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MotoGP 14

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: BANDAI NAMCO Games America, Inc.
Developer: Milestone
Media: Download/1
Players: 1 - 2 / 2 - 16 (Online)
Genre: Racing (Simulation)

Graphics & Sound:

It's important to remember that MotoGP 14 is a PS3 game. Specifically, a PS3 game that was released when the PS4 has been around for a while. That having been said, when I first saw the game, I didn't think it looked all that bad, but two friends that happened in while I was playing the game both made comments about how bad the game looks. I was surprised. I thought the graphics looked pretty decent, at first blush, and this is after I had been playing the game for a while. However, after they had pointed it out, I starting watching with a more critical eye and not only is it not that great graphically, there are some glitches that can be a bit unnerving.

One graphical issue has to do with the amount of detail presented; specifically the resolution of the textures. MotoGP 14 usually seems to do a good job of balancing level of detail, by loading in lower resolution textures first, then going back and replacing them with higher resolution ones after everything's been loaded at low resolution. This allows the game to begin rendering the environment after a shorter load time at the expense of the quality of the image until the rest is loaded in. How noticeable this is depends a bit on the player, as well, since it looks better if you let it load in its own time, while showing you what it wants and looks worse if you hit (X) to bypass these screens and jump right into the game. However, another factor is that some of these ancillary textures that are in the backgrounds and bandstands aren't going to be in the player's main focus, while friends watching you play are more likely to notice them. Sadly, as you play longer and get more comfortable with the game, you're more likely to notice these things while playing, as well.

Then, there are actual glitches, such as the really creepy mesh drop-outs that I experienced a few times. Other riders racing around me would have their torsos (or maybe entire bodies? Again, can't focus on that while racing) disappear, resulting in their helmets floating above their bikes, but in no way attached. Creepy? Yes. Unnerving? Absolutely! A similar mesh problem occurred on the Sachsenring circuit, where the "optimal line" indicators apparently were being rendered below the ground level in some places, resulting in less indication of the proper line and some strange flashing when an optimal line crossed up above the ground level and back under on one hill.

Do these graphics issues seem minor? Keep playing. I've seen a driver-less head riding a motorcycle and when I noted to myself that there was no body on the bike, one popped in, but the arms and legs were all pointing impossibly up, ahead and to the left of the bike. I'm sorry, but... what?!

The music is pretty good, but there aren't a lot of different songs, so they'll get a bit old, after a while. The engine noises sound appropriate and even if you have the visual indicator that warns of riders behind you, the sound of them approaching can serve to let you know.


I'm a fan of racing games. Really I am. I enjoy the h#ll out of the Gran Turismo series, Forzas, Burnout, pretty much everything Need for Speed going all the way back... even crazy racing games like Wipeout and Twisted Metal, where you can race and shoot. I don't, however, like F1 racing, because of the penalties for stepping outside the lines. I like games that let me aim a vehicle and throw myself into a turn with more or less reckless abandon... without a whole lot of chance that I'll go flying off of my vehicle while I see everyone else passing me up in the background.

Where most of the above-mentioned racing games are primarily about going fast, MotoGP 14 is all about going slow. Well, just slow enough. (In the corners.) For the most part, in the straightaways, you'll pretty much want to open up the throttle as much as possible and, in these cases, you're kinda limited by the ability of your bike (at least during earlier races in your career), but where everything really comes to a head is in the turns. It's here that most of the changing in positions will take place and one large key to better placements at the end of the race is being able to make your approach into the corners without slowing too much, make your exits from the corners very strong and manage to drop your speed enough in the curve to keep in the "optimal line," which can be indicated for you by a driving aid, but can also be observed based on the thick black patches (from everyone's tires as they brake for those corners) or by watching the other riders. Stray from that line and you'll lose ground and make it much easier for opponents to pass you up. You've been warned.

While the corners are all important on any track in the game, certain tracks make this oh-so-much-more obvious. The Sachsenring track in Germany, for example, involves some extremely tight corners that accentuate the importance of mastering the corners and staying true to the optimal path. Also, the overall pace of this track is slower than average, since all of the riders have to slow so much for those $%!#@ turns. If you get far enough to unlock videos in the multimedia viewer, the first video is all about the various spills, slides and wrecks that occur in the sport. It was only when I saw this that I started to understand that the ridiculous control problems I was having weren't all merely problems with the game, but could be things that could actually occur in the sport. So, the physics simulation may, indeed, be spot-on... that doesn't make it easy to play... or fun.

Vetted fans of motorcycle simulation may be overjoyed with the depth of control required to play the game well, but since I'm a general racing fan and not a motorcycle simulation fan, I can't really speak to that. I know that in FenixDown's review of MotoGP 09/10 for the 360, he basically complained that it was too arcade-like, and that it was too easy to successfully make turns at full-tilt. If that was a problem, they've fixed it. From what I've seen the ability to lose control of a bike during a race and simply spill over off the bike or have it try to buck you off like a bull when it becomes unstable (yes, evidently a real thing) are realistically and faithfully reproduced, here.

