Game Reviews

Motorstorm Apocalypse Review

In MotorStorm Apocalypse the Stormers are bringing the extreme MotorStorm festival to a major metropolitan city that has been ravaged by a gigantic earthquake. With all of its unstable skyscrapers, fiery subway tunnels, twisting bridges and more, the almost completely abandoned city offers the perfect playground for MotorStorm‘s electric brand of brutal street racing. Fully customize your collection of vehicles — which now includes supercars, muscle cars, and superbikes — and face down your fellow Stormers as well as a city where destruction awaits you at every turn. And with tremors and aftershocks continuing to hit the city in real-time, you never know where the race will take you. Welcome to the concrete jungle. Welcome to the apocalypse, MotorStorm style. – Sony

When it all comes together it’s near perfect – Motorstorm has some of the best elements that an arcade racer can have.  Front and center is the environment you are racing in, which is basically a city on the verge of collapse both from natural forces and social forces that has it’s remaining inhabitants up in arms.  What it makes for is some really cinematic racing action.  Between the utter devestation from the earthquakes and the labrynth like tracks that have been created as a result, or the remnants of streets that have citizens milling about with weapons there’s always plenty of eye candy on screen in Motorstorm Apocalypse.

Nice Variety of Vehicles and Tracks – Motostorm Apocalypse has a strong suit, and that suit is variety.  There’s a number of vehicles to choose from in Motorstorm Apocalypse when taking to the online track.  Between the ATV, Motorcycles, and Rally type vehicles that all have their class specific nuances to learn any of the tracks can play out in a number of ways.  The tracks themselves all feature catastrophic environmental changes that funnel you in different directions which can lead to seeing something new just about every single race.

Some Really Cool Environmental Effects – In my opinion it doesn’t happen enough in Apocalypse, but when it does the racing takes on a truly different form, unlike anything that even racers like Split Second couldn’t accomplish.  The crumbling world is absolutely gorgeous when the action is at full blast.  From barreling through the debris of a building that is literally crumbling as you progress through it, to a suspension bridge snapping and wobbline from the force of an earthquake while tossing your vehicle from side to side there are some really neat effects in Motorstorm Apocalypse.  The levels are also spiced up by cool weather effects, as well as races that take place at different times.

Off to a bad start – Motorstorm: Apocalypse got off on the wrong foot with gamers.  Being that this time around, Motorstorm is a more centered experience that revolves around the expanded multiplayer features in the game, it was a bit of a miss for the game to be unplayable online for nearly a month during its release with the PSN outage.  It gave me a lot of time to get really familiar with the single player side of things, but for my first month with the game, I only had a partial experience to enjoy.

Once the PSN resumed service, it was obvious that there had been a lot more focus placed on multiplayer.  However, it still wasn’t without its faults.  Waiting to play Motorstorm for the better part of a month, and then finally getting online to be confronted with poor net coding, connection issues, and more often times than not..nearly unplayable levels of latency definitely soured the experience for me.

Constant Crashes, Now With More Loops – If you like Arcade Racers of this nature, you’re probably used to experiencing your fair share of crashes.  There’s a fine line where crashes are considered cool, and where they just come off as a poor design flaw.  There are a handful of reasons why the crashes and their over-abundance in MA come of as poorly designed.  The first is that the triggering mechanism behind the crashes is inconsistent.  It’s simply hard to tell what you can or can not hit on the tracks of Motorstorm Apocalypse.  Some very small pieces of level geometry will trigger a crash sequence, while other times a head on collision will do nothing but bring you to a complete stop forcing you to reset.

Even more apparent are some of the portions of the game where when you crash once, it’s nearly impossible to avoid the same situation.  Missing key jumps is one example where these loops come into play, where the game will just continually loop you into the same crash multiple times before you can progress.  AI drivers also have just one mission in Motorstorm Apocalypse, and that is to crash you.  Whether its by using the shunting mechanic or just by ramming into you at high speeds, these computer controlled vehicles are always looking to terminate your race.  Having the nature that a game like MA has, it’s not super surprising that this is the case.  However, the AI cars have a much heavier feeling of impact on you, than you do on them when performing the same moves.  If you choose to use the shunting button which will allow you to veer into a player to your left or right, it does little to the computer controlled driver.  But if they do it to you, in almost every case you are headed for a crash.

Damage Model Not as Good As Competition – We’ve established that there are an over-abundance of crashes in Motorstorm Apocalypse, and honestly it wouldn’t be bad if they were fun to watch.  But they aren’t.  The damage modeling looks generic, as well as the firey ball of death that your car explodes into nearly every time.  Both animations fall a bit flat, especially after watching it 10 or so times per race.

The Verdict

As I said above, when it all comes together Motorstorm: Apocalypse is great fun.  The only problem is that this is very rarely the case with this game.  Each and every race can be an exercise in futility between the constant crashing that is spurred on by bad controls, and questionable level design.  Does the game have it’s shining moments?  Absolutely!  How much you are going to enjoy the game is going to depend on how critical you are if its flaws.  Which are too many to really be ignored, at least by me.  Ultimately the game just feels like it could have used more time in development to iron out some of its underlying issues.

- This article was updated on:December 3rd, 2017

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Motorstorm Apocalypse

  • Available On: PlayStation 3
  • Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
  • Developed By: Evolution Studios
  • Genre: Racing
  • US Release Date:
  • Reviewed On: PlayStation 3
  • Quote: "Each and every race can be an exercise in futility between the constant crashing that is spurred on by bad controls, and questionable level design."
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