STAFF REVIEW of MotoGP 14 (Xbox 360)

Wednesday, November 19, 2014.
by Brent Roberts

MotoGP 14 Box art The MotoGP series has seen a major overhaul since its inception, and now MotoGP 14 plans to take the series to a level it has never been before. Harnessing the power of savage bike racing that mandates you balance control and power, this simulation racing title tries to halve the number of wheels yet still deliver an experience that will leave your palms sweaty, heart pounding, and adrenaline pumping. Sounds good so far right? Unfortunately that's where the pleasantries end. From the beginning to end this is a game that will not only frustrate you to the ends of the earth, but leave you shaking your head.

There are many reasons, but before I dive head first into that pile, I do have to say that there is a decent amount of content. Not good, but decent. You have eight single player modes to choose from along with multiplayer so in all you have a bunch of racing to do. In career you start small and then find yourself working your way through the ranks till you hit the monster GP beasts. Other modes include an instant race, grand prix, time trial and more but sadly, even though there seem to be all of these options available, you start to see where this game falters and comes up short and with that in mind, let's talk about the controls.

They are horrid. Now in a real bike, at speed, the bike actually wants to right itself upright, hence the reason why you see bikers lean so much is because they are actually finding the angle of grip, tension and speed. Think of it like trying to ice skate on a piece of dental floss and turn at high speed while you're doing it. It is paramount in any racing game, whether it's arcade or simulation, that you get the handling absolutely perfect. Granted the styles vary but the premise to deliver solid controls spans essentially every game. MotoGP 14 does offer varying physics levels and I found myself in the pro level having my back tire slide out from under me constantly. Oddly though when I went through career, the under-steer (which is predominant in the mammoth GP bikes), vanished completely, but as your bikes get bigger and better, the handling seems to drop in proportion, so by the time you've reached the top you're hoping to not enter a corner and come out like a stain on the pavement.

There are upgrades that you can make for your bike; however, as you go through the game you will see that the ability to upgrade comes only at the expense of you investing roughly three times the gameplay on the same single race, just to upgrade one section of your bike. On top of all that, the improvements don't make you feel any better or worse, so now you're left with a feeling that you wasted a bunch of time in your life instead of taking part in an exhilarating MotoGP race. It's an unfortunate disappointment but one that ultimately leaves MotoGP 14 more of a chore to play than enjoyment.

As stated earlier there is a lot of content in terms of play modes and with that a substantial amount of courses to run as well. These are all introduced to us by flashing video clips of what the culture and scene of the track area is like. The video then stems into a breakdown of the track itself with lengthy information on number of left and right hand corners, overtaking "hot spots" and so forth. After that pre loading screen you then go to another shorter loading screen and then you are place right in the middle of the action at your garage. Here you can tune your car (for whatever reason you may want to), hop in the race by putting on your helmet, and view statistics of the course you just watched for over 30 seconds and more. The course graphics don't look appealing at all and the bikes, while somewhat good looking, still combine to generate a feeling of being underwhelmed at the last generation of graphics. I can't seem to comprehend why not wait a few years in between releases just so you can put out a product that is a definitive staple in MotoGP racing? Is this what happens when there is so very little competition that you start taking advantage of the quality of your games?

The next stellar pieces of horrendous flaws have to come by way of the audio. To sum it up real quick would be to say that this game screams at you constantly. Not in the sense of a very loud, yet beautiful musical score, but in the sense of hearing nails on the chalkboard while hearing a baby scream at the top of their lungs. Should the crowd be included in the sound? Hardly at all. In fact I found myself laughing hysterically after turning the engine sounds completely off and just having the environment and everything else untouched and it literally sounded like it was on mute or some quiet nature channel. Bikes were taking off from the line, accelerating out of corners, spinning off, yet all I hear was next to nothing. When you can do that, there's a serious issue with your sound.

I can see what MotoGP 14 is trying to do. It wants more than anything to deliver you a racing experience that will make you feel like your heart will explode from your chest, your head pop from the intense amazement, and your knees weak under the after effect of the adrenaline surge. Instead you get a game that will raise your blood pressure in anger, make your head shake as to why you spent your hard earned money on this game, and make you toss or trade this game in out of sheer frustration and depression. Noble effort, but MotoGP 14 just doesn't deliver the quality racing experience you can find elsewhere.

Overall: 6.1 / 10
Gameplay: 5.8 / 10
Visuals: 6.9 / 10
Sound: 5.2 / 10


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