Motorstorm Apocalypse

Flat out off-road racer Motorstorm has always been a fast moving high-action game, but in this instalment Evolution Studios have really turned it up to 11. Which is, as we all know, one higher than 10.

So what’s changed? The racing mechanics of the game are basically unchanged, so if you liked the quite arcade style feel of previous Motorstorms, you’ll be right at home here. The principle of boosting until your boost meter warns you that your engine is about to explode is still here, but with a minor change, in that flying through the air actively cools your boost meter, particularly if you let go off the accelerator while in mid-air. You’ve still got a wide variety of vehicles, from bikes to monster trucks, and in fact Apocalypse expands the previous games selection to 13 different classes of vehicle.

The two big changes are the addition of a storyline, and the location of all this racing action. The storyline is paper-thin, but told well in a serious of humorous motion comics (their words, not mine). It doesn’t add much to the game, but it does make the game feel a lot less impersonal. In previous Motorstorms, there was nothing but menus and racing, and the animated story sections help break that feeling.

The really big change, though, and the reason for the title, is the location. In Apocalypse, the tracks have moved from lush jungle environments to the confines of a (mostly) abandoned city in the process of being destroyed by a series of massive earthquakes. It’s a bold change for the series, but it seems to work well. The tracks are stunning, and the set-pieces here are astonishing. Most tracks don’t stay the same for more than one lap, as bridges collapse, buildings tumble, attack helicopters fire missiles and destroy… well, everything. Petrol tankers on fire careen across the track, jump-jets blaze through skies as trains explode off of rails and crash down all around you. The tracks are so amazing that they steal the show from the rest of the game. The animations for your car crashing are slightly crappy, but who cares when you’ve just driven through an exploding ferris wheel?

There is a track where you are driving on a beach through pouring rain in a lightning storm, and it is quite simply one of the most stunning things I have ever seen in a game, as giant waves smash scenery and throw boats across your path. No doubt if you were to play the same track over and over, it would lose the impact, but it really is astonishing the first few times.

Multiplayer is well covered here too, with the often overlooked ability to play split-screen on the same console present and correct here. Online multiplayer works in a very Call of Duty kind of way, with levelling up and perks (quicker respawn after crashes, etc.) available as you rank up. Playing the game as I was, pre-release, it was hard to find anyone to play with online, but I’m sure that won’t be a problem come release.

Negatives? Like previous Motorstorm games, it can be hard to see where you are going, particularly on night time levels. This is partly a problem because of the multiple routes available, although that does add an element to the game in itself. Occasionally you’ll hit something and not crash, or be spun around by a rival car at an inopportune moment. This doesn’t sound too bad, but it usually takes far longer to get going again than it would if you had actually wrecked, and leaves you feeling a bit cheated as you lose multiple places.







One response to “Motorstorm Apocalypse”

  1. paul avatar

    I’m gonna be all over this, Pacific Rift was a huge favourite on gamernights with friends.
    I didn’t know there was a story mode, seems u werent terribly impressed by it, which is a bit of a shame, I always ran out of steam on the Single Player modes just because I didnt feel like I was getting anywhere.
    That falls into insignificance for me though when u described the beach in the rain. PR was just utterly stunning and the different lighting for times of day was a sight to behold.
    Yeah, really stoked for this one now, hopefully get some games with you when I do 😉

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