Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, off-road fun and frustration

Well good day (or night) to all all of you out there I just wanted to clear things up before I get into this week's review, these reviews that I do are of games I have recently played, which could be anything from any platform it could be Battlefield Bad Company 2 one week and Spyro the Dragon the next. The games I review are mostly new though I am currently deciding whether to review games that I'm going back to re-play. I'll also be adding some extra info to the top of the post to give you an idea of what I played it on (PC/Console), when it was released, who made it etc. 

Exclusively on: PlayStation 3
Genre: Racing
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Evolution Studios
Screenshots from

Motion Blur!

Indeed yes Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is an offroad racing game and is the sequel to the PlayStation 3 launch title Motorstorm  which was set in the real-life Monument Valley. I would have considered buying the first one as I had wanted it for awhile and it was relatively cheap now, but when I realised that it had no splitscreen multiplayer at all then that was the end of it. Pacific Rift  is set inside the pacific ocean, no just kidding it is set as you would expect on a fictional remote pacific island with everything a remote pacific island has to offer, beaches, forests, mud, water, waterfalls, mountains, active volcanoes and lava in other words not quite a very safe environment for a race. The "plot" of Motorstorm: Pacific Rift much like the last game is the Motorstorm Festival where you enter different race and compete with cpu players for points, these races can either be Normal Race, Eliminator (every 15 seconds last placed vehicle will be eliminated) or Speed (single vehicle slalom through a pre-determined course). There is also a few factors that each race can have whether it be finish in the allotted time or a wreck limit where you can only completely fuff it 3 times both for extra points. A good feature that I like is that each race you are restricted to a single or up to 4 types of vehicles per race, making things interesting where one race I had to go the off-road bike only to find that every other cpu opponent was a monster truck.

Hmm traffic's bad today

The selection of vehicles is plentiful ranging from small: Bikes, ATV's, Buggies, medium: Rally Cars, Racing Trucks, Mudpluggers and big: Big Rigs, Monster Trucks. All have their strengths and weaknesses, terrain handling, speed, maneuverability etc and it often takes some though as to what would be best for the situation. Most of the time there's a variety of different vehicles in the race at once but the game tends to keep the size scale even, though sometimes you find yourself on a bike or ATV then end up mercilessly pounded into the dirt by a big rig or monster truck. There's a good amount of customization as you can choose between different models and paintjobs of each vehicle as well as different drivers. The vehicles handle reasonably well there's a bit of mid-air rotation to help set yourself up for the landing but and some vehicles are quite hard to turn any kind of corner which is sharper then 45 degrees and often you have to do a powerslide to face yourself in the right direction then use the boost button to catch up but it's all in learning I suppose.

Ironic that the track their about to race is not at all suited to trucks

The tracks and environments is where the game really shines, the singleplayer game is divided into 4 zones Earth, Air, Fire and Water each with it's own tracks based around that theme. I really enjoyed this feature and each zone did live up to it's name, you can be in a buggy zooming through mud in dense jungle or flying through the sky on an ATV after jumping off a mountain or working out how you're supposed to travel over an active volcano in a semi trailer or maybe even smashing through a river trampling everything in your path with a monster truck. Racing on the tracks themselves needles to say take a bit of getting used to, playing for the first time measures from hectic to insane especially with 12 other kinds of vehicles around you, and often you do find yourself wondering "where the hell am I supposed to go" primarily because of the many different routes each track offers.

Dangerous? of course not, all those insurance forms were just routine

 There's some advice in the game though you should go on the track that best suits your vehicle i.e. motorbikes and ATV's go the high road with lots of jumps and mudpluggers and big rigs stay low on the flat track and power through the mud but this isn't always obvious and many a time I found myself crashing into a rock or a fence or falling off the track and getting respawned because I thought it was another route. I'd like to say these problems can be overcome with 'practice' but it's more often then not trial and error which makes things difficult for casual players or your friends joining in for multiplayer. I have to say though that Pacific Rift has some of the best looking and most exciting tracks I've seen in a racing game, if you can overcome the chaos of the other racers hindering you the track really reward the player for doing it right, landing that jump, activating that boost at the right time, or even taking out that other racer.

oh right, so you can't go that way after all

The multiplayer I would say is where the games really shines, there's nothing more fun than getting some friends together and having a bash with splitscreen, even if you're cruising around with your vast knowledge of what to do with each track and vehicle while their crashing every 10 seconds it's all in good humour. Online is ok if you're up for a challenge, the game isn't exactly a new title but there are still others playing, mostly from the US though, one particular person I was playing with had a voice which resembled a non-robotic "BonziBuddy" or "Sidney" from the Microsoft Speech API 4.0 One of the only things I don't like about the multiplayer is that you can modify the look of your driver and which type and paintjob your selected vehicle has but they can't as the selection of which type and paintjob of the rally car they select is randomized. The main problem I had with playing singleplayer is that it was immensely frustrating, you need to come in the top 3 in order to progress and in a game where there's about 20 different things that can go wrong and you can go from last to first or vice-versa within a matter of seconds you can understand why. I sometimes dreaded playing the game out of fear of what would happen but generally patience and dedication paid off.

Trouble brewing
Fun in a foursome

In conclusion Motorstorm Pacific Rift is a great affordable racing game for you and your friends, the singleplayer can be frustrating at times and the levels can be confusing, but the gameplay, visuals and the experience is worth the effort, and with the online aspect still reasonably active and a healthy amount of extras, unlockables and DLC packs this game is well worth it's cheap price.

This is a fairly long video but it showcases a lot what the game has to offer, I especially like the opening movie

Thas all for now, keep racing and keep your cool heh. And if you're into something slightly more post-apocalyptic Motorstorm: Apocalypse is now availiable.

If this was a real racing event I would be quite the fan.

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