MotoGP is the premier championship of motorbike racing. My dad has always been a big fan of MotoGP as long as I could remember and many years back I started getting an interest in the sport, too. Watching MotoGP is like watching ballet, but with motorbikes: The spectacle of seeing someone drive at over 300kph on two wheels and then lean into a corner at a point where it almost looks like he has fallen over, but then changes direction with no problems… this is what MotoGP is all about. This is what MotoGP 13 is all about, too.
When you start MotoGP 13, you will be asked to set up your very own rider and you get to choose your nationality, your nickname, your helmet and even your race number (for the purpose of this review I chose race number 33). The game has three different race classes to choose from, namely Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP. When you start your career you start as a ‘wildcard’ driver in Moto3 and you get a choice of team to race for, and you’re given different challenges to complete and progress in the game.
The career mode is very similar to other official racing games: You have your motorhome with a computer, calendar and TV, and the computer you can check your email and see challenges or objectives from manager. Developer Mileston added a very interesting element to the MotoGp 13, however, in that it has a Twitter-like social media built into the game. It is not linked to the real world, and you can read what people think of your driving style and how you did in the race, which is a pretty cool addition.
Once you’re ready to race you can select the calendar and then you can setup your race day, with options to choose how difficult the AI needs to be, riding assists and you race weekend setup. Race weekend setup has three options, and you can choose if you want to just do the race, or do qualifying and the race. If you have some time, you can even do a full weekend which includes everything. You can also set the race distance which gives you a set number of laps depending on your choice, which can be anything from three laps to a full race of thirty laps.
One issue I have found with MotoGP 13 is that the game doesn’t have a tutorial mode and just throws you into the deep end. The controls in MotoGP are different to regular car racing games, as you have more control of your character and the bike itself. During the rider setup you can pick rider positions on the bike for taking corners, for example, and this can be changed in the menu at any time – it all depends on how you play and ride your bike.
Racing in MotoGP 13 is very complex, as you don’t just have acceleration, braking and turning to worry about, and you have to use your front and back brake, while deciding when you need to sit up or lean forward. If you haven’t played many of these games before, then you will see yourself off of the bike more than on it. It does take some patience to master the controls, but you can make it easier by selecting the option of making both brakes function under one button, while turning on steering assist and other helpful options.
MotoGp 13 has some stunning visuals when it comes to the track, bike and rider detail, although the grandstands and other peripheral details look a bit dated by comparison. You really don’t notice that when you’re going 300kph down the main straight, however, or when focusing on the corner’s apex to make sure you get it just right, which brings me to an awesome feature in the game: The helmet cam. When you lean into a corner the driver will look at its apex, and when you’re going down a straight at high speed you hear the wind moving over the helmet. If you would like to see the speed you’re going, then you will need to look at your bike’s speedometer.
Apart from the career mode you also have instant race, Grand Prix and Championship modes, and MotoGp 13 also features an online mode where you can have online championships against people around the world, or just your friends. My first online race didn’t end well, and I was still new to the game and accidentally lost the front end of the bike on the first corner trying to overtake the group… and I took out half of the field. I don’t think anybody was very happy with me. My bike took on lots of damage and my front tyre also had a flat spot so it lost grip every lap.
Once you get used to the controls, MotoGP 13 is really enjoyable. It’s a very satisfying feeling when getting a turn just right and eventually winning the race. Milestone did a really good job on the motion capture of the riders and the sound of the bikes, too: A Moto2 bike sounds very different to a MotoGP bike seeing as how there is about 800cc of engine difference between the two. Another cool feature that was added was when you rank up in the game you unlock awesome MotoGP photos and videos in the extras menu. The videos are not twenty second clips, either, but more like five minutes in pure high definition, which will make any MotoGP fan very happy.
MotoGP 13 does have some other small issues, like small details when racing in the rain, but these can be overlooked. Milestone really tried pulling you more into the game and provided more control over how you manage your races. If you enjoy two wheel racing then you will have a good time in MotoGP 13. It’s fast, it’s loud and when you’ve mastered a corner, it’s a blast!
Pros: Fast-paced racing; Great track design and helmet cam
Cons: Very harsh on a beginner; no Tutorial mode
MotoGP 13 was reviewed on the Xbox 360