Review: Motorstorm Apocalypse

March 20, 2011

Reviews

Motorstorm Apocalypse is the latest game in the intense arcade racing series pitting you in a fast paced and brutal race amongst a crazy festival for speed freaks. With thirteen different vehicle classes to race in from motorbikes to monster trucks variety really is the spice of life.

Unfortunately delayed everywhere worldwide except Europe (excluding UK) in the wake of the terrible disaster which has hit Japan, Motorstorm sees you racing through a fictional city during a string of natural disasters racing against the elements. You’ll be dodging your way across chasms formed by earthquakes, racing across the rooftops of crumbling buildings and sliding your way around a beach during a strike by a tornado, just to name a few incidents.

Excitement is everything in this game. Evolution studios have gone out of their way to make the action in this game rival that of previous Motorstorms and other racing games such as Split/Second. Whereas in Split/Second big explosions were triggered by people playing, in Motorstorm they’re triggered throughout the race depending what lap you’re on. After an intense race being chased down by Monster trucks and finally hitting the final lap the tables can quickly turn by a falling light house which block off an entire section of a track and force you to jump on to a massive tanker within a dock yard instead of going around it.

Thankfully Motorstorm doesn’t stray too far from its routes in regards with the split paths available in each track (see what I did there). There are still variations throughout the tracks making some routes more preferable than others based on vehicle class. From tight alleyways to muddy paths there is still a decision to be made for the fastest track time possible.

Five new vehicle classes join Apocalypse and each feels fresh and handles differently to the rest. Superbikes are faster than the standard dirtbike but, surprisingly, don’t handle the dirt as well. Supercars are extremely agile but a touch from an opponent will send you spinning to your death. Superminis have fantastic acceleration but will be crushed in a second by bigger cars. The Muscle Car and Chopper are both just badass.

The story mode in this game- wait, take a second to comprehend a driving game with an actual story. Ok, let’s try this again. The story mode in this game tells the story of the two day long Motorstorm festival from three different perspectives; the rookie Mash, the pro Tyler and the veteran Big Dog. As you make your way through each difficulty you’ll see the event through each perspective and although each is a self contained story the characters all connect with each other to make one single overarching story. Think Lost but without the confusion and polar bears.

The story is told through some rather pretty motion comics which are wonderfully detailed and well voiced, if not rather short. Actually, the entire story mode is quite short and really is just a race on every track on the game (with occasionally the eliminator mode thrown in instead of a race). Although this is a minor gripe considering the game has 40 tracks, I wish there was more of a grasping gameplay element like you find at the end of each person’s story.

Aside from the story mode there are 150 cards to find while racing in the story mode, this will take you forever as they are hidden in the most stupid places ever, although fun to hunt down. There’s also a hardcore festival mode unlocked for finishing first in story mode races, tough as nails, and a time attack mode for those wishing to race against the clock and ghosts of themselves.

The online multiplayer has had a vast overhaul since the last game and now feels similar to Call of Duty. You earn “chips” as you play matches online. These chips go towards your experience bar and help you rank up. Ranking up unlocks you new perks. Perks, although not game-changing, can help you customise to your exact play style. Perks are designed to mess with your car control, your boosting and your fighting. You’ll earn accolades and medals while playing, similar to Halo, and these all throw experience points at you.

The most interesting new feature is betting. Here you pick somebody who you believe you can beat and bet chips on them, and depending on how good they are is how many chips they are worth. They then pop up on your HUD while racing with details of what position they are in. Suddenly the race feels very personal with not a fight for coming in 1st place, but to beating them. The satisfaction gained in wrecking them is phenomenal and then you earn some chips for your effort. These can be cashed in or further bet to increase your betting multiplier. The more you further bet, the higher potential you have to earn, but a single slip up looses everything up to that point. A risky gamble indeed.

Motorstorm Apocalypse is everything that is needed for an evolution of the series and really improves upon everything that it could have. Although story mode is a bit short and simple, it provides a nice distraction from just racing and is genuinely interesting to engage in. Online is vastly improved and multiplayer as a whole is still one of the greatest in all racing games.

9/10

-Mevans

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