There are several modes available in MotoGP 14, and they're available out-the-box. The first four: Instant Race, Grand Prix, Championship and MotoGP Career are all about full races, and are listed in order of increasing number of races and play length. Instant Race presents you with a track and a rider to race as and presents you with the option of racing... or randomly selecting a different setup. This lets you jump in, possibly hit Shuffle a few times to get a rider or track that interests you and then hit Start Race to play. Grand Prix is a single race as well, but this mode allows you to choose a race level (MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, MotoGP 2013 or MotoGP Champions), choose an official rider or your custom rider, choose a racing team and choose the track of your choice. Championship is much the same, but instead of choosing a single track, you get a series of tracks to race. The default is the Official Championship, comprised of 18 different tracks, but you can opt to edit your own Championship and select between three and eighteen tracks of your choosing, in whatever order you like, with the ability to use tracks multiple times, if you like. Your Championship settings and progress are saved, allowing you to leave and continue your Championship in progress. Finally, the MotoGP Career is much like the Championship Mode, but you use a custom rider, get your own trailer (with a flatscreen TV to check out the Multimedia unlocks as you get them, a laptop computer for checking on emails from your manager and checking out news about the MotoGP in progress and a closet to change up your riding gear) and you get to improve your bike as you go and move to different teams and different tiers as you progress in the game. The good news is any experience earned in any of the modes is shared across all of them.

There are some additional modes, but they're a bit different. Two of the modes, Real Events 2013 and Challenge the Champions, are scenario-based, taking real or fictitious scenarios (trying to come back from a spill in the last lap, trying to hold out to the end of the race with worn tires or similar scenarios) and trying to see if you can do what they couldn't. The real-life scenarios put everyone where they were at the beginning of the scenario, so it's like you dropped into that time and place. However, given that what you're trying to do is perform better than the professional athlete did in that scenario, and you're controlling his bike, not yours, well, you can only imagine. I hadn't put a lot of thought into it before trying this mode, but the difficulty level for this is way up there.

Time Attack is fairly straightforward. Try to beat the time for the track, without having to worry about other riders sharing the road. There are similar events occasionally in the MotoGP Career Mode, called Speed Tests.

The final mode, Safety Car Mode, has you driving around the track in their emergency vehicle, which is a car, but handles horrifically for a car, leading me to wonder if they make it out of MotoGP motorcycles or something. If you've ever played a car racing game before, this doesn't feel like that at all. There also is no "win" condition, so this isn't so much a "game" mode as a "play" mode. I really don't know why it's here.


MotoGP 14 is a simulation game, not an arcade game. Even with the driving aids and all of the other assists and nerfs set to lower the difficulty, it's difficult to control. If you set everything to the most realistic settings, you'll be controlling your front and rear brakes separately, you'll have to shift up and down (or find yourself revving your engine at a dead stop when the race starts) and you'll have around 16 laps to enjoy this punishment. In my personal experience, the "Pro" Mode is mainly about popping wheelies, driving out into the grass, flipping your bike over inexplicably and sliding and rolling around with your bike a lot - and evidently has nothing to do with completing laps or achieving high speeds.

To anyone who is a fan of the sport and really wants to play this game, despite the difficulty, I have a few pointers, based on my experience:

  • Jump straight into MotoGP Career. You'll be able to adjust your bike to suit you, which will allow you to perform much better than any other mode in the game.
  • Do the Qualifier and Race, not just the race. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the track, give you opportunities to tune your bike to play well with the current track and will earn you some extra XP, to boot.
  • Use the Driving Aids. They're there to help.
  • If you find you're not getting better, try turning off a few assists or driving with a more difficult physics setting. I did just to test things out and as impossible as it was to play like that, when I returned to my normal "wimp" settings, I found that I played better.
  • Make use of the Rewinds. You can have up to 6 available per race and these allow you to undo unfortunate mishaps, which could be smacking into another rider and sliding off the road or simply not hitting that turn optimally in a speed test.

Game Mechanics:

While the simulation aspects of MotoGP 14 are quite numerous, there is a lack of polish that slaps you in the face and then punches you in the gut with brass knuckles. Yes, there are the level-of-detail mistakes mentioned above, with disappearing rider meshes, but even text is sometimes messed up, with variable names printed out in the text. For me, however, the last straw was when I was in the last lap of a race, in 6th place and paused the game and, when I returned and unpaused, the game promptly froze up hard, then over the minute or so, gave me a few frames (separated by tens of seconds) of random directions as I was, obviously wrecking, then there I was, ready to get back in the race... in last place, with the indicator telling me the race was over. Yeah. I think I'm done.

Perkins can't keep up with the pace of his
teammate, Miller
The manager, %%Pl_Cur_Man_Name%%:
"Analyzing the race just from the point of view of their head-to-head is a bit simplistic".
- From the in-game fan site "The Tribe of Geck0"

If you're considering MotoGP 14 as a gift for a racing fan, be weary. This is not "arcade fun," is not easy to "pick up" and won't necessarily be appreciated by someone who likes generic racing games or even simulation car racing games. For a gamer who loves motorcycle racing games but complains that they're too easy, however, MotoGP 14 might be more playable... but that still doesn't make it any prettier.

If you are considering this as a gift for someone - or you're getting it for yourself and you're not quite sure, I would have to suggest against the digital download version. You can't trade in digital download games, and as such, this game is a bit risky for that format. Not only that, but it's a large game, so it will take a while to download... and it will occupy a lot of hard drive space.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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