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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that MotoGP 14 is a motorcycle-racing simulation game. It's based on a real racing league where all racing is performed on closed circuits, which means no street traffic or risk of pedestrian injuries. Bikes can slide and crash, sending riders tumbling along the tarmac, but they always get up uninjured. The simulated racing is authentic; players are likely to learn about motorcycle parts, tuning, and teamwork. Real athletes appear as playable characters (though they never speak), and the logos of real-world brands like Honda and Monster Energy drinks appear on equipment and clothing. The game can be played online and includes unmoderated multiplayer.
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What's it about?
Based on the Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix, MOTOGP 14 is a motorbike-racing simulation game with a strong emphasis on simulation. It features dozens of real MotoGP athletes and real-world circuits in locations like Italy and Qatar, as well as true-to-life motorcycles, physics, and handling. Players create an avatar, selecting gender, name, racing colors, and a tag. Then you can choose to start a multi-season tour, enter a championship, play one-off races, enter official MotoGP 2014 events, or play multiplayer events locally or online. Races can be as long or short as players prefer, with events stretched over an entire weekend or abbreviated to the final championship ride. Your avatar gains levels as you progress, unlocking new gear and customization options along the way. You'll also be invited to join different teams based on your performance. More experienced players may want to dive into the engineering mode before races, fine-tuning a bevy of performance options with help from a technician and toggling a variety of driving aids to make races harder or more difficult.
Is it any good?
MotoGP 14 is clearly meant for motorcycle enthusiasts, thanks to handling and physics systems that are complicated and clearly not meant for rookie racers. Players need to understand the mechanics that govern their bikes (such as front and rear braking systems) and develop a feel for two-wheeled racing. This includes figuring out how far you can lean into turns before wiping out and when to hunch into an aerodynamic position. It's not completely inaccessible for non-bikers, but growing accustomed to the sport's idiosyncrasies takes patience -- even with the ability to enable various handling aids and rewind races a few seconds should you get into an accident.
Keep in mind, too, that as a niche racing game, MotoGP 14 lacks some of the visual panache and depth found in other racers. The tracks and bikes are lackluster compared to the glossy machines and detailed circuits in bigger-budget games like Forza Motorsport 5. Plus, although there's no shortage of modes, events eventually begin feeling exactly the same. If you're not the sort of racing fan who derives pleasure from tinkering with your tuning and re-racing the same circuits over and over again to shave off a fraction of a second on this or that turn, chances are this isn't the right racing game for you.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about online safety. What habits have you established to maintain your privacy and safety when playing games online? Do you think some types of online games attract more cyberbullies?
Talk about the pros and cons of riding motorcycles. Do you think their benefits outweigh the risks? Would you feel safe riding a motorcycle given its lack of rider protection?
- Platforms: PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
- Subjects: Science: engineering
- Skills: Thinking & Reasoning: strategy
- Price: $59.99
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online? Available online
- Developer: Namco Bandai
- Release date: November 4, 2014
- Genre: Racing
- Topics: Cars and Trucks
- ESRB rating: E for Alcohol Reference, Mild Violence
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