PS3 Review: Motorstorm Pacific Rift

Motorstorm returns to create a Pacific rift and you should dive straight into it

The second instalment of the best-selling PLAYSTATION 3 brutal off road racer leaves Monument Valley for a Pacific island of dense jungle, thick swamps, towering peaks and steaming volcanoes. But don’t let the tranquil scenery fool you; this new setting is as violent and unpredictable as the drivers that flock to it. It will smash, scorch and drown you at every turn.

Like the environment, opponents are smarter and more aggressive this time around, with improved Artificial Intelligence. There are 16 multi-route tracks to tear up with all the vehicle classes from the first MotorStorm: ATVs, rally cars, buggies, motorbikes, race trucks, mudpluggers and Big Rigs, as well as the newly arrived monster trucks that climb, sprint and roll over any vehicle in their way.
Multiplayer is even more intense; 16 racers can duke it out online or up to four people can get together and race in split-screen. Comprehensive PLAYSTATION Network support provides sophisticated ranking and leaderboards.

It’s brutal, dangerous, relentless, and unpredictable and more than a game – MotorStorm is way of life. The festival is back this autumn and promises to be larger than ever before.

Motorstorm 2 for Playstation 3 Features:

The island – a brand new, beautifully realized racing location

Dynamic events, unpredictable and brutal off road racing conditions make every lap unique

Competitive online racing for up to 16 players and up to 4-player split screen mode

The first Motorstorm was an okay game, but it was very shallow and limited with its options. It had potential but ran out of it quickly as it didn’t last long, online was about as fun as it got. Pacific Rift steps things up a notch with a much deeper campaign, better tracks and new elements to mix things up a little.

Locations are different from the mud piles of Motorstorm and instead look much better and are well varied. There are elements like fire and water that can cause problems like blowing you up, slowing you down.etc, but water can also cool down your engine…which comes in handy when it comes to boosting to the point of almost exploding.

Control has been refined and tweaked to be much better than in the past game, making it a much needed improvement. If there’s one criticism of Pacific Rift, it’s that the vehicles are unbalanced. Mixing too many types of vehicles for races can be problematic and it’s impossible to overlook that a fuel tanker is faster than an ATV. The game gives you a number of points for completing a race with a maximum of 100 if you win. These points add up to your rank and you unlock more vehicles as you go along, it’s a pretty good system but very basic. What I find great about Motorstorm is that you don’t have any map on screen. You can take multiple paths to the race and getting to learn each course, it can be annoying but fun at the same time.

Visually, Pacific Rift looks amazing. Screenshots and videos won’t do it any justice, it looks so much better than the original. Tracks are detailed brilliantly as are the vehicles and effects like fire, ice and water. It’s impressive stuff to look at, it’s even better to play…despite being inconsistent at times.

The Verdict

Pacific Rift doesn’t change the Motorstorm formula, but instead improves on it with refined controls, a better single player experience and better visuals. It may not be racing game of the year, but it does a good job nonetheless.