Moto GP games has always fascinated me. Any racing at all, be it four wheeled or two, takes a considerable amount of guts to tackle, but with these high powered bikes balanced atop some dubiously weak looking tyres coupled with riders knees close enough to the tarmac to cause some serious grazing, or at least chafing, its all pretty tense. This tension doesn't always translate into the games on offer however, but with some fantastic work being done with current-gen and next-gen consoles, this latest offering delivers realism that'll have you crapping yourself as you hit every tight bend.
This is all dependant of course, on you mastering the rather taxing controls on show here. Moto GP 14 is a racing sim at heart so you’ll be no doubt spending some serious time getting to grips with your bike, tweaking its performance and learning how to navigate it with finesse and delicacy but once you've achieved this level of super bike zen, you’ll find hours of joy from starting a race at dead last and picking the right spots in which to skim past your opponents to ultimate victory!
Within the game there are three racing tiers to choose from, Moto 3, Moto 2 and Moto GP, all of which provide a completely different style of racing meaning you’ll need to adjust your game plan and how you plan to ride the track. If you choose to work through Moto GP 14’s career mode you’ll be starting out in Moto 3 which can only be described as the slowest of the bunch, giving you the chance to hone those skills and get used to sharp corners at mad speeds.
As you'd expect, after creating a rider, which gives you options such as rider number, helmet, gloves, and boots as well as name, nationality and all that jazz, you’ll be expected to race onwards and upwards, moving from Moto 3 to Moto 2 and so on.
Once you begin pushing yourself into the higher tiers, help is still at hand if you aren't the most confident rider still, with the addition of some decent (yet entirely optional) assists which will give you a helpful hand with steering, breaking and traction control. These can also be adjusted while you ride, meaning you may start off thinking you need that help with your steering but as you progress in the race and the adrenaline pumps, you can be brave and simply turn it down a notch, or even off completely if you're up for a challenge!
While you progress, upgrades to your ride become available through the use of XP and research points which you’ll gain for completing races or single laps on particular events. Allowing you to tweak critical aspects in things such as the bikes handling to swapping out the main chassis if you so choose. While the system is fairly simple and not as detailed as you may perhaps expect, it works and ti works well and Ive often thought, if it isn't broken, don't fix it (normally in a more cockney fashion of ‘If it ain’t broke, don't fix it)
If career mode isn't enough for you, Moto GP 14 offers a decent challenge mode, tasking you to replay particular events from the series this year and change them or simply re live them from the drivers point of view. Theres also the standard fare of Time Attack, Grand Prix and Championship.
Perhaps most surprisingly for me however was the quality of the games multiplayer modes. Online game modes include Grand Prix, Championship and Sprint Season as well as a new mode called Split Battle which pushes you and your opponent to complete the most number of laps in an allotted time. I was initially sceptical about just how fun that concept could be but trust me, it got tense at home over this. Im pretty sure my dad and brother will never speak to me again because of the shame they suffered at my hands.
Graphically Moto GP 14 performs well but, as with most racers, you don't want to look to deeply into the crowd as you’ll find nothing but hollow shells of ‘spectators’ who are clearly having as much fun as the mannequins down at Primark. This unfortunately starts to prod holes in the overall look making it all feel a tad too polished to feel right. You're also more than likely to bump into a few glitches on occasion. Most glitches were minor, effecting the game experience with little to no severity however I once or twice found invisible walls stopping the race or tracks failing to load correctly, but these were extremely rare.