Also On: iOS
Developer: Vivid Games
Publisher: Vivid Games
My first ever review here was about FIM Speedway GP 2012 and I remember it being quite negative. I mentioned the controls being limited to simply turning left, there only being one racing line and that if you drifted off of it, you crippled your chances of ever winning that race. Well I’m happy to say that some of these issues have been fixed. Here’s what I think of the overall experience.
The goal hasn’t changed at all, but speedway isn’t one that has much variety. You race around an oval track on a fast bike with no brakes. Your aim: Four laps in, you want to be in front. What is hard to capture is the excitement of watching a well timed pass, the planning of a rider, luring the person in front into covering the inside line while he takes the outside, gathering speed to swoop around. Or doing the opposite and cutting back through the inside to take the lead.
This is my first issue with SGP2013. There is still only one true line, the inside. The issue with taking the inside line on a corner, especially on the tighter tracks, is that you inevitably have to slow down or you will come off of the bike which allows somebody who takes a perfect corner on the outside to go around you. This isn’t represented at all. The inside line barely costs you any speed and the outside does because it’s not on the programmed ‘perfect line’.
That this is the only issue I can bring up is both a triumph and also a massive failure on Vivid’s part. The versatility of tracks in real life is what adds to the excitement of watching Speedway on TV or live. Removing this from the game cripples it and turns it into a simple follow-the-leader every single heat, or if you’re coming from behind then it’s a simple “hold the inside”. Another issue is that the AI hasn’t been told that it’s the only workable route, making the whole thing criminally easy.
Vivid have done some things right though. They have brought back the ability to drift to the right intentionally and also remove a tearoff, clearing your vision. While not exactly earth-shattering changes, bringing them back does largely improve the experience above the previous iteration.
A few things have been added to this new version to spice it up a little. The first, and most of note, is the use of helmet-cam. This is something borrowed from the live events and you will see everything through the eyes of the rider you control. This is to bring you more into it, give you the first-person perspective as you race around the track. The second is a link with the Speedway Grand Prix itself. When a live GP is on the game will allow you to ride the heats as they happen, with the correct lineup, and any of the in-game cash earned will be doubled.
This was never going to be the most visually beautiful piece out there. Being a mobile-exclusive title the visuals show that. However, a marked improvement has been made each year from one version to the next and this one. Considering the platforms, and the variance Android has, it is a testament that the game looks this good at all. The only notable issue I’ve got is that the upper body looks like it could just slide right off of the legs at any second.
Not much has changed on the audio side. It still sounds good, listening to the engines roar but the whole thing gets very old fast. During races the same track is looped over and over, and a second track is looped when in the menu’s. Eventually that will drive you crazy, so I prefer to play with the volume turned off completely.
Is this a good experience? Well, yes. I enjoy taking the place of Niels Kristian Iversen in the Grand Prix and being able to be one of your favorites is what a sports game is all about. While this isn’t the best piece of work Vivid has put out, seemingly focusing more on aesthetic appeal at the expense of improving gameplay further than any previous version, I can say I don’t regret spending £1.49 on it. Then again, I am biased due to being a Speedway fan and wanting to see more games based on Speedway.