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MotorStorm: Apocalypse review

Violent, destructive and mean. But is it any good?

There's always the slight feeling that it isn't as polished as the original. Perhaps Sony should have released some more totally unfeasible 'target footage' for the team to attempt to match - it worked a treat the first time round. MotorStorm: Apocalypse looks rough in places. And while the frame rate does stay impressively high, it's clearly come at a price. A lot of the smoke and debris are flat 2D sprites with two or three frames of animation per second. At speed, it looks great. Slow downor go into photo mode and you start to see the strings.

Too many ingredients

Apologies if this all sounds rather unenthusiastic. The concept is great and the execution is fine, but while everything works on paper, perhaps there are too many elements in the mix. Like a cake that's got all of your favourite things in it. Sure,strawberries, custard, gravy and whiskey are all great, but not together.And certainly not all covered in inches of concrete dust.

A little more pacing instead of the breathless dash that fills every minute of gameplay would have helped. Interesting features like the gang warfare that's going on around you while you race are hardly mentioned and seem almost incidental as you race by.Likewise, thenew barge attack is fun,but actually eliminating a competitor is just another thing you can do as opposed toan integral part of the game. At least that earns you trophies.

Finally, the rivalries between characters could have made for an interesting championship series if it had been applied to an actual tournament. Sure, the festival has arrived to experience the thrills primarily, but ifmassive chevrons, branded billboards and flags can be organised, I'm sure the implementation of a points system wouldn't be too much to ask. As it is, you simply have to 'place third or higher' to progress.

Hello, Dolly

But the game isn't meant to be about the racing. It's meant to be about the spectacle and the fun that comes from throwing around your little ragdoll rider around by overheating the boost and blowing himsky high.

And in that sense, it does work. Not quite as well as the original, perhaps - compared to the first game, it's only the set-pieces here that truly feel big-budget. The vehicle handling, texture quality, reliance on sprites for detail and lack of vehicle chassis deformation is just a little bit low-rent. Not enough to make the game bad, but perhaps not as impressive as a new MotorStorm should be. It should be as deluxe as the visuals in Killzone 3 and it isn't quite there.

Above: The game wants you to be looking at the collapsing bridge, not for the next overtaking opportunity

MotorStorm's suffering from a bit of an identity crisis. Side-swiping shove attacks, armed pedestrians, environmental destruction... it all clutters the racing to the point where itdoesn't truly satisfy on any level other than 'wow - look at that'. But 'wow - look at that' is exactly what a lot of gamers will want from their PS3 racers, so none of the other complaints will really matter to them.As for the gamers looking for a fun racing experience, only the online mode really satisfies.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse gets most of the technicalities right and genuinely looks amazing at times.But perhaps the basics should have been nailed before the twisters and skyscrapers were put in.

Is it better than...

? No. MotorStorm's environmental hazards can't be triggered by the player, which means they don't add any tactical depth to the gameplay. Split/Second's set-pieces like the crash-landing jet plane are just as good-looking as the collapsing skyscrapers, and arguably more varied too. There's also an emphasis on driving in Split/Second, which is sorely missing here.

Just for you, Metacritic

This is aloud, often spectacular dash through countless set-pieces and ragdoll pedestrians. However, 'trying not to crash' isn'tas fun as racing or combat, but that's what you'll be doing for 95% of the time. It's just not as fun as it should be.

31 Mar, 2011

More Info


The 'Stormers are bringing the extreme MotorStorm festival to a major metropolitan city ravaged by a gigantic earthquake...

US censor ratingRating Pending
UK censor ratingRating Pending
Alternative namesMotorstorm 3
Release date12 April 2011 (US), 18 March 2011 (UK)


The longest-serving GR+ staffer, I was here when all this was just fields. I'm currently Reviews Editor but still find time to speedrun Sonic levels and make daft Photoshop articles.
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