In 2012, there’s one game that I’ve spent more time playing than any other, and that includes the insane amount of hours I put into Oblivion in 2007 (a small matter that almost caused my disgruntled wife to file for divorce). I’ve been careful ever since to balance my gaming addiction with family life. The fact that I now have a young daughter means there’s less time for games that require months of investment, though sometimes it’s hard not to fall back into that trap when titles like Guild Wars 2, Borderlands 2 and Assassin’s Creed 3 attempt to lure me into their immersive game worlds.
The beauty of PlayStation Vita is that its portability means I can play it anywhere I like so gaming on it doesn't have to interfere with my family life at all. I can take it on the train when I head down to London, bring it on the plane when I’m off on holiday, power it up on the loo, and sneak it out of my coat pocket whenever I have five minutes alone to get my gaming fix. And in 2012, there’s one game that I’ve found to be my perfect escape: MotorStorm RC.
I’ve been playing MotorStorm religiously since launch and last night I finally reached the grand total of 192 medals, completing the entire Festival mode. It may not sound like much of an accomplishment to those who may have beaten it months ago, but getting three medals in every race has been the most enjoyable gaming challenge I’ve had this year, providing hours upon hours of fun, frustration and fist-pumping moments.
The amount of content for such a low-priced game is outstanding. After reaching the medal goal, I assumed that my time would now be spent trying to beat the track times of friends and attempting to Platinum the game, but I then discovered there was DLC available. Though the new content, the Carnival and Pro-Am expansions, were released months ago I didn’t even know they existed until I went online last night in the hope to find news that a MotorStorm RC 2 is in development. Costing approximately £5, I immediately downloaded the new challenges and now have a staggering total goal of 312 medals to obtain. This is probably going to take me many more months to complete; and I can’t wait.
So, what makes MotorStorm RC so addictive? Well, in terms of mechanics, MotorStorm RC couldn't be simpler, but like many classic games it benefits from its accessibility, smooth controls and great level design. Moving an RC car or truck around a track with just the two analogue sticks feels so right, yet learning when to accelerate, break and drift around the dozens of courses available becomes part of its hypnotic allure. The more times I ride around a course, the more familiar I become with it and the faster I can whizz around; and shaving 0.5 of a second off your track time can be the difference between winning and losing.
When you’re so close to getting the time that you need, it motivates you to keep trying. It’s this simple challenge and reward structure, coupled with the beautifully designed tracks, that makes MotorStorm RC such an addictive title. To further extend its replay value, Pitfall, the online feature where you can view lap times and records of other players, has provided some great competition too. The community is fiercely competitive and seeing a friend beat my score by a fraction of a second always motivates me to try harder.
The only thing that MotorStorm RC lacks is a true online multiplayer mode, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that this will arrive if Evolution Studios do develop a second iteration. Even without it though, the amount of content and immense replay value is truly stunning for its modest price-tag. MotorStorm RC is also available on PlayStation 3, but it's a perfect match for PlayStation Vita and my favourite game of 2012.