by Chris Davis
reviewed on PS3
Three Days, So Many More Races (cont.)
Each track you race on feels unique and enjoyable, especially given the game’s mechanics. Twists, turns, and jumps are more common in the game than straightaways and multiple routes through sections of a track almost give a sense of exploration to the player. However, these routes can, and will, be cut off by an event, such as a collapsing building, which alters the flow of a race. By the final lap of a race it often feels that you are on a completely different track from what you were playing just a few minutes earlier. Each race in the singleplayer is scripted through, so memorization is even more crucial than in most racing games.
Related to the story, Mother Nature isn’t the only thing out to get the player. The two factions that vie for control of The City, a private military company and the remaining anarchistic civilians, are none too pleased to have the Motorstorm Racing Festival there. As such, you’ll find yourself trying to dodge Molotov cocktails thrown by the rebels (running over them á la Grand Theft Auto is commonplace) while the PMC rains down missiles upon you and your competitors from a pursuing attack helicopter. While they do not truly interfere too much throughout the course of the game, it is not uncommon for them to throw a monkey wrench in your plans by hitting you with a Molotov just as your boost has hit its limit causing your vehicle to explode.
One of the Pack
Like the iterations before it, Motorstorm Apocalypse comes with a robust online mode that makes up for the dismal offerings of the first game and expands further upon the second. New to the game, and taking a page from the shooter genre, is a perk system. As players progress online through matches, they’ll unlock new perks to get a leg up on the competition. These perks don’t translate over to the singleplayer mode however, so don’t look to be grinding offline like Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit’s Autolog system.
While the multiplayer contains the same amount of content and gameplay modes as the singleplayer, there are several issues present that serve to be a detriment to the experience. For one, the multiplayer doesn’t feature the dynamic, changing levels of the singleplayer and are instead static in design. This is confusing considering that Split/Second, the closest title to Motorstorm Apocalypse in terms of gameplay design, came out last year and featured destructible environments much in the same way Apocalypse uses them in the singleplayer. The result is disappointing, to say the least, since you can’t watch a friend slam into the wing of a crashing airplane, but once you get past that, the experience is still fun.
The main problem is the game’s matchmaking system, or rather, the lack of one. In this day and age in which any strong multiplayer community needs to incorporate a ranking and balancing system to keep the competition, well, competitive, it is upsetting that the game pits beginning players against high-ranked, veteran ones in almost every single lobby you enter. Coupled with the perk system, the outcome of a race is usually predictable.
Use the Boost to Get Through!
While Apocalypse’s story may be one of the most irrelevant things ever introduced into a racing game, Evolution makes up for this abomination by presenting the player with some of the most balanced and fun racing action ever to enter the genre. You’d be hard-pressed to find a better racing game this year than the new Motorstorm, so if you’ve been waiting on a new racing experience that doesn’t involve the initials NFS, this is a great alternative.
Fun varied racing gameplay, great tracks
Disgraceful storyline, unbalanced multiplayer matchmaking