I’ll start this review off by admitting to the fact that even though I am a diehard racing genre fan, I very rarely played any motorcycle racing games. I’m not too familiar with the sport of Moto GP, though I know enough to understand what I’m watching. In fact, I think the last Moto GP game I played was Moto GP 07 on Xbox 360.
So why am I reviewing MotoGP 14 for PS4? 1) the opportunity came up, and I never turn down a racing game, and 2) diehard Moto GP fans already know they’re getting this game, so why not get the perspective of someone who doesn’t fit into the niche fanbase? That’s where I come in. If you like racing games and might want to try something new, then let me provide the perspective of a layman going into the MotoGP series.
As a newbie to this game, let me be the first to say that it is HARD. If you’re coming into this as a fresh faced noob, don’t even try to play without any assists. It took almost a solid week of playing with full assists on just to get used to the different handling physics of motorcycles vs cars, and even then I had to slowly scale back on the assists. Any overzealousness on the brakes or gas and you will flip. Fact. You lean too far into a corner that you’re travelling just a hair too quickly into? You will end up as a stain on the pavement. It’s not like a car game where you might lose control, spin out, and right yourself. Here you will fly off your bike and pretty much have no hope of winning after you do so. It’s incredibly punishing, made only more bearable by the existence of rewinds (which you can turn off). Even with rewinds, I fell….a lot. Over and over.
The overall presentation of the game is top notch as official tracks, teams, racers, and bikes are all represented. It was nice to see many tracks that I was familiar with from other racing games (like COTA), which felt like I was going into each racer with a slight advantage despite my noobness. Hey, I may not be able to stay on the bike for more than 100 yards, but at least I know the layout of the track like the back of my hand.
The feature set of MotoGP 14 isn’t anything we haven’t seen before from any racing game. Everything from quick races and time trials to a career mode can be found, including Real Events 2013 (recreating moments from the 2013 season) and Challenge the Champions (a challenge mode that pits you against real life racers). Overall, there certainly is no lack of htings to do, and MotoGP 14 should keep you nice and busy.
The tone of the game is more Codemaster’s F1 and less Gran Turismo. In fact, the similarities extend further throughout the game than you might imagine. Both games use the rewind feature. Both games have the same game modes (mostly). Both games have a career mode that is based off of team research, lots of emails, and even starting each session off in a first person pit view. I’m not in any way suggesting that any game “borrowed” from the other, but if I took MotoGP 14 and replaced all the motorcycles with F1 cars, I would think it’s a new F1 game. This is not a knock against MotoGP; in fact, I love the F1 series and look forward to it every year, so I’ll be the first to admit a nice familiarity when I first launched this unfamiliar motorcycle racing game.
The graphics for MotoGP 14 are beautiful, but there’s a bit of that new-gen “razzle dazzle” that’s missing. If this game was a PS4 launch title, I’d be singing its praises. The details are tremendous, especially if you run a replay and zoom in close to the bikes or the racer’s uniforms. But something about the fact that we’re a year into this console generation and having played a game as gorgeous as Forza 5 left me wanting more. Perhaps it was the look of all the circuits. They all looked fine, just nothing popped out at me. Or maybe it was the flat, lifeless crowds (which, to be fair, pretty much every racing game suffers from). Whatever it was, it just left me wanting more, regardless of how wonderful the game looked while I was playing it. I guess another possibility is that I’m just spoiled.
When all is said and done, I’m keeping MotoGP 14 installed on my PS4. That’s saying something, considering I’ve already nearly filled up my entire hard drive. With disk space at such a premium, MotoGP 14 has earned a place in my active library, no small feat considering I’ve removed other titles that I loved like Wolfenstein to make space.
It’s not perfect, and like I mentioned before, I keep getting this nagging feeling that it could look even better than I saw. But the gameplay is tight, and motorcycle racing is a whole new world for me, and above all else, MotoGP 14 is simply fun to play.