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MotorStorm Apocalypse PS3 Review - -

Gameplay 8.2
Graphics 8.8
Sound 7.9
Value 8.0
Distributor: Sony
Review Date:
March 2011
James Wright


Motorstorm Apocalypse

The PS3 exclusive Motorstorm returns for 2011, once again delving into the off-road world of racing but this time the game takes place in fictitious city (someone say San Francisco) that has been hit by the mother of all earthquakes . So what better way to celebrate the end of civilization, then by having a festival and the mother of all races? This my friends is Motorstorm Apocalypse!

Unfortunately for Sony, the timing of this release could not be any worse, due to the devastating quake in Christchurch New Zealand and the Tsunami in Japan. With that said, Sony has decided to hold off the release in New Zealand that may be released at a later date. Time will tell.

All seriousness aside, Motorstorm: Apocalypse uses the devastating quake of its fictional city as the backdrop of this sturdy racer that not only boasts a flawless control system but true next generation graphics that will put a smile on any gamers face as you drive all sorts of vehicles from motorbikes to trucks and my favourite, the muscle cars. Just to go one level beyond its competitors, Motorstorm: Apocalypse supports 3D so any gamer out there with the latest 3DTV's will be able to enjoy this game on a totally new level.

This racing game even contains a story as you follow three characters to the lead up of this earthquake and after it but best of all, it's told from a totally different perspective and is sometimes quite interesting to see how they overlap with their own personal reactions.

The story of Motorstorm: Apocalypse is as clichéd as they come with lots of stereotypes and over the top character moments. In order to complete the story mode, you need to engage in around 30 races that are progressed by some cutscenes that generally involve some over the top extreme sport clichés that might make you shudder with its tackiness. These cutscenes are quite weird as well due to their comic like appearance which doesn't really suit the premise of this extreme sport game.

However if you can put the story aside, Motorstorm: Apocalypse is a relatively decent racing game that ups the ante of the craziness from previous Motorstorm games. The story does serve as a progression system that requires you to complete a variety of different races in order to unlock new tracks and vehicles. However, in the story mode, there are a number of different racing games from time trials to elimination but the fun part of the game is racing all these strange vehicles and attempting to beat your opponents while the world falls apart around you. It's really awesome to see the city crumble around you in real-time that is quite a technical feat and does add an element of nerves to the game as you attempt to out race it.

If you want a break from the story mode, the game does support local player split and online multiplayer. Local multiplayer actually allows you to race up to four players via split screen that is impressive, especially if you have a large flat screen TV. However where the game does shine in multiplayer is via the net that allows you to race other Motorstorm from around the world with a really cool matchmaking system, ensuring that matches are evenly run. Off-line play offers you access to one off game modes that is good for those quick games or gaining your Motorstorm: Apocalypse experience.
The vehicles that you drive all control quite differently, whether it's the monster trucks that are hard to steer or the fast paced buggies and motorbikes that sometimes make sticking to the track difficult. The controls on the DualShock controller work quite well with all the buttons mapped well and nothing seems out of place. Your goal is simple, win whatever race you are involved in and avoid any obstacles in the way, including devastating drops to the ground.

To assist in your victory, the player has access to a boost mechanism that allows you to turbo your way further in the tracks but constant use does create an issue whereby your engine will overheat. One trick to prevent this is to release the boost while you are in the air which in essence, cools your engine so it's quite a strategy to keep this balanced. Given this, the game is quite easy to play and is a true arcade racing game.

Gaming environments are just as crazy as ever with nine different environments of mass destruction courtesy of Mother Nature. In this almost Mad Max styled world, there are a few highlights in the game such as Skyline where you race across the tops of destroyed buildings which looks fantastic. Add in a variety of special effects and decent lighting and Apocalypse is a good looking game. There are some realistic weather effects in the game, especially the rain that creates a challenge to some of the tracks.

The stars of the game are the vehicles themselves and the perfect frame rate that rarely drops. Colours are quite muted which suits the storyline well and as mentioned, there is a 3D mode to make these cars jump out of your TV. Voice acting is a little over the top but the only issue about the sound is that the licensed tracks of the previous games are missing which is a shame as this has been replaced with generic rock and electronic music.
In the end, Motorstorm: Apocalypse is an enjoyable game to play, however it's very hard to beat the original premise of the first game and continue being unique. Even though it doesn't offer much in terms of originality and furthering this genre, it is a decent racer that boasts a good control system and an enjoyable single-player mode. The highlight is the online multiplayer that does make the game more addictively challenging as you race against real people thanks to the great matchmaking system. This game is not for everyone and if you're looking for a realistic racer, you might want to try Gran Turismo 5 as opposed to this arcade racer that harkens back to a simpler time. It's definitely a no-brainer racer but it is fun.


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