Motorstorm: Apocalypse Review

Note: I apologize for the lateness of this review. The day I received my review copy of the game, a mile-wide tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is where I live. That set me back a bit.

The previous two PS3 Motorstorm games were in a class all their own, and I wouldn’t insult them by directly comparing them to anything but each other. In the arcade racer genre, they were peerless. (Sorry, Criterion.) That isn’t exactly the case with Apocalypse, though, which, while sill awesome and a worthy entry in the Motorstorm franchise, isn’t totally fresh the way its predecessors were and are.


Motorstorm: Apocalypse (PS3 [Reviewed])
Developer: Evolution Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Release Date: May 03, 2011
MSRP: $59.99

That seems strange even to me, being that I’m talking about a game in which players race through a city suffering massive earthquakes and a hurricane in a variety of on- and off-road vehicles. But just minutes with this game brought me a serious feeling of deja vous — what you’re getting here is the Motorstorm version of Split/Second.

That’s not a bad thing, since Split/Second is a GREAT racing game. And Apocalypse is bigger and better than that Disney title, and it goes places Black Rock Studio never imagined. Here’s a movie analogy for you: Split/Second is Michael Bay’s Transformers and Apocalypse is Bad Boys II. Both games are pretty, fetishistic and feature many explosions, but Apocalypse is far more unhinged. There are even people standing on the tracks that you can run over; it’s cool, though, because these people are usually throwing things at you or shooting guns, and the characters in the game (I’ll get to that in a minute) say they’re crazy.

Apocalypse is classic Motorstorm gameplay; experienced Motorstormers will be able to jump right in, and newcomers will have as much trouble with it as everyone does the first time they play a Motorstorm game. The default controls have been altered a bit, but it’s an improvement, and you can change them if you so choose.

And it’s just as fun as you want it to be and more. The more mundane tracks are as much fun as any of the old tracks, and when Apocalypse gets really batty it’ll blow your mind, such as when you find your self driving from the roof of a skyscraper into a window of another skyscraper, then onto another roof and then onto the side of a skyscraper that you just watched fall over. That description absolutely does not to the experience justice.

The festival (aka the single-player campaign) has been completely revamped. Progression is now perfectly linear — you have to qualify in one race before you can move on to the next, rather than accruing points to unlock a new tier, and you don’t have any vehicle options on any of the races. This sucks, because it means you absolutely are going to get stuck when you’re forced you use a vehicle you aren’t comfortable with. For me, those vehicles are the monster truck (f–k the monster truck) and the mini cars, and I had to redo those races many times. Thankfully, you can try courses in “wreckreation” mode (where you play multiplayer or free race) without having to unlock them in festival.

There are three difficulty levels that you’ll progress through: rookie, pro and veteran. You have to go through these in order, which is fine, and there’s a story that goes along with each level. Yeah, there’s a story this time, with motion comic cutscenes and everything. The cutscenes are silly and weird, and often have nothing at all to do with the races, like when the pro-level character hunts down a guy who killed his friend. The cutscenes do look pretty good in 3D, though.

Yeah, the 3D. It looks nice for the most part. When you’re on courses with a lot of debris flying around the screen — which is a lot of them — though, I found the 3D made it more difficult to actually race. There’s only so much clutter the eye can take when dealing with a trick like 3D, and Apocalypse exceeds the limit often. Turning on 3D also reduces the resolution, which is noticeable because there are a lot more jaggies in that mode, and so 2D is generally the more pleasant experience.

Another consequence of all the clutter is that you’ll run in to more invisible objects than in previous Motorstorm games. How often you’ll encounter these objects depends on your luck — I, apparently, have bad luck.

There is multiplayer, too, in the form of four-player splitscreen and online. Obviously, I have not had the chance to evaluate the online portion of this PS3-exclusive title, but the splitscreen works the way it should.

So, yeah, Motorstorm: Apocalypse. It’s a blast. Really. If you like arcade racing games, Apocalypse is as much of a must-own as the others. That’s really all there is to it.

Pros:

  • It’s f–king Motorstorm
  • Brilliantly creative tracks
  • It’s f–king Motorstorm

Cons:

  • Cutscenes?
  • Invisible objects :(

Final score: 90/100

NOTE: 3D stuff doesn’t count in our review scores

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2 Comments on Motorstorm: Apocalypse Review

praveen

On May 9, 2011 at 12:29 pm

good

barneyco

On May 13, 2011 at 4:14 pm

This looks like one to get when it’s $30-40.