Review: Motorstorm: Arctic Edge (PSP)

MSAE

Title: Motorstorm: Arctic Edge
Format: UMD / PlayStation Network Download (525 MB)
Release Date: October 2, 2009
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: BigBig Studios
Original MSRP: $39.99
ESRB Rating: T
Motorstorm: Arctic Edge is exclusive to PlayStation Portable.
A Review Build of the game was used for this review.

Audio Review:
The audio review for this game is available on Episode 133 of the podcast.

Visuals:
In short, the visuals are definitely better than I expected. Sometimes it can seem very brown or very white, but they do a great job of changing things up throughout the tracks. Each track definitely has its own “theme,” and each is quite unique. You’ll even see some examples of volumetric smoke and some deformation (which is more of a visual trick, and not the type of deformation that you get in the PS3 versions.) I’m finding it quite easy to see where I need to go on the tracks, and even though you’ll see the occasional pop-in, honestly, they’ve exceeded my expectations. The vehicles all have an appropriate amount of detail, and the textures look great. All of this is brought to the small screen with a great framerate that doesn’t dip. You’ll definitely notice a lack of anti-aliasing, but on the small screen, it’s really only evident in the menus.

Audio:
This is definitely another PSP game that should be played through headphones. The sounds effects are effective, and portray the mechanical carnage very well. Also, the included soundtrack is quite impressive as in the past Motorstorm titles, even though I’d only ever heard of 2 of the bands on the list. It doesn’t work in my Review Build, but the Fact Sheet does state that the game supports Custom Soundtracks. I’m not 100% positive that it will, so we’ll have to wait until the game is released to know for sure.

Presentation:
Simply put, this is a scaled-down version of the PS3 Motorstorm games, in pretty-much every sense of the word. It starts with a pre-rendered cinema, then takes you to the menus which has cars racing around in the background, just like the PS3 versions. You can choose form different drivers and customize their looks, and more can be unlocked throughout your career. The career is setup like a tower, that you continually climb from race-to-race. Events can be standard races against AI, or timed events where you try to beat a posted time limit. You also have timed events that require you to hit certain smoke-gates, and every time that you successfully hit a gate, they add 4 seconds to your allowed time.

The crashes are still in the game, but obviously with the less powerful hardware, they’re not as visually stunning as those on the PS3. Some parts still fly, some parts still crumple, and yes, if you’re on a cycle, ATV, or snowmobile, the driver will fly-off in all if his/her rag-doll glory. Speaking of vehicle parts, another thing that you can upgrade is the vehicles. They are customizable this time around, and you unlock parts throughout your career. The changes are noticeable, not just cosmetically either as they do affect performance somewhat. That’s a pretty nice addition to the series, and I hope that they include something like it in the next PS3 game.

Gameplay:
Let’s get this out of the way right now, THANK YOU BigBig Studios for allowing us to choose between using the Analog Nub and the D-Pad for controlling the game!!! There are 4 control schemes total, and all 4 are very intuitive. The controls that I use include the D-Pad for controlling the vehicle, X is accelerate, and R1 is boost. Out of all of them, this just felt the most natural for me, and it works very well. You still “feel” some of the bumps and cracks in the racing surface, but again, not as much as in the PS3 versions. The controls are incredibly responsive yet easy to use, and are exactly what you would expect from a Motorstorm game. The difficulty is definitely toned-down quite a bit in your first couple of ranks, but it ramps-up gradually and really starts kicking your butt in Rank 3. If there’s one race that you can’t get through, you will be able to play a couple of others that are past it to build some more points up. I am stuck on one race right now though, and it’s getting a bit frustrating to be honest.

Multiplayer is handled by both Ad Hoc and Infrastructure, but I have not had the opportunity to try either, as the Infrastructure servers are not online as of this writing. Both seem to be well done, but until I can actually try them, I can’t really comment on multiplayer at all. It’s great to see another PSP game support Infrastructure mode though, and all we can hope for if for more titles to support that mode as well in the future.

Conclusion:
It’s rare that a great PS3 game scales so well to the PSP, but this is one of those cases. There’s not really a lot to complain about here, and I’m very happy about that. I would say that the difficulty ramps-up a bit too much in Rank 3, and it would have been nice to try the multiplayer for this review. Also, I would have liked to try out the Custom Soundtrack feature, but again, we’re still not guaranteed that it will be in the final game.

Should you buy this game though? If you are a Motorstorm fan, the answer is definitely ‘Yes’. If you’re not a fan of Motorstorm, probably not, as this is basically more of the same in a smaller form. If you want a great arcadey racer with great visuals, great control, and great fun, this game is definitely for you though. My score may change after trying the multiplayer out on the full retail release, but even with being stuck on 2 races at the moment personally, this is a great game overall, and is definitely worth getting.

Score:
7.0

 

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  • JG_92

    Sweet, getting this!
    But it's already been out for like at least 2 weeks in the UK!

  • hurm… so if you had to choose one for now which one would it be… gran turismo psp or this? can only get one for now… you just made my choose even harder.. thanks.

  • It depends on what you want, Gran Turismo or Motorstorm. Boiled-down, that will define your choice.

  • interesting…too bad i am not getting a pspgo…but i will check this out when i grab a psp-2000 (for the 3rd time)

  • lol, that's the problem.. i want both… ahhhh!!!

  • lol, that's the problem.. i want both… ahhhh!!!

  • Does anybody know if this game will work on the Vita?