Motorstorm: Apocalypse Review – The Bend Is Nigh

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The chaotic racing of Motorstorm is back and that means that it’s time to take a full look at yet another 2011 Playstation 3 exclusive release to see if it should belong on your shelf.

Motorstorm: Apocalypse changes the formula and setting up a little and brings us into the world of racing that takes place when there’s very little world to race in at all. We popped on our helmets, put on our racing gloves and loaded it up to see if Motorstorm: Apocalypse is as epic as its setting.

Read ahead for our full review.

Read My (Apoca)Lips

So I don’t know what it is with some folks, but you know… when they want to race, they will race regardless of the situation at hand – especially when that situation consists of earthquakes that run on an apocalyptic scale of crazy.

There’s a story, but to be quite frank, it’s really bad… and serves more as padding between races in the form of motion comics. The story also provides the reasoning behind the campaigns three difficulty levels which you play through one at a time. Each mode is told as the story of a racer, ranging from a stow-away who gets a chance to compete, to a hot-shot and your original saviour, Big Dog.

The game takes place over two days of a festival leading up to the moment that the city is hit by the final big quake that ends it all. As you progress through Motorstorm: Apocalypse you play the three characters stories that run over the span of the same two days, just told from their perspective. This means that you will essentially run through (not entirely) similar tracks on each difficulty, leading up to the final evacuation.

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Camp Pain

As you play more and more and go through the stories you are given access to more and more vehicles that range from bikes and buggies to trucks and rice rockets. The game features only a handful of locations that take place in, around and even above the city but their layouts are altered to create different tracks.

While you will spend most of your time racing, there are other modes that creep into the campaign as well, such as elimination modes where the player at the back is disqualified whenever a running timer hits zero as well as certain races (such as the evacuation races) where you need to make it through a point-to-point race before a timer runs out.

When Story Time Is Over

Besides the main story mode, you also have access to quick races where up to 4 players can race split-screen on a single PS3 with the added option to even chuck in a bunch of A.I racers as well. You also have modes that let you do time trials and challenges that are unlocked as you progress through the game and you can even personalise your vehicles and check your profile stats.

Online multiplayer is also available and allows for private matches as well as matchmaking. There are three modes available (Chase, Elimination and Race) and settings are available in private matches to turn on extra features such as perk load-outs and a betting system that allows you to lay down points with buddies into a pot.

While our early review schedule didn’t allow us to fully test the matchmaking, we were able to have some private races. The matchmaking itself as well as its party system was already functional though and looked like it was the kind of lobby system that was ripped straight out of Call of Duty or Halo Reach. In my opinion that is only a good thing and I wouldn’t have it any other way as it all worked smoothly using a proven working system that I was already comfortable with.

Keeping Track

The real fun of Motorstorm: Apocalypse – which can probably be greatly attributed to it being a 3D showcase of sorts for Sony – is that it has been designed to get absolutely chaotic around you at times.

In true Motorstorm fashion, every track has multiple paths that can be used during a race, however the apocalyptic theme of this one comes into play when certain tracks are literally crumbling around you while you race. While it might not be the first time that you have seen it in a game, things can get pretty crazy when you are racing around tracks at full speed with skyscrapers crumbling, massive bridges collapsing and all sorts of chaos ensuing at all times, sometimes changing the track while you race.

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Some tracks remained the same and came across as a little familiar, boring and visually unappealing while others are nothing short of spectacular and looked like they were ripped straight out of disaster movies like 2012. One moment you are flying over rooftops in the afternoon rain while rain splashes onto the lens and the next you are launching into the side of a building and hitting top speed through burning office rooms filled with cubicles. If only all of the tracks were as impressive.

At the same time, I do have to say that some tracks can get overly chaotic, so the elements that are putting big smiles on your face in the first hours of the game may very well become the same elements that make you want to throw your controller just a few hours later. While the game is obviously based around tracks that double as giant shifting obstacle courses, it gets a little over the top at times and you may find yourself crashing over and over and over again merely because it becomes almost impossible to actually keep track of what’s going on.

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