Release Date: Out Now
Players/Online features: 1 or 2 split-screen, 2-12 online
Having made about 12 SBK (World Superbike) games and had at least one ‘less than amazing’ foray into the MotoGP pit lane a few years back, Milestone have now thrown all their weight behind making an authentic simulation of the 2-wheeled version of Formula One and the 2 lesser classes (GP2 and GP3) that follow it around the world and act as support races and training grounds for future MotoGP riders.
The main menu gives you these choices; Instant Race (a 5 lap race on a random track with random rider), Grand Prix (full or partial race weekend on any of the MotoGP circuits), Championship (a full season in MotoGP, Moto 2 or Moto 3), Career (start in Moto 3 and work your way up), Xbox live, Split Screen, My GP (customization, stats, multimedia [unlocked photos and videos] etc) but here’s a question I’d like to ask someone at Milestone: Why does “Instant Race” have the travelogue intro video and start you from the pits? It couldn’t be less “instant” if it tried!
From my own research (inviting some tame bikers to "have a go" or watch me play the game) the handling and physics have been given a firm “thumbs up” by every single one of them, and from what I remember of riding a street bike I’m not about to argue with them. For the first time I can remember I can keep a bike on the track lap after lap, eventually stick to the racing line and make minor corrections in corners (as we all tend to do in car racing games instinctively). This means I don't do what I have seemed to do seem to do in every single other bike racing game I’ve ever played: over-correct either inside or outside the desired line mid-corner and lurch either into the inside curb or off the track and onto the grass or into the gravel trap. It's a massively refreshing change and feels quite different to, and more instinctive and more realistic than both the last Moto GP game I played (MotoGP 9/10 by Monumental/Capcom and the last SBK game I played (SBK 2011 by Milestone/Black Bean.
As ever with Milestone’s racing games the options allow you to tweak the game’s difficulty in many different ways so everyone should be able to find their own level of comfort and fun. From auto braking (so you can literally just hold the throttle open all the way around a circuit) for kids and rank beginners to Pro handling with full damage, disciplinary flags and realistic AI lap times, from 3 laps to full race distance, with an indestructible bike or one that wears its tyres out and may suffer random technical problems... the choice is yours. The game also allows you to change the simulation setting/difficulty/number of laps per race during a career season. There are also options that allow you to control the rider’s weight shift or select independent front and rear brakes and a manual gearbox for added realism. And talking of added realism, there are now two on-bike views, one of which is a “helmet” view complete with the bottom of the helmet in view and added movement independent of the bike. Neither of these actually tilt the view of the track anymore, so I found them both much easier to use. Two chase cams are also included for those wanting a more arcade-like experience.
Following a race there’s a highlights sequence or you can have a full replay, which is pretty good, with slo-mo, fast forward controls and the ability to pause and use the free cam, but why can’t you take a screen shot anymore? The bikes and riders have plenty of detail (although your bike and rider have slightly more than the AI ones) and the tracks and scenery do a passable job. The bikes and riders look wet when it rains and all bikes throw up a plume of spray on a wet track (which didn’t happen in the last SBK game I played). The replays reveal just how strained this ageing game engine is getting with occasional frame rate drops and graphical glitches like missing shadows and rain effects, and like the SBK games there are still some frame rate issues in the replays, and the nice wet track effect seems to disappear when you watch a replay of a wet race too. An animated interactive scene in the pits and after-race celebration are of a high quality; behind their tinted visors the real riders likenesses are pretty good, and it proves that there’s no need for a crappy Champagne-spraying sequence or anything like that.
Between races in the career mode there’s an interactive office hub (that every racing game seems to have now.) Here you receive regular emails from your team and personal managers either congratulating you on your performance or criticising you for underperforming. This all seems like a bit of a waste of time, they’re simply repeated messages before and after every race and soon become a pain in the arse. This could have added some realism to the game if the correspondence actually meant anything and anything came from the social networking side (like possibly extra non-championship races or PR demonstrations etc), but it’s done in a very slapdash way-even some of the different team manager’s pictures are the same.
The best part of MotoGP 13 is without doubt the bike handling; the way the bike spins up its rear wheel, “shakes its head” under heavy acceleration. The way the bikes slither around under heavy braking and generally handle is very convincing, and much like Codemasters’ F1 2012, you aren’t going to fully appreciate how “unleashed” the handling feels unless you play it from the most realistic view with all the assists turned off. This isn’t to say you can’t have fun with an element of safety, you can still power slide with the traction control on, it’s just less likely to end up in a high-side crash if you overdo it. MotoGP 13 plays extremely well without blowing you away, it’s a solid, competent title from an experienced developer, and there’s plenty to do. It’s just a shame they didn’t show a little more imagination when designing the game and give it some va-va voom.
- Race as your favourite MotoGP rider or play your own career.
- Fully licensed 2013 MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3, tracks, riders, teams & sponsors.
- Make it as easy or hard as you want.
- The most realistic bike handling yet.
- The game engine creaks under the strain.
- Iffy collision detection and netcode means online racing is an annoying lottery.