MotorStorm: Arctic Edge impressions - High-Def Digest Forums
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:14 PM
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Default MotorStorm: Arctic Edge impressions

Okay, so I've been playing around with the game and while I'm not 100% at it like I am with Monument Valley and Pacific Rift, I'm going through the same learning phase as I did with the previous two games. It's a bit harder since there was no demo for me to play for a month straight prior to purchasing like I had with the first two, but the game has a low low low difficulty curve in it's rank one races to make up for it.

Anyway, I guess I should start out by saying that I feel that this game is very good looking. It's a divisive issue among reviewers as to if it looks good or not, and I happen to be of the opinion that it's an exceptional looking game for the PlayStation Portable. There are some courses that do come off as underwhelming, but certainly not bad. Just not amazing. However, there are several courses that made me think I was playing a PS2 game on the small screen. Visually speaking, it's very busy, there's avalanches happening, ice bridges collapsing, cars blowing up and flying through the air, all that jazz. In that regard, it's like it's console predecessors. Lots of stuff going on on-screen. The best part, though? The frame rate holds up like a champ.

The audio in the game isn't extraordinary, but it's still good. I like it's soundtrack and I really appreciate the custom soundtrack feature. It's not usuable from any in-game menu, it has to be in a certain folder. And there are bitrate and sampling frequency restrictions but those are fairly easy to meet. (exactly 44hz sampling frequency, 256kbps or less bit rate). Now there is no way to control the music, aside from enabling and disabling individual tracks. You can't, for example, control the volume of the track without using the pause menu and you cannot switch between tracks during gameplay. However, the fact it's there at all is highly appreciated.

The meat of the game is, as expect, it's gameplay. The game consists of seven vehicle classes, each having various nuances to adjust yourself to. These aren't just skins, they are different in their handling. Not as radical as Pacific Rift, but they certainly do handle uniquely. The courses themselves, like the previous two installments, are littered with various routes and shortcuts that require one to actually think and strategize. It's not as simple as "just drive forward". Even the game mode matters. In Arctic Edge you have your standard race mode that we're all familiar with. You know, who ever is first across the finish line wins. Many routes will cause an initial loss in position but they usually, player talent being another factor, give it back and then some, thus rewarding you for taking said route. In Time Ticker mode, it's a position based point system where time in a given position earns you points. First driver to 999 points wins. The higher your position, the more points you earn per second. This means you will have to take an entirely different strategy. Instead of taking the line that would get you to the finish line first, you need to take a line that'll keep you in first place in the short term. The playing field is also smaller, thus making it easier to take those lines that you couldn't otherwise take.

One of the more talked about features is the ability to cause avalanches. When a vehicle explodes or sounds their horn at certain parts of a track, they can trigger a tidal wave of snow or dirt that sweeps away racers. It doesn't leave anything behind, but it will mess up people behind you. It's fairly easy to avoid but it can really be devestating to get hit by them. It can even alter which line you take. Likewise with ice bridges, bigger vehicles can collapse them, thus changing the way smaller vehicles have to act to win.

The difficulty curve of the game so far has been gentle, moreso than the previous two games. The AI is toned down (so far) but the real difficulty has been getting used to the courses. They're not poorly designed, actually quite the contrary. In my case, unfamiliarity has been a bigger enemy to me than the AI and I'm at rank 4 in an 8 rank curve. Like the last two games, I eventually got the hang of the courses and so far, I'm on the same track.

Now there is one major improvement from the previous two games. In Monument Valley as well as Pacific Rift, ramming someone's back bumper made them slow down... A lot. Same thing happened if someone did it to you. Now while the physics of MotorStorm have always been great, it's this one annoying oddity that haunted the franchise through two installments. That doesn't happen here. If someone hits your bumper you get a pretty decent bump forward, depending on how hard they hit you. This is very much appreciated because I cannot count the number of times I've gotten screwed because of that in the first two.

Now Arctic Edge has addressed one issue, but introduces a new one. Arctic Edge does not use Havok physics, but emulates them pretty well. (Unless you don't have to credit Havok on the boxes of PSP games, it isn't in the game) Though not often, I've found myself violently flipping forward after landing flat on four wheels, inevitably wrecking. This is not a common occurance and in probably three or four hours total game time, it's happened to me maybe two or three times. Furthermore, the Reset to Track feature is not as responsive nor as easy to bring up. In previous games, if you went off track far enough it would pop up fairly quick and you'd respawn at a somewhat reasonable spot. Arctic Edge would rather wait for you to pass off the track and instant respawn you in a somewhat inconvenient spot.

