PS3 Review: Motorstorm Apocalypse

Motorstorm takes you to the end of the world…

You have to feel sorry for Sony. Just when they were ready to release Motorstorm Apocalypse, Japan suffers a tragedy unlike anything seen since World War II and given the destruction to the country looks like some of the events in the game, it was a difficult position they were put in…but they did the noble thing and delayed the game as a mark of respect. This however, means that at the time of writing the only people in the world with actual copies of the game are the press, making reviewing it that bit harder due to the lack of online players.

But still, I was able to play the important modes such as a streamlined campaign that actually engages you to drive through the utter devastation that is the end of the world. Motorstorm Apocalypse is a technical wonder with huge explosions and structures crumbling around you while you try and fight off the competition. Oddly the streets still have a few people in it that will sometimes jump on your vehicle and some even throw petrol bombs.

The basic mechanics of Motorstorm remain in Apocalypse. You race in a collection of different vehicles like bikes, ATVs and so on while being able to boost nitrous for a short time before you explode. Fire will still heat up your engine and water will still cool it down, plus there are many paths to take to get to the finishing line. You can even bump your rivals with your vehicle by using the L1-R1 buttons for their respective sides, but it can be difficult to pull off a right bump when basically all your other fingers are allocated to the accelerator, brake and nitrous…it’s easy to do a left bump, but a right bump is tricky indeed.

The campaign has challenges that will keep you coming back to complete such as finishing first in each race, collecting cards that are scattered around the tracks and harder races become unlocked as you progress. Not every lap is the same either, you can think you have the track figured out and then a bridge will give way or a truck will explode and cause you problems. There were times I played where I somehow got hit into turning 180 degrees and being forced to hit the select button to reset my vehicle. This actually happened more times than I’d like and most of them were due to poor hit detection or in some cases, just by turning a corner. It’s not without its flaws, it seems…

I guess the problem is that while the game has evolved from the dirt tracks to a city of devastation, the gameplay remains the same and the problems still rear its head from time to time. While driving itself is fine, it does feel a bit dated compared to other racers in terms of control and the layouts aren’t the easiest to use. Multiplayer supports upto 16 players online, but like I said I was unable to try this as I couldn’t find a single online game due to the game’s worldwide delay.

Visually, Motorstorm Apocalypse is stunning. The utter devastation that engulfs the city streets are unlike anything I’ve seen in a racing game and the effects are world class. The soundtrack is a mixed bag, but the sound effects for explosions are buildings falling down are truly epic with surround sound.

The Verdict

Motorstorm Apocalypse is a good racer with some superb destruction effects. Its campaign is decent and will keep you playing till the end and after that you can just mess about on the tracks as they crumble away. There’s only one place you would want to be when the end of the world comes and that’s on a bike cruising through the decaying streets…