Motorstorm: Pacific Rift
Motorstorm was one of the few PS3 launch games that managed to sell decent. Evolution Studios, the developers, thought they could do even better so now they’re back with Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. Whether they succeeded you can read below
The “storyline” is pretty standard. The organisers of Motorstorm want to move away from the boring desert and therefore go with all their spectacular races to an uninhabited tropical island. That’s all there needs to be said about the story as all that matters for the rest is racing on some of the best tracks ever invented.
The island you’ll be driving on contains the four elements earth, water, wind and fire. Depending on the theme you choose you’ll have to adapt your playing style. When choosing for instance a map with earth being central then you can expect only heavy opponents while a wind-themed track will be won easier with a light vehicle. Nothing of course stops you to choose something that’s less suited for the track but you can expect the necessary opposition then.
The maps have the same points where everyone needs to pass with his vehicle but there are different routes to reach them. With a bike or other light vehicle you can take narrow roads but might get into an accident due to small objects. This contrary to the larger cars and trucks that have no problems with obstacles but which have less shortcuts to choose from.
Each map of course also has its natural dangers and obstacles. A fire-themed one will need you looking out for lava and geisers while on a water map you’ll encounter a lot of rivers and swamped areas. These natural phenomena can work in your advantage though, as you’ll for instance be able to use a river to cool down when your engine overheats but to compensate you will go a bit slower at that time.
The vehicles at your disposal are split up in 8 categories. The newest to be found in Motorstorm 2 are the Monster Trucks. These have as advantage that they have no problem crushing smaller opponents but as disadvantage they can easily be pushed over by the somewhat less huge vehicles.
In total there are sixteen maps which get bigger as you progress in single player. When winning more and more games you will not only play on bigger versions of these maps but you’ll also get access to more vehicles which can even be adjusted in their looks. While winning races you get new paint jobs that will allow you to give a personal touch to your entire lined up vehicles.
To offer some variation in both single and multiplayer there are different modes present. There are the normal races where you need to end in the top 3 after a couple of rounds but also the possibility for time trial or taking out an opponent while staying alive yourself are also available. Certainly in multiplayer this offers additional variation and these modes allow to unlock even more paint jobs.
As expected the multiplayer part is more than decent in this successor. Up to twelve players can play at the same time without the graphics starting to suffer and you’ll be able to see your opponents crash in perfect vision. Online the game is split up in Ranked and Casual where the first allows you to collect points for the leaderboards and unlock additional content as was mentioned already above.
The first Motorstorm disappointed quite heavily on the graphics when compared with the first trailer that people got to see of it at E3 and although Pacific Rift can still not equal that quality the game did improve a lot. The vehicles are shown beautifully and it remains magnificent to see your opponents turn their cars, trucks and bikes into scrap metal. The surroundings as such are also great and the details like the mud coming off the tires show that the devs paid quite a lot of attention to the finishing.
As the game is quite arcade and doesn’t really have a story you don’t need to expect anything revolutionary from the sound. The effects from the vehicles are more than good but you won’t hear any voices and also the background music isn’t quite something to write home about.
One thing that remains remarkable is the limited influence you have on the vehicles. It’s nice to give them another color or logo but it would have a lot cooler if you could completely tune or upgrade it and challenge online players then. That would have made the game even more competitive so that it probably would attract even more people. For the rest there’s little remarks to be made.
Don’t expect realistic racing adventures, those can be found with other games, but if you want a no-nonsense racer with spectacular crashes then this game will certainly be your thing! If you liked the first Motorstorm you’ll no doubt have fun with this one that’s more than a decent sequel of one of the most played launch games of the PS3.