Platform: Playstation 3 (Reviewed)
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Evolution Studios
Release Date: AU-March 17, US-TBA, EU-March 16*
Price: $99.97 (AU) BUY NOW – $56.99 (US) BUY NOW
Disclaimer: Due to the recent earthquakes and tsunami’s in Japan as well as New Zealand, the release dates of Motorstorm: Apocalypse have been greatly affected due to the game being based around a city after an earthquake. Europe saw it’s March 16 launch, and Australia saw it’s launch on March 17, but Sony has announced it will halt shipping of the title for now. As for the UK and North American release dates, no date has yet been specified. Capsule Computers find it sad to hear this as MotorStorm Apocalypse is a rather great game, but understand and agree with Sony’s decision as the title may cause some unintended offence to some affected by the tragedies. We here at Capsule Computers will do our best to announce information about future release dates of MotorStorm: Apocalypse when we hear it, and our hearts go out to all who have suffered from the tragedy. You can donate to help Japan here.
The MotorStorm series has been a decent competitor against successful racing game franchises, but has unfortunately been overshadowed by other series such as Grand Turismo and Need For Speed. However, MotorStorm: Apocalypse is sure to change that and make the franchise stand out against it’s rivals. The MotorStorm series has reinvented itself and undergone a lot of changes and improvements for this game, and will appeal to a wide range of new fans although some old fans might be have divided opinions. If your into arcade styled racing however, MotorStorm Apocalypse is arguably one of the best out there at the moment and if you’re a fan of the genre this is a must play title. It took the series a few games, but many will most likely agree that MotorStorm has finally found its feet, and it’s turned out to be a really impressive and in depth title, coming along way since its debut game.
The MotorStorm series has always focused on off-road racing with a focus on a variety of different kinds of vehicles to race with ranging from cars, bikes, trucks, buggies, monster trucks and more, with a different themed festival. The first title saw players racing in a desert valley, then in MotorStorm: Pacific Rift a tropical island racing through various beaches and juggles, and then recently MotorStorm: Artic Edge on the edge of Alaska’s arctic circle. This title takes players in arguably the most interesting setting yet: a city hit by a natural disaster that is currently experiencing aftershocks and is falling apart, and it really affects the gameplay. It really creates a chaotic feel racing in a city that is crumbling down, and the urban environment has a more action-packed feel as opposed to a natural environment as we’ve seen in previous games. Presentation is solid and well-polished, with a very deep multiplayer experience, deep storyline in single player (or at least for a racing game) and a very stylistic theme to the game as a whole. Everything in this title is presented and polished until it shines beautifully, leaving a subtle, yet lasting impression on the player. Truly a lot of work has gone into MotorStorm: Apocalypse and it shows.
The campaign to Apocalypse is very story-driven, and while racing games aren’t well known for having great storylines, the story in MotorStorm: Apocalypse is truly presented with excellence and succeeds at making the player feel more connected the game, even though it may not you on the edge of your seat. The story takes place in an urban city that has just been hit by a massive earthquake, and it has been decided that the next MotorStorm festival is to be held in the collapsing city over three days. So players are racing with tracks experiencing deformation in real time, making laps different for each time you go through it, with new obstacles in your way, linking the story close into the gameplay. The story also involves people refusing to leave the city, so unlike previous games with no spectators which took away some of the competitive feel; this title has looters and spectators for you to drive around, through or over. There is even a military presence attempting to stop the race at all costs, meaning you will fired at with missiles and firearms, and they will attempt to blow up buildings to create obstacles in your way. The story follows three racers: The Rookie, The Pro and The Veteran, and has cut scenes with very stylistic motion comics with great voice acting that show an interesting perspective into the lives of the racers outside the festival, and how they deal with the natural disaster occurring around them. Cut scenes aren’t the most spectacular cinematics you’ll ever see, but their short, simple to the point and are very entertaining. They also work well of linking races together and setting the mood for a race, as well as providing a quick breather in-between levels. Overall the story while not the most amazing and memorable story ever told, is really impressive for a racing game, is presented well and ties into the gameplay a lot, and is a worthy addition to the single player mode.
In MotorStorm: Apocalypse, players race in 13 types of vehicle classes in a city that has experienced a recent earthquake, filled with looters, military troops and collapsing buildings collapsing in real time, making sure the experience of each lap is different. Military presence and looters often add to the gameplay and really do switch things up, and adds to the feeling that all hell is breaking loose around you. Action slows down upon witnessing an event such a building crumbling down in slow motion, but rather than slowing down the gameplay, it puts an emphasis on the chaos which is nice to see. The chaos is kept alive through the use of an interesting boost system. Racers at any time can preform a boost to catch up or get ahead of their rivals, but doing too much can cause your ride to overheat or explode. You can cool down your vehicle by running over a water puddle or going by a broken water pipe among other things to cool your system down, creating various situations requiring quick thinking and assessing of situations in order to survive and win. The ability to ram your competitors with a touch of a button only adds to the frantic gameplay, and feels very rewarding when used effectively. The standard typical race isn’t the only option either, players will also compete in other kinds of races such as Elimination which just comes down to the last man standing/racing, Chase where the player must stay in first place for a certain amount of time.
