Ready for some smash and bash style racing? Evolution Studios returns with their latest installment in the MotorStorm series, MotorStorm Apocalypse. Staying true to the features that have made it a great franchise, yet adding a heap of new features, MotorStorm Apocalypse lives up to its name.
One of the newest additions is the introduction of a story mode called Festival. This is the MotorStorm festival taking place over 2 days. There are 3 sections to the story featuring 3 characters, following each one over the same 2 days. As you progress, the races and challenges become more difficult. You will start off playing as Mash, a rookie, then on to Tyler the veteran, and finish off with Big Dog the pro. On rookie, you must place 5th or higher to advance and 3rd or higher for both veteran and pro.
If you place 1st in any race you will also unlock challenges in the special events category. In the special events mode there are two categories, Hardcore Festival and Time Attack. Hardcore Festival contain the same tracks and cars as story mode, but give you tougher AI opponents and a total race time target. In order to complete the challenge you must finish ahead of the target time. Time Attack is a time trial mode. You can choose the car and take it to the track. Try beating your time or the best online time, but your lap time will not be counted if you crash during the lap.
Festival mode is single player only and there is no customization. You have to complete the races with the car that is given to you. There are also 3 to 5 cards placed on each track. Each one you collect you are able to view and shows bios on MotorStorm characters. These do not have to be collected and you can always go back to specific races and grab them if you want. You will need to if you are looking for that platinum trophy and there are 150 in total. Some are very hard to find and I am only up to 54 myself.
A big part of games today is online play. Unfortunately at this time I cannot access the multiplayer due to PlayStation Network being down. I did have beta access but that was cancelled due to the tragic events in Japan. I cannot attest to how smooth online play is or if there are other online issues, if any.
So let’s take a look at the online features. You can have up to 16 racers and choose from any of the 40 tracks. The multiplayer has also been made more friendly to newcomers with the addition of several features. Racing online will earn you poker chips and you can wager these chips in the pre race lobby against any racer. You won’t have to win the race, just finish ahead of the player you wagered with. Of course coming in first will always get you more. Leveling up is also not based on what position you finish in.
All vehicles in multiplayer can be customized from parts, bodies, and stickers. If you see a specific part that you want but haven’t unlocked yet, it will tell you what achievements you need to get it. This can be from knocking out a certain number of opponents, beating a select number of racers, and even total air time for each given vehicle. All the stats are cumulative and will be saved from each race you complete. There are 13 classes of vehicles in total and each class has its pros and cons. A few classes are new to the MotorStorm series including super bikes, choppers, and muscle cars.
You also get the option of choosing your load-out. There are five load-out save slots for you to customize for quick selections before each race. Each slot allows you to choose perks from three categories; handling, boost, and combat. As you complete objectives bigger and better perks will become available. There are plenty to choose from and will suit any driving style and track condition.
Overall gameplay is great and the controls are smooth. The controller options give you 5 layouts which will please veterans of the series as well as other racing games. You can also switch to motion sensor for steering and use your controller just like a steering wheel. It even gives you the option to change steering from the left analog stick to the D-pad on any lay out.
So where do graphics and sound fall in? Musically, you get what you would expect from most racing games. Instrumental tracks that are quite catchy but eventually become repetitive and tiresome. Graphically its quite life-like for what it is and it is definitely not meant to be a realistic game. The colors are vibrant and the tracks are beautifully designed.
Another fun feature is the photo mode. Yes photo modes are quite common in games but this one has some interesting characteristics. Feel like capturing a funny moment, outrageous stunt, or epic collision? Just pause and enter photo mode. If you want to express your artistic side there are several options you can tinker with. Among these are brightness, focus distance, depth of field, and motion blur. although changing these settings will not effect what you see on screen just hit the preview button and you will see what your picture will look like. You can also select your picture resolution up to an astounding 4096 x 2304. If you are a die hard MotorStorm fan, you can create unlimited high resolution pictures that can be used as a background on your PS3 or PC. Just go to your photo gallery and export them to your XMB.
Overall, MotorStorm Apocalypse is a worthy game. Fans of the series will be pleased and fans of smash up racers will also enjoy it. Racing fans that are up for a challenge will also find this game worth it. You haven’t raced until you’ve done it surrounded by explosions and natural disasters on tracks that dynamically change from lap to lap. Up for the challenge? Then race in the apocalypse and test your white knuckle skills in MotorStorm Apocalypse.