013”. This is a scenario styled game mode, which is based on the real events from the MotoGP 13 World Championships.  This is something that has been seen in recent Formula 1 games, and is definitely a nice addition to the roster. 

However, one weird mode in MotoGP 14 is “Safety Car” mode, which is basically a time-trial mode in which you drive a BMW M4 coupe. It really doesn’t fit, nor does the car feel right in the way it handles. Why they added it is completely beyond me. It’s a bike racing game, and I doubt many people are ecstatic over the fact that they can drive a four-wheeled vehicle around a track, unless you’re really deprived of a car racing game. Another problem I had with the game was that it felt like the tracks you race on had minimal atmosphere. A good racing game needs a great atmosphere, and I personally feel like MotoGP didn’t offer that, and it definitely takes something away from the game.

Overall, MotoGP 14 was an experience for me. Considering I had never played a motorbike racing game before, I did enjoy this game. The career mode is great, and you’ll feel yourself going for it every race. The further you progress, the more you’ll enjoy it, as riding faster bikes is a lot more intense. However, it doesn’t showcase what the PS4 can do visually, the lack of atmosphere when racing around the tracks can make riding feel tedious at times, and the addition of the “Safety Car” mode has completely baffled me. MotoGP 14 won’t be for everyone, but since there aren’t many racing games out for PS4 due to delays, this will tide you over. 

MotoGP 14 races across the finish line with a 4/5.


Sam Terry

MotoGP 14 at CeX

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