It’s not often I’m overcome with the desire to mute a game from the get-go, but Milestone’s MotoGP 13 is possessed of such an impressive array of irritating sounds that I had little choice. The audio assault begins in the opening menu, where prospective gamers are treated to a selection of samples of generic-racing-game-soundtrack 101, which segue swiftly into introductory-exposition-by-standard-narration-guy for dummies, before finally completing a marvellous trifecta of mediocrity with the bikes themselves. These are big powerful machines, so why exactly do they sound like the dirt bike from Vice City?
Setting out to disappoint the hardcore gamer from the very outset, the career mode has been relegated to a lowly fourth place in the main menu, shunned for shallow, more cerebral options which require little commitment (or thought) from the user. But neither that, nor the game’s hideous soundtrack would be too much of a problem if it weren’t for the fact that when you inevitably opt for the more immediate game types, you’re presented with ten minutes of fairly mundane bike racing. Giving the split-screen multiplayer a run out conjured a little amusement, but primarily because we spent the entirety of the race trying to knock people off their bikes and pop the biggest wheelies.
Eventually making my way to career mode, I find a little hope and MotoGP 13 finds a little redemption. The added extras and attention to detail in the career mode are impressive, as you earn fans, create team interest and make your way up the ranks from Moto2 to the impressively (read: dangerously) fast MotoGP category. The Parc Ferme, interactive, walkable garage and ability to talk tactics with your team mates create a level of immersion missing from the usual fare, but that impression of immersion is shattered when you’re once again plunked onto the back of your bike and forced to careen around some of the most poorly put together environments since Porsche Challenge on the PSX. This game is ugly, there’s no doubt about it and the graphics are in desperate need of a serious update.
Once you’re on the track and weaving your way through some impressively high octane corners, you’re able to forget for a moment how generally dissatisfying MotoGP 13 really is, but those brief moments of satisfaction are few and far between and completing the occasional perfect overtaking manoeuvre with glee doesn’t make up for the game’s short comings. True to life, the bikes feel heavy and getting your head around the braking system will take you a little while, whilst the helmet cam is a wonderful addition, making it clear just how insane the adrenaline junkies who do this for a living really are.
Ultimately, the game suffers from a lack of polish and the genuine attentions of an enthusiastic development and design team. Brief moments of intense on-bike satisfaction and some clever gimmicks can’t make up for an anaemic lack of character and ultimately, MotoGP13 left me feeling unsatisfied.