Also on: PS4, PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Bandai Namco
Developer: Milestone SrL
I should admit up front that I’m bad at MotoGP 14. Actually, that’s not even accurate: I’m profoundly terrible at MotoGP 14. Merely being bad would constitute a massive improvement. Even on the easiest difficult settings, with every driving aid at my disposal turned up to its maximum, er, aid-iness, I’m lucky if I can even move up to second-last for a few glorious moments before I inevitably wind up in a laughably distant last place.
Because I’m so bad at the game, it’s hard for me to determine what’s genuinely bad about the game, versus what’s merely bad about me playing the game. I can say this with certainty, though: MotoGP is not very accessible for newcomers to motorcycle racing games. The learning curve is incredibly steep, and the game makes no concessions or allowances when it comes to your performance. If you go around a bend too tightly and wind up hurtling off your bike at 150 miles an hour, that’s on you, and you’ll just have to find some way of catching up with the pack.
Likewise, while the controls are pretty standard racing game fare, controlling your bike in MotoGP 14 still seems harder than it does in most other racing games. Taking tight corners generally results in spinning out; take them a little too wide and you’ll drift off onto the shoulder and into a wall. You also have to watch your front tire balance and stickiness; wheelies may look cool, but they, too, inevitably result in crashes.
(As an aside, in both the difficulty levels and the controls, it’s remarkably how similar MotoGP 14 is to its predecessor, MotoGP 13. That game, too, was unforgivingly difficult, and it was a bit of a chore to handle your bike without spinning out. The newer game looks noticeably nicer on the Vita, but otherwise, they’re almost identical.)
Having said all that, if you are a motorcycle racing aficionado and you’ve grown used to the controls and the level of difficulty, then there should be more than enough for you here to sink your teeth into. MotoGP 14 has a pretty impressive amount of content: you not only have all the usual racing options — online/offline quick races (though online multiplayer lobbies seem pretty dead at the moment), career, time trial and championship modes — there’s also an option to relive your prominent moments from the most recent MotoGP season, plus a mode that allows you to insert your created racer into battles against high-profile MotoGP racers. I’ll admit that neither the moments nor the racers mean anything to me as a total non-fan, but it seems to me that in an age where games try and DLC you to death, that’s a lot of content (as it should be, of course).
Of course, seeing as I completely and utterly suck at MotoGP 14, I was in no way able to get the most out of that content. After finishing dead last in every race mode I tried, plus a career that was basically the racing equivalent of an abomination against God, I lasted only a few moments trying my hand at one of those prominent moments before I felt bad about failing so horribly. I may not have any idea who Valentino Rossi or Andrea Dovizioso, but I still felt instinctively guilty for turning them into QWOP on two wheels.
All of which is to say: I may not have enjoyed MotoGP 14 all that much, but I’d still recommend it to racing fans who know what they’re doing. You’ll probably need a high tolerance for failure, but if you can get over that, you’ll find more than enough here to occupy your time.