PSP Review: Motorstorm Arctic Edge

Will this version of Motorstorm leave you out in the cold?

The Motorstorm series started out with mixed results due to the lack of content, but it was still an enjoyable racer. The sequel gave fans more of what they wanted and it was simply brilliant…now the series comes to the PSP, but can it get the same response?
First I’ve cover all the good stuff. There’s a great career mode, online support and damage inflicted to vehicles is impressive. It’s quite a deep game as you have to perform well in races to unlock more of them; it’s pretty much the complete opposite of the PSP version of Gran Turismo which lacked more or less all of these features. The only trouble is that the game doesn’t have a huge variety of content; there are only about 12 tracks in the game which is far too little for any racing game.

Sure, the tracks included are pretty good…but the game suffers from the same problem as the very first entry, it lacks content. Once you’ve done the tracks and raced a bit online, there’s little reason to keep playing. Also, make sure you switch the control method to use the d-pad to steer instead of the default analog setup…it’s not so much a problem with the game as one with the system itself. Racing with the analog stick doesn’t feel right; at least it didn’t to me.
As with past games, Motorstorm is all about racing on tricky courses with vehicles that are prone to damage. Boosting still plays an important part and you can cool your engine down by driving in specific parts of the track, but because each track is icy…it can be hard to tell exactly what parts will cool it down. I would have liked to see some more locations other than what’s included, but I guess I can always play Pacific Rift to make me feel better.

I guess that’s the main problem with Motorstorm Arctic Edge. It makes me want to play the console versions instead. Load times are long and the vehicles can be a bit clunky to control at times. What is disappointing is that the icy tracks do not impact your vehicles at all, so you won’t see any sliding going on…which is incredibly unrealistic. I can’t help feeling that both teams who worked on GT and Motorstorm for the PSP should have worked together so we all got the features we wanted from both games. GT could have had a career mode, online and damage, while Motorstorm could have got more tracks and content…oh well.

The Verdict

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge is a valiant effort in bring the series to the PSP. It does lose some of the magic in the transition and the lack of content is painful, but it does offer online support…which makes it have a bigger lifespan than most racers on the system.