The original MotorStom took a new angle on arcade racing with its diverse vehicle selection and its huge tracks, where you could choose your own path. Its sequel, Pacific Rift, took the action from the desert and canyons to the tropical islands, where the natural forces had shaped the landscape new. Now where going towards the biggest festival in MotorStorm history, to the Apocalypse! /pun.
The single player of MotorStorm Apocalypse is, like its predecessors, linked to the big, extreme festival, where all the craziest drivers around the world compete against each other to be the best. Unlike before where you chose only the track and the vehicle, now Evolution Studios is trying to tell a story between the races with dynamic comics. The story is divided into three sections, each with its own character and story that cross over each other. The story isn’t winning any Oscars anytime soon, but it does its job to entertain you.
MotorStorm’s biggest selling point is its destructive environments which brings you new racing experiences. It shapes the tracks new, opening new and closing old routes that you used on the last lap, forcing you to adapt to the current routes. In this portion the game shines. Unlike in Split/Second, where the players did damage to each other, in Apocalypse the buildings, roads and other junk will be randomly destroyed, thus making each race different. The race can be quite ”normal”, where only an earthquake will do its damage or maybe it’s more extreme with a train flying of its rails, a building collapsing, the earth splitting in half… and all of this on the first lap!
The first races are going to be learning the different tracks and catastrophes, which is understandable, but the swag on the track during the races will confuse you a lot and make you wonder. On other tracks you can crash through windows and even small, thin walls, whereas on other tracks your vehicle will be completely destroyed from the smallest woodfence (considering your speed of course). Though, all of this is possible to bypass by learning the tracks well, some logic on the ”Smash through or avoid” would have been welcome. Also the game’s hectic feel creates simultaneously a nice atmosphere, but it also distracts when a tsunami happens to splash the whole screen full of water.
Gameplay-wise it’s like its predecessors and other arcade racers. By competing in races and earning the required ranking you advance to the next race. Though this time the vehicle is predetermined. Most of the races are basic racing, but there are also Elimination (last player drops out every lap) and Time trial modes.The key to success is the right usage of boost. By boosting you increase your speed, but boost too much and you will expode your engine. The engine will cool off with time, when it’s not used or you can drive through water to speed the cool down. Fire and other heatsources in turn heat up the boost faster.
Apocalypse’s soundtrack is basic. The vehicles make noise, but nothing earth-shattering. The music consists of a numerous Drum and Bass remixes that, though fit the hectic and upbeat atmosphere of the game, I would have liked more variety. Like in Pacific Rift, you can play your own custom soundtracks. Unfortunately the same problems still haunt Apocalypse. Loading time are still a bit too long and the AI is frustrating. Especially in the last races where one small mistake on the last lap could cost you the whole race. race. Though this time the vehicle is predetermined. Most of the races are basic racing, but there are also Elimination (last player drops out every lap) and Time trial modes.The key to success is the right usage of boost. By boosting you increase your speed, but boost too much and you will explode your engine. The engine will cool off with time, when it’s not used or you can drive through water to speed the cool down. Fire and other heat sources in turn heat up the boost faster.
Multiplayer is still the heart of MotorStorm. The game supports 16 player online races with online split-screen and 1-4 players offline with bots. By winning races, you earn chips, currency, that boost your level or alternatively you can bet your just won chips on the hopes on increasing the pot. The betting is not a very deep mechanic, but it brings a nice amount of excitement to the races. By gaining levels you unlock new vehicles and different avatars, which make your profile more unique. There are plenty of different challenges that, by completing them, will earn you more chips and new parts for your rides, and there are a lot of parts, so there will be some time spend collecting them.
Technically the game works fine. It might take a while before you find a game, but after finding it, everything goes smooth from selecting your ride to finishing the race. Lag is almost not consistent, so you can smash other drivers to walls without concern. Motorstorm Apocalypse is also one of the growing amount of PS3 titles that can also be played in 3D. Some players may prefer this and some may feel it’s just a gimmick or a distraction. Either way, the option is there for you to choose.
MotorStorm: Apocalypse is a great game. Despite the annoying AI, you’ll play the single player through with pleasure. And even though the loading times are long, it can be forgiven since the races are so much fun to play. If you want the maximum amount of entertainment head on to multiplayer, where you can either alone or via split screen get your moneys worth.