My final annoyance with the game is it's easy to overshoot a desired landing spot when going off ramps, so it's mostly best to avoid them if the ramp takes you somewhere that requires sharp turning.

Nonetheless, these are not things that happen "first time, every time". It can be remedied by handling those spots differently. In the case of the ramps, the player can do some compensation that can prevent wrecking or overshooting where you wish to land.

Overall, the game is fantastic and feels as a MotorStorm game should feel, more or less. I'm having a blast with it, despite some minor complaints. However, what game is perfect?

Pros:
+Top notch visuals, overall.
+Custom soundtracks (with minor strings attached).
+Plenty of variety in vehicles and courses.
+Good physics for the most part.
+Excellent feeling of speed.


Cons:
-Load times are kind of long.
-Buggy physics every once in a kind of rare while.


?????:
*What does PS3 Remote Play Compatible mean? I know I can play PS1 games and some PS3 games on PSP, but what does it mean for the PSP? Can I play this game on PS3 somehow? It's a feature on the back of the box but I have no idea what it means.


What I can say is that if you're a fan of the series thus far, you'll like this game a lot. It's a showcase of why MotorStorm is a good game. While it doesn't really do anything the older ones didn't, it's a new setting with new tracks and it's a blast. If you're a fan and you have a PS2, a PSP, or a PS2 compatible PS3, get this game. You won't regret it.

If I had to score it.... I'd say an 8.5.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:43 PM
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Nice review. I'm on the edge with this one. I'll probably get it it in a couple of months though. Ever since the bomb went off in the PSP store I've been wanting a lot of games.
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Old 10-05-2009, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Deathmerchnt View Post
Nice review. I'm on the edge with this one. I'll probably get it it in a couple of months though. Ever since the bomb went off in the PSP store I've been wanting a lot of games.
Yeah, the selection is kinda nice. There are a few games I'd get on the store, particularly if the first two Final Fantasy games come up. MotorStorm, though, was one of those games I had to get on disc. My 8GB stick is loaded with media and it's the only one I have, so not much room for games.
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Old 10-06-2009, 12:16 AM
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Alright, I can confirm I have found my mojo. And with it, the game's fun factor just increased by a factor of like three.

Also, my roommate and I are likely going in on the PS2 version. Can't wait to see how it looks on the TV, even if it is a PS2 game. Just thinking of the visual improvement....
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Old 10-06-2009, 03:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BBM128 View Post
Alright, I can confirm I have found my mojo. And with it, the game's fun factor just increased by a factor of like three.

Also, my roommate and I are likely going in on the PS2 version. Can't wait to see how it looks on the TV, even if it is a PS2 game. Just thinking of the visual improvement....
What visual improvement? It will probably look worse on a TV than on the PSP's little screen like every other PSP to PS2 port. I suggest you read some reviews before buying it.
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Old 10-06-2009, 05:38 AM
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I like the 1 or 2 games I've played of it on my PSP however I have too many games to beat first .
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis M. View Post
What visual improvement? It will probably look worse on a TV than on the PSP's little screen like every other PSP to PS2 port. I suggest you read some reviews before buying it.
I read somewhere that the PS2 was going to feature improved visuals, IIRC. Regardless, we'll see when it comes out.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by BBM128 View Post
I read somewhere that the PS2 was going to feature improved visuals, IIRC. Regardless, we'll see when it comes out.
If so then great, I'm just suggesting not to blind buy it because the record of PSP->PS2 ports hasn't been good so far.
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Old 10-06-2009, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Dennis M. View Post
If so then great, I'm just suggesting not to blind buy it because the record of PSP->PS2 ports hasn't been good so far.
I'll keep that in mind, but I wonder how much coverage the PS2 version will get.
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Old 10-06-2009, 10:01 AM
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Wow, long review, thanks for taking the time.. I'll probably pick it up when my PSPGo arrives this week..

Too bad there isn't a PSP version of Pure
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