MotorStorm: Apocalypse Review
- Posted April 1st, 2011 at 15:37 EDT by Steven Williamson
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Stimulating, frustrating and visually spectacular, MotorStorm: Apocalypse takes arcade racing to a whole new thrilling level.
- Fast-paced, aggressive races really get the blood pumping
- The carnage around you is quite spectacular
- Rewarding multiplayer levelling system
- Lighter vehicles spin-out too easily
- Inconsistent A.I. Sometimes they are too good, others times they barely try
- The frustration of crashing frequently and being placed in last position.
(continued from previous page) ...speed in which you move across the tracks never fails to excite. Nonetheless, it can be frustrating when the smallest error in judgement knocks you off course due to the loose handling of a vehicle or the unpredictability of the environmental changes. Similarly, the A.I. can be so unforgiving that one error in a race can immediately knock you back from first place to last. MotorStorm: Apocalypse can be quite inconsistent in this respect, sometimes tossing you back in the middle of the pack when you crash, and other times putting you at the back at the rear. Like previous games in the series though, it’s all about knowing the course and trying to learn its layout well. The first time you play through each track you are going to crash, probably quite frequently, but as get to learn where the environment changes, and discover the optimal routes, it’s quite a buzz swerving, swaying and jumping through all the mayhem.
Track design is absolutely insane, with multiple pathways through each map offering plenty of opportunity to try and tactically outwit your competitors. You’ll race across roof-tops on a speed bike; down a shore-line as a tsunami hits, swerving out of the way of grounded vessel; and right through the centre of buildings as they crash to the ground. Technically, it’s brilliant and visually it’s a real treat to see such impressive destruction occur while you try to focus on the path ahead. Nonetheless, it's sometimes difficult to retain that focus because around every corner there's something impressive to see. Having had the privilege of playing MotorStorm: Apocalypse in 3D, there's no doubt that Evolution Studios’ racer is the main game so far on PlayStation 3 that really does take advantage of the technology and bring the action crashing into your home.
The thirteen customisable vehicle classes provide a variety of handling models, some which are far better than others. Some of the vehicles from previous games, such as the MX Motocross bike, are tough to control, even on the straights. On the flip side, some of the new additions, like the superbikes and muscle cars, provide a much more responsive and stable ride. Nonetheless, the MotorStorm series has never offered an accurate simulation of these vehicles, so fans of the previous games shouldn't be surprised to see some of the lighter vehicles spin out fairly easily when nudged on the back-end. Even then, it's still great fun being able to knock opponents off the track with a side swipe, and immensely satisfying if you manage to do this and gain the upper hand right near the end of a race. Using your boost while trying not to over-heat your engine also adds a further tactical layer - if you see your engine catch on fire you can ride through water to cool it down. The fact that you can’t pick and choose your vehicles during the campaign is a bit of a shame, but you can go back and play through again with any ride; and, of course, there’s no such problem online, where you can pick, choose and customize whichever vehicles you like.
Though more race-type variation would have been nice in the Festival Mode, there are collectibles to hunt for, while the real highlight comes from the six Eliminator races. Here, you need to ensure you’re never in last place as a countdown timer wipes out whoever lags behind. These races rack those tension and excitement levels up a notch as you really put your foot down in an effort to avoid being eliminated. If you were to play the Festival Mode from beginning to end and win each race it really wouldn’t take you that long to complete, but the fact that the tracks and the racers are so unforgiving and challenging will most definitely ensure that you’ll need to keep replaying tracks over and over again. Overall, it's a campaign that isn't without its faults, but is full of drama, intensity and excitement.
The addition of a four-player, split screen offline mode is an absolute God-send, but the multiplayer mode is really where MotorStorm: Apocalypse’s longevity lies. Sixteen players can go head-to-head across all the tracks from the single player campaign, with a plethora of options available. With the ability ... (continued on next page)