Before I continue, I would like to say that if you are sensitive towards the recent events in Japan and New Zealand I suggest you don’t continue reading. These events have been tragic, however I feel as a reviewer it is my job to give the game the respect it deserves.
When I was young, and arcades were the place to go, you would often find me settled in front of the car racing games. Playing Sega Rally and Daytona 500 were some of my favourite pastimes (when I had the spare cash to put in the machines!).
Since then, it appears that car racing games have tried to be as realistic as possible. I like racing simulators, but to me they just aren’t as much fun as being able to take a spare five minutes to run around a track without having to check your tyres, tuning and suspension, and without the worry that hitting a car on the first corner will make you uncompetitive by the end of the race.
MotorStorm Apocalypse does not have this problem – it is about as arcade as it gets. The racetracks are physically impossible; the performance of the cars in unrealistic and what you can get away with in the cars is simply insane. And because of this I loved every minute of it.
MotorStorm Apocalypse is the third of the MotorStorm titles, and takes place on the West Coast of the United States in an apocalyptic urban area simply called The City. The City is being hit by extreme seismic activity, which not only is destroying the environment but is causing the locals to riot against the police forces and the racers alike. All of this makes for some great events.
Evolution Studios have really excelled themselves in implementing this. It is great fun to watch the routes change as the ground ether disappears or is re-arranged due to large cracks or the ground being forced upwards. But this isn’t the only thing the developers have brought to the game – they’ve also introduced high-rise racing. You actually drive on the top of buildings, as they crumble and fall in front of you. It’s not exactly realistic, but fun just the same. As the days go on, the races get harder and the locals become more restless. Just as you think you are doing well, you will get hit by a molotov cocktail and you are back to the rear of the grid.
MotorStorm Apocalypse has a couple of modes you can play in, firstly there is the campaign mode Festival, it involves approx 13 races starting in Rookie mode, once completed you move on to Pro and Veteran. As part of the campaign mode there is a storyline shown, which features small animated comics between each race. The storyline isn’t the greatest but is enough to keep you interested in the player you are playing. Rank is shown as different users. The Rookie is a young guy, followed by am older Pro racer, and then the event organizer for the Veteran.
There is also Wreckreation which includes quick races, multiplayer and special events which you unlock as you win races. There is also the option to customize your car, although you don’t get to tune it up, you are able to modify the look, add vinyl stickers to your car, weather it and add scratches, all making your vehicle look a little more like something you would like to drive.
One of the things I really enjoyed about MotorStorm Apocalypse was the gameplay itself, It really is an arcade game. There aren’t too many games where you have the ability to race a dirt bike against a monster truck! Although you don’t get to choose your vehicle during races while in campaign mode, you find yourself driving a range of vehicles from supercars, monster trucks, bikes, and rally cars. Each of these vehicles have their own quirks – both positive and negative.
One thing I concluded while playing MotorStorm Apocalypse is that new bike riders should have to play the game to show them the good reasons not to speed – it features some of the most spectacular crashes I have seen for a while. When coming off the bike, your character is transferred into a rag doll bouncing off whatever comes your way. In contrast, the monster truck is hard to destroy, however you will suffer in acceleration, and turning ability.
As for the maps, I found them fun and at times challenging, racing boardwalks on beachfronts, on top of buildings, down freeways and through buildings and sewers. The tracks are well designed and have obstacles in all the places you don’t want them. To make things even harder, obstacles such as cars and other items are mobile and may not be in the same spot on the second lap as they are on the first. The environment also adds to the difficulty of the map, after going around a track for a couple of laps I normally have them down pat, however MotorStorm Apocalypse changes the maps on every lap by destroying buildings, removing routes, adding obstacles and in some cases simply destroying the track. It really added to the fun and difficulty of the map.
The only complaint I have was that sometimes destruction happened in such a way that it caused crashes that effect your game. You’d be on track, everything is happy… and bang, you run into a wall that wasn’t there a second before. This became a little frustrating! I don’t mind losing five places because I have been knocked off the road, but I’m not a fan of running into something that wasn’t there when I picked my route.
Overall I really had fun playing MotorStorm Apocalypse, the arcade racing gameplay was enjoyable and the gameplay was easy enough to just be able to walk into the game and play. Too many racing games take themselves too seriously these days, MotorStorm Apocalypse was a breath of fresh air and just enjoyable fun.