Motorstorm Apocalypse Review

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Release Date: 30/03/2011
Motorstorm Apocalypse on PlayStation 3 at GAME

Shaken and stirred

At the last moment, Sony opted to delay MotorStorm: Apocalypse a PS3 racing game set in a fictional city (a thinly-veiled San Francisco) suffering the effects of a giant earthquake when the terrible events in Japan cast a shadow over the very week of its release.

After a discreet interval of two weeks, the game's finally out. You might still feel a little uncomfortable playing it, but that's just a matter of personal taste and unfortunate coincidence. This is a completely inoffensive, highly enjoyable and spectacular slice of escapist action racing.

Apocalypse brings the MotorStorm series' trademark off-road racing on broad, branching routes and between vehicle classes ranging from dirt bikes to truck cabs to the city for the first time. It keeps its off-road flavour by virtue of the dynamic earthquake events, which bring down buildings around you and rip the road up beneath you as you race.

Motorstorm Apocalypse on PlayStation 3 at GAME

A racer's tale

Where most racing games including previous MotorStorms rely on complex unlocking, shopping or levelling systems for advancement through single-player, Apocalypse has a brave new approach modelling itself on action games like Call of Duty.

You play through the two-day "festival" in the city three times, from the perspectives of a Rookie, a Pro and a Veteran. There's a lightweight story, told in comic-book-style cut-scenes, to tie it all together, while the races are strictly linear you never get to choose your event or even vehicle.

On the other hand, no two races are the same, and thanks to the three takes on the action you get to see different tracks and parts of the city at different times of day, with variable weather conditions (there's an incredible storm early in the second day) and dynamic events changing the feel and layout of the tracks as you go.

Most of the races are fun and well-designed, and the difficulty progression is mostly smooth but there are a couple of ugly difficulty, made worse by the MotorStorm racing style, which can be random and frustrating. Expect to crash a lot, and for things to occasionally spiral out of your control.

Motorstorm Apocalypse on PlayStation 3 at GAME

Let's get wrecked

But Apocalypse isn't quite as haphazard as it seems to be, which you'll discover if you try the excellent Time Trial mode in Wreckreation. Wreckreation is an online and offline, free-form racing playground which balances the fun, original but strictly linear single-player game.

Here you can race with four friends in split-screen, including taking them into 16-player online races. Online, there's a ranking system you use to unlock new vehicles, perks and customisations, and you can even bet on the results of races to boost your winnings if you're not so hot.

Online races are a hoot, as is the Time Trial mode which gives you the time and space to learn which routes are best for each vehicle round each track, and to study the rewarding boost system whereby you can cool your engine by driving through water or catching air.

It's a shame that offline quick racing or time trial don't allow you to earn credits or medals or unlock stuff, though; it means most solo racers will probably put the game down after they've finished the Festival mode and not come back to it.

But MotorStorm: Apocalypse is an entertaining arcade racer all round. It will satisfy fans of the series with its varied vehicles and clever boost system, and solid feature set; but it will also draw in the curious with its innovative single-player, impressive technology (including the best 3D to date) and jaw-dropping, blockbuster movie moments.

GAME's Verdict

The Good

  • A ton of impressive, noisy spectacles
  • Slick, streamlined and varied single-player mode
  • Route choice and clever boost mechanic bring some depth

The Bad

  • The racing can be chaotic and random, with evil difficulty spikes
  • Some rough graphical detail under all those amazing effects
  • No way to level up and unlock goodies offline
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Pegi Rating:

Suitable for people aged and over.

Genre

Racing

Customer Rating:

No rating yet

SKU:

Reviews-183614
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