Review: Motorstorm: Apocalypse
As you may notice this review is late. Very late. First it is due to my PS3 dying (Yellow light of Death) and then getting fixed and then the Japanese crisis and the sensitivity toward that issue and then Judgement day took place with PSN being down for almost a month. Thanks for understanding.
- Worth The Time?Yes, but for some reason deep down inside I feel that it isn't.
- Things LovedThe Motion comics, the destruction, the wide variety of vehicle choices, the chaos, the madness, the clever difficulty modes, the characters, the customisation, the 3D Support
- Things HatedThe somewhat cheap take down system, the confusion caused by destruction (sometimes you have no idea which way the track is going), because of all the carnage some textures don't look all that great, but only of you look closely. So if you play on a monitor you'll notice this, but it is not major. I don't have a 3D TV
- RecommendationIf you are looking for an arcade racer with all the thrills and frills. but to the 10th root than this is for you. Reality is thrown down the wormhole caused by dividing by zero and replaced by fun, chaos, a mini war and some cool destruction physics. The customisation options available in the 'My Motorstorm' mode are awesome and just add to the all-round great package that this game is. If you are in to simulator racers such as Gran Turismo then you might still enjoy this, but your text book driving skills will have no place here
- Name: Motorstorm: Apocalypse
- Genre: Racing
- Players: 1-6
- Multiplayer: Online
- Platforms: PS3
- Developer: Evolution Studios
- Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
- Price: R600
- Reviewed On: PS3
The Early Warning System:
An unnamed western North American City (obviously San Fransisco) is evacuated due to an early warning, revealing that it shall be the site of the mother of all earthquakes combined. The stage is set, but not the circuits — not yet anyway.
While the above was short, so are early warnings. Well, at least I think they should be anyway. These are the things that got me into liking the game.
As we have become accustomed to, in our lives filled with randomness, it should surprise no one that whilst the whole city was evacuated, an Aircraft Carrier full of super-macho adrenaline junkies that have the combined funding of all evil African superpowers has arrived. These junkies have decided that this abandoned city is the perfect place to host their two day wreckreation festival. As anyone that has played the previous two instalments in the series will know, the wreckreation festival traditionally takes place in some remote outdoor location. Well that has changed, and this change brings in five never seen before vehicle classes making the total vehicle class list look like this:
- Dirt Bikes
- ATV’s (quads)
- Super Minis
- Muscle Cars
- Super Cars
- Rally Cars
- Racing Trucks
- Big Rigs
- Monster Trucks
All of these vehicles are amazing. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, and knowing these advantages and disadvantages can make a tremendous impact on the outcome of your race. This is not a racing simulator, but an arcade racer meant for pure fun hence, licences were not purchased for these vehicles so names might differ slightly. A seasoned petrol-head or motor-enthusiast will spot the differences quite quickly.
On the point of mentioning that this is an arcade racer, don’t expect realistic physics, because those are thrown out the window from day one. The only super realistic physics here are the destruction physics. You will actually come to a point where you will want to crash into objects, or fellow competitors, just to see what the out come will be.
And, when you do crash, it is beautiful. I never thought destruction could look so good. Thing is you can pause and take pictures of it and these pictures can be exported to your PS3 Hard drive through an option in the MY Motorstorm sub-menu. The only problem is that it is done quite stupidly by having to select a single photo at a time and exporting it. Tedious work, especially if you have quite a few. Even viewing them is tedious because you have to chose one and then press circle to exit and then use the directional buttons to select the next and so on. No slideshow. Really illogical.
If you don’t want to end up destroying yourself whilst crashing into an opponent (or want to be all tactical) then you can use the revamped boost system.
The basics of the boost system are pretty much the same. Hold X in to go faster. Keep X in too long you go BOOM! However, in Motorstorm Apocalypse you will be able to keep boost in a bit longer, or minimise your boost cool down times. Driving through water cools your boost down faster or if you are already boosting, then you can boost for longer since the water limits the heating period. But, beware, your boost will heat up quicker if you drive through fire, or get shot at, or Molotov cocktailed. Also if you don’t boost or accelerate whilst catching some air, your boost will cool down rapidly while flying.
Motorstorm’s revamped boost system also gives you the opportunity to boost yourself to either side, allowing you to take sharp corners at speed. And this also, more importantly, allows you to total your opponents vehicle.
The Mother of all Earthquakes / Armageddon!
As far as the plot goes.. Well, you shouldn’t be playing the game for this. The story mode is the two day festival played through the eyes of three racers. This is quite clever, because each racer represents a different difficulty level.
- Mash “The Rookie”
- Tyler “The Pro”
- Big Dog “The Veteran”
You will see a different story through each character. While there isn’t much of a story, the way it is conveyed is great. The ‘story’, so to say, is viewed through short motion comics between races. Think ‘Waltz With Bashir’ — just happier. The motion comics are fun and don’t take up much time. They focus more on your character and usually will have you wanting to win the next race just to see more.
In the story mode races you are not given the option to choose the type of vehicle you want to race with. However this is not as bad as it seems as it makes races more challenging. In Quick Race modes and Multiplayer you are given the freedom of choosing. Not being given the option to chose your vehicle for these races will force you to utilise the vehicle you are given to its full potential, avoiding its weaknesses.
The following sold it to me:
The utter chaos and destruction. The track hardly stays the same. Buildings, bridges and cranes can collapse. You name it, it can happen. The dynamic environment adds an extra feeling that just makes the game standout. While you think you’ve covered all your bases, ready to win, you’re hit with a missile. You never know what to expect.
Hit by a missile, you say? You see, in the city there’s a vinyl-fame wearing group of wackos that refuse to leave and a PMC (private military company) has been hired to clean them out. Guess what, you are in the middle of it. You may witness full scale battles taking place. I’ve seen a beach invasion composed of landing craft, troops, armour and artillery as I zoomed past. Thing is, the PMC’s will engage you if they have nothing better to do. They may even send a helicopter after you. Not to mention, the wackos will be watching you. Sometimes the wackos will watch you for one lap, only to be shooting at you or petrol bombing you the next.
The tracks, as mentioned, are ever changing and overall interesting. Some of them are insane, such as the one circuit that is based on rooftops. The urban landscape definitely offers more than the remote outdoors ever did.
An ultimate aspect in the game is the customisation options. There are so many things you can do to customise the appearance of any vehicle in the game. No matter how many words I type about this, it will never suffice. While it’s nothing groundbreaking, it’s just cool.
And once you’re done, you can share your creations with others.
The multilayer modes. Online and offline.
What is great to know is that there’s offline four-way split-screen multilayer. Absolutely magnificent, if you have some friends or family over.
And then online multiplayer.
16 player races with fully customisable vehicles. The multiplayer actually takes cues from online shooters in the form of deeply customizable vehicles and races. You earn XP in the form of Chips that can be used to purchase emblems and new vehicle parts to make your machine the ultimate bad-ass vehicle out there. However, it doesn’t follow online shooters in the aspect of game modes since there are only three. The exact three from the Festival Mode. To be fair, it is a racing game and there cannot be millions of modes.
The online races are much more fun than the single player races, but are a million times more hectic. Therefore, you will crash a million times more. While all seems to be good, there is a slight problem: With the game/network deciding what position you are in, it’s quite a regular occurrence that you zoom past an opponent in 2nd place, only to still be listed as 3rd.
The game has its problems, and the phrase rough around the edges is applied literally in this instance. But, in the end it doesn’t even matter. The game offers a fun arcade racing experience with chaos and destruction on a number not found on the Richter scale. The story line is choppy and the single player lacks options, but the overall it delivers and serves it intention.