The Single-player campaign or ‘Festival Mode’ as it is called, also includes unlockable special events with challenging completion targets which further adds to Apocalypse’s replay value. It should be mentioned that in Festival Mode a certain type of vehicle is selected for you per race, and you don’t get a choice in choosing which one you’d like to use. Many might get frustrated by this, but personally it never really bothered me as I feel it just help keeps the game feeling fresh by mixing it up a bit. For those who aren’t a fan of this though, you can replay each level with the ability to select your ride, which is a nice addition. MotorStorm: Apocalypse isn’t perfect however, some vehicles don’t feel as tight as they probably should, and while it isn’t a deal breaker for the game, it doesn’t always feel right. Also upon crashing the action slows down and while the damage often looks impressive, the crashes themselves don’t always, and the slow pacing of it all can sometimes ruin the feel of the game. Worst off however is the fact that all vehicles are extremely sensitive and often the tiniest clip against the scenery can cause your ride to crash, which can make the player feel very disconnected from the action, and can often feel highly frustrating. The game does offer the ability to re spawn onto the track at any time however, and while it does improve things slightly, it doesn’t do enough to save the game in this factor. Furthermore loading times are a bit long, which would’ve been nice to see less of. One thing MotorStorm: Apocalypse did nail perfectly is speed. Even when not using the boost option, the game always feels fast and gives you an adrenaline rush, making the game feel really exciting and action packed.
The original MotorStorm title includes just two modes: Play and Online mode. This one is oozing with a various and deep gameplay modes, and the multiplayer is pretty impressive. Players get four players split screen offline and sixteen player online gameplay. Not good enough? Well how about taking that four player split screen online? Yeah you got that. Thanks Evolution Studios! Before a match, players can bet against other players and tweak their profiles amongst other options. Each vehicle also has a deep upgrade path to it, a perk system as well and medals, ensuring you will spend many hours online. You also shouldn’t have any problems connecting to a match either so get some Mountain Dew and some popcorn because you’ll be on your couch for a while!
The choice of graphic design is an interesting choice for MotorStorm: Apocalypse. The graphics are good and not overdone, and while they an’t amazingly impressive, they do look rather nice. Animations are smooth and drivers will realistically fly off bikes and buggies like rag dolls, and models look just as smooth. Both the vehicles and environments look luscious, yet some textures occasionally seem a bit plain. There is a big focus on many minor details such as water, dirt, and other environmental features. Specs of dirt and water drops will often fly up onto the screen’s camera which looks particularly good, and the dust created from collapsed buildings and such look just as great. The details in damage vehicles take are pretty impressive as well. The cut scenes in story mode are presented via motion comics, and not all gamers may appreciate their simplicity. However, many will appreciate its artistic style and stylish presentation. The character design is impressive and most characters are easily likeable. While the cut scenes and gameplay sport two different styles of graphics, but they both contain bright colours and the use of basic textures so they do work well together. Most games these days open on an awesome, action-packed cinematic, but MotorStorm: Apocalypse begins with a cinematic which is quite plain and boring. It’s not a big deal and it doesn’t affect the game in the slightest, but a nicer cinematic could’ve engaged the player into the game sooner rather than later. Also it’s worth noting an interesting addition of the staff credits appearing throughout the first level, like they would in the opening scene of a movie. It’s an interesting and creative way of conveying the credits. The game is also compatible with 3D televisions and while I personally didn’t get the chance to check it out, many are claiming it is one of the nicest looking games in 3D available at the moment. Overall MotorStorm: Apocalypse is bursting with character and is a pleasure to look at, as well as play.
Soundtrack? One word: dubstep. Too be fair there’s not that much dubstep music in the game, but that’s enough to excite me, but let’s get more in depth with it, shall we? There are some quite impressive tracks in this title, including collaborative Kalus Badet who has been known for creating scores for Hollywood Films such as Gladiator and even a Pirate of The Caribbean film. The track “Loco” by Klaus Badelt & Elite Force is a particular awesome track and really sets the mood for the game. Sound effects work well and the voice acting is commendable, and each voice suits each character well.
MotorStorm: Apocalypse is chaotic and stylish, deep and fun. The single player mode is quite impressive and the multiplayer mode is pretty much as good as it can get. It’s filled with charm and is a pleasure to play. However it is held back by how some vehicles don’t control as tightly as they probably should, and that the vehicles are pretty sensitive to the scenery making it easy to crash. If it wasn’t for these flaws, this title would’ve been a much, much better game and easily a must own. Despite this, MotorStorm is a great multiplayer option for all gamers with a PlayStation 3, and if your into arcade-styled racers this is a must play. If your into more series and simulated racing games it’s still worth checking out, but it may not be your cup of tea. Overall, MotorStorm: Apocalypse is a worthy addition to any PlayStation 3 owner’s collection and a really fun experience.
- Fast-paced, action-packed gameplay
- Realtime deformation of tracks
- Boosts and ramming makes for chaotic gameplay
- Great story mode
- Boost/cool down system adds to good strategies and keep the game feeling hectic
- Really deep multiplayer
- Awesome soundtrack
- Nice environmental effects
- Well polished
- Some vehicles don’t feel as tight as they should
- Staying on track can occasionally be an issue
- Slow motion crash scenes are sometimes more annoying than cool
- Really easy to crash and can sometimes be a nuisance
- Long Load Times
MotorStorm: Apocalypse gets a well earned: