March 8, 2012

Motorstorm RC Review

Hello All,

Motorstorm RC launched yesterday on the Playstation Vita free of charge thanks to a marketing deal with Scion. If you haven't picked it up already I recommend doing so as the free version may be pulled from the Playstation Store in the coming days.

Get Motorstorm RC for FREE

Motorstorm RC is Evolution Studios' first effort on bringing the acclaimed franchise onto the Playstation Vita. I was very skeptical of this game at first because unlike any of the previous entries in the series, RC ditches the gameplay we've become accustomed to for a more old-school approach. Quick races and challenges for the top spot on the leaderboard replace the lengthy races across treacherous terrain we’ve become familiar with. Instead of being a part of the action, the player takes a zoomed out aerial view. Fans of this style should feel right at home.

If this view isn't your thing, move along.

All the cars you've been used to racing with have been replaced by their mini RC counterpart (sorry, no bikes in this game). There are a total of 8 car classes with 4 different models within each. The Supermini, Monster Truck, Racing Truck, Buggy, Rally Car, Big Rig, Muscle Car, and Super Car are all available for your racing pleasure. Due to the pulled-back aerial view all the cars do tend to look very similar to one another and only really stand out with their handling. 

There are 24 vehicles but all look similar.

There are three different modes for you take head on: Festival, Wreckreation, and Playground. Festival mode has you tackling 64 different races or challenges across the four environments pulled from previous Motorstorm games. The 16 different tracks span the locals Monument Valley, Pacific Rift, Arctic Edge, and Apocalypse. There are 192 medals to earn with three per challenge. Each challenge will have you either racing for first place, attempting to finish a lap in a set time in Hot Lap, trying to rack up 5,000 drift points in the set time in Drift, and overtaking the set number of cars in Pursuit.

Monument Valley, Pacific Rift, Arctic Edge
and Apocalypse are all available.

Wreckreation allows players to attempt to take the top spot on the leaderboard in Time Attack or play through any of the racing modes besides pursuit in Free Play. Time Attack has different leaderboards for each car class and track in the game. These leaderboards are separate from the ones in Festival mode, which is a nice touch.

Time Attack

Playground sounds like exactly what it is. A giant skatepark and playground is open for you to try out each of your cars and complete silly little challenges such as hitting a soccer ball into the goal. You’ll most likely be done with Playground within thirty minutes but it does have its perks. While in playground you'll be notified when someone beats your score and given the option to load up the race in an attempt to take back your spot on the leaderboard. The system feels excellent and really puts an emphasis on competing to hold onto your score. There is also a complete list of all the people who have beat your times in the Pitwall that can be accessed from any menu without having to be in Playground. I personally prefer the Pitwall as I can scroll through the challenges and choose the one that I am interested in.

Getting Air in the Playground

The soundtrack for Motorstorm RC is anything but excellent. The soundtrack is filled with a mix of dubstep and techno music that all blends together into an unrecognizable track list that is easily forgotten. Luckily, like most Vita games, you are allowed to listen to your custom soundtracks in game. The sound effects are all present but the game in unable to rely on them. Often you’ll hear the “ding” alerting the start of the race shortly after the race has actually started. The purring of your little RC battery powered engine cuts in and out as it pleases and sound effects like glass cracking often sounds delayed. The biggest thing I noticed was that the game is unable to playback multiple sound effects. While driving over glass or while drifting all other sounds besides the music disappear and when you crash into a wall, even the music briefly cuts out. Motorstorm RC has every sound effect you’d expect but is unable to combine them into a complete package.

There is sound for glass cracking, sometimes...

Graphics are beautiful on the Vita but the distant approach really detracts from the enjoyment. As previously stated, cars are almost non-distinguishable by their looks. Tracks also become very bland in the Arctic Edge environment. In general, none of the tracks share the same feeling of character that the previous Motorstorm games brought to the table. The tracks feel empty and lack the personality that makes you want to replay them.

Tracks lack expected personality.

The menus in Motorstorm RC work extremely well. The menus overlay the race beneath it allowing for rapid transitions between different challenges or an instant second attempt on the track. Everything is very fast and intuitive.

The controls are the roughest part of Motorstorm RC. The developers allowed for completely customizable controls but the steering remains challenging beyond enjoyment. It took a few races to become comfortable with the controls but they still remained a problem especially in the later events. Instead of steering how you would in other racing games, Motorstorm RC has you simply point in the direction you want to go. 

Be prepared to miss your turn, a lot.

Most of the challenge from later events stems from the faulty controls instead of difficult lap times or tough opponents. Drift challenges more than highlight how terrible the controls are. Be prepared to drive head first into walls on sharp turns and struggle for hours trying to get close to 5,000 drift points in 35 seconds. I enjoy a challenge and have no trouble besting one, but having the controls be the only challenge for Motorstorm RC is just frustrating. I easily obtained 3 medals on every challenge besides Drift.

Drift Mode is nearly impossible thanks to the controls.

If you enjoy duking it out on leaderboards Motorstorm RC will keep you entertained. Even if you can't make your way onto the top 10, the Pitwall will give you the feeling of beating out your competition and push you slowly to the top. There is no classic versus multiplayer but it does not feel like it would fit the game.

Overall, I love racing games and Motorstorm RC does a great job on making the leaderboards a central part of the experience. Every event and car has its own separate leaderboard that will have you battling it out with friends and randoms to hold onto your spot. Beyond that, Motorstorm RC begins to struggle. Controls are extremely frustrating and there is little challenge, even in the Super Car races. The tracks lack the personality that I've come to expect in Motorstorm games and the sound design cuts in and out as it pleases. This game sets the bar for Vita connectivity but struggles to be anything but good.

Video review coming later.

55/100 - O.K.
Game is enjoyable for the most part but big problems bring the complete experience down.

Since I haven't done a review yet here is my scale.

100 - Perfect
90 - Amazing, a small problem here and there but remains enjoyable
80 - Great, a few problems distract from enjoyment
70 - Good, enjoyable, nothing really new but nothing really bad
60 - Mediocre, enjoyable but big problems make some parts passable
50 - O.K., Game is enjoyable for the most part but big problems bring complete experience down
40 - Meh, game did nothing new and was riddled with problems
30 - Bad, unenjoyable game with many problems
20 - Awful, unenjoyable experience that I struggled to get through
10 - Terrible, unplayable, broken, unenjoyable
0 - Garbage, wait, there was a game in this mess?


No comments:

Post a Comment