I love both versions of Motorstorm on the PS3, and to be honest I was very sceptical about a PSP version. How could such a graphically impressive, fast paced action racer even be possible on the PSP hardware? Surely it’ll couldn’t compare to it’s big brothers.
For those unfamiliar with the series Motorstorm is a multi-vehicle off road arcade racer with big jumps, big boost’s and even big crashes. Arctic Edge is set in a mountainous Alaskan location, the twelve tracks vary from high peak snowy mountain ridges, right down deep muddy valleys. Which is great, as good as the the snowy tracks are to race on and look at, it is nice to see a different terrain and surroundings in the game. As you would expect after playing any Motorstorm game the tracks do look amazing, incredibly long draw distances and very little ‘pop-in’ on track. Plus not only does it have track deformation and semi-destructible environments there is a nice feature with collapsing ice bridges and snow avalanches to catch you out.
The vehicles we’re familiar with make a return here. Motorbikes, ATVs, Rally cars, Buggies, Snowpluggers (i.e. Mudpluggers), Big Rigs and a first for Motorstorm, Snowmobiles and big Snowcats. Each vehicle with their own unique characteristics and abilities. Only one of each vehicle is unlocked at the beginning but further become available as you progress through the Festival game mode. Also unlock able are cosmetic upgrades for the vehicles.
As mentioned above the Festival game mode is the main focus of the single player game. Progressing through certain races with certain vehicles to unlock other ‘ranks’ and races. the difficulty curve starts of pretty low, the first three – four ranks are generally quite easy to pass. I’d consider them more training stages to teach you the tracks, vehicles and unique handling abilities of each vehicle. But it quickly ramps up in difficulty after rank four. It won’t be uncommon to repeat certain races and tasks multiple times with multiple vehicles to achieve the required 1st place. But that’s what makes Motorstorm so much fun. the speed, the skill and quite often, the luck. Another signature feature Motorstorm fans have come to know and love are the big show time crashes, over boost or mess with the wrong vehicle and you’re in trouble. Destructible vehicles and nice ragdoll physics can make for some graphically impressive and spectacular crashes.
Aside from the Festival mode there’s Wreckreation mode. Featuring a Time Attack, Free-Play and Multiplayer game modes. With Time Attack you can set up whatever track you like, with whatever vehicle you like and try to set the quickest time. Online leaderboards and downloadable ghosts will ensure fierce competition. Free-play mode allows you to set up race events to suit. Now the most exciting feature of the Wreckreation mode would have to Multiplayer, both ad-hoc and online. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to use the ‘review copy’ of Motorstorm: Arctic Edge online. But with up to 8 players online and a full online ranking system it’s safe to assume it’ll be a great addition to the game, and also something I’d like to see in more PSP titles.
As you can see above the visuals look quite amazing, all these were taken with the Screenshot feature. I’ll admit that still images don’t really do justice to how good this game looks. At full speed the game looks almost flawless. I did notice some a slight drop in frame rate when the action got busy, but once you see how much is going on on screen, a slight drop is a small price to pay. The sound track to the game is awesome (any soundtrack with ‘Queens of the Stone Age is awesome), Twenty high octane songs to keep your pulse racing which compliments the game play beautifully. From The Prodigy, Motorhead to The Chemical Brothers, there’s something to keep almost everyone happy.
I was concerned this would turn out to be a watered down, simpler version of Motorstorm. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This is a full, proper, excellent Motorstorm experience. Bigbig Studios deserve a lot of credit here. They’ve taken a big popular title from the PS3 and made it into a must own PSP title. I can safely say, Motorstorm: Arctic Edge is definitely the BEST arcade racer on the PSP. Now if you’ll excuse me, back to the action.