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MotorStorm: Apocalypse.


FlavouredMilk

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FlavouredMilk

Okay, so here it is, my first review of 2011, and I thought, where else than here?

 

MOTORSTORM: APOCALYPSE is my first new game of 2011, I have a long list of games to buy this year, but MS:A was the first to hit the shelves (besides the currently over-priced HOMEFRONT).

 

I picked up MS:A about 4 or 5 days after it's release and started it up the moment I got home, trapped by a 10 minute update, I decided to have a scroll through the booklet, I hadn't really seen much on MS:A besides it's trailers and Dev Diaries, and one thing out of the whole booklet that caught my eye was 'vehicle customisation, that was something that was limited to vinyl choices in other MotorStorms, something I was now very interested to see just how far they'd gone.

 

Once MS:A had finished updating I threw the booklet aside and watched the introduction, I was interested in the intro's comical design and change of mood compared to the previous two MotorStorms, that is something I will come back to alot throughout this review.

 

The main menu also had a bunch of comic artwork in the background and this held my interest for quite some time, but before anything, I had to get to the vehicle customisation; I went into the my MotorStorm section to check it out, and was surprised to see 13 car classes; Dirt Bikes, ATV's, Buggies, Rally Cars, Racing Trucks, Mud Pluggers, Big Rigs, Monster Trucks, Super Bikes, Choppers, Super Cars & Muscle Cars, I was pleased to see so many different types, but a little let down with only 3 cars per class, having one of each unlocked from the beginning.

 

I started off with the Dirt Bike, the first vehicle on the list and I was instantly stunned by the amount of customisation, there were enough part choices to make Need For Speed shy to show it's face. Everything from wheels, to brake calipers (and disc), to the fuel tank, to the engine, the body panels, the exhaust and even the swing arm... Even with this amout of options in list, I was once again let down to see I only had 2 options (3 with the option to remove) unlocked to begin with, but an extra 2-3 to be unlocked by 'Parts Challenges' such as Air-Time, wrecking other vehicles and drifting. The bike I finished rather quickly, looking more forward to the Rally and Muscle car.

 

Going through modifying the cars, I began to learn the Vinyl Editor is totally f*cking broken. All the vinyls are preset and designed to 'fit' all vehicles... Which they don't... There are 3 maybe 4 vinyls that actually work, out of a list of about 50 odd. But it's expected as it is a new front for MotorStorm, but it's still quite a shame. The stickers work well though, setting brands and logo's in on average 10 slots on the vehicle, anything from the MotorStorm helmet to a Beezlebuggy sticker. The other modification option is Personalisation, which includes your racing number, which you can choose to have on or off, and then a number of badges and font types, a ridiculous number actually, I frequently found myself lost in the options looking for the same one I had on my other car. The other 3 options are weathering, grunge and scratches, that's right, you can MAKE your car dirty, that is something I've ALWAYS wanted in a video game, and this made me very happy. Weathering tears up your stickers, Grunge adds well... Grunge to the car, and as do Scratches. So many options, with more unlockable as you level up.

 

I finished my modifying spree with the muscle car, turning it into a 70's highway patrol cruiser, before setting off for 'The Festival'. As the festival was loading up I was looking forward to seeing how it was set out, and what each of my cars would be good for.

 

The first thing that came up was a cutscene, a motion-comic. This took me by surprise, as it took alot of MotorStorms hardcore-crazy mixed with reality style and just kind of, threw out the reality, I really feel they weren't a good choice, but also, the fact that there was a story, with characters, that was new, Previous MotorStorms were based purely on the race, but this now has a story, and sadly, the story provides you with a vehicle for every single race, no choices (unless you replay it in Quick Play) and therefore all my modified cars had gone temporarily to waste. A motion-comic plays between each race, and at first it was just something I sat through waiting for the race, but towards the end of The Festival, I found myself waiting for the motion-comics, which I feel, isn't something you should want when playing a MotorStorm game, as it became more about the story and less about the race.

 

That's not to say the story wasn't good, it kept interest and was rather enjoyable; The story is broken in to 3 pieces. The Festival is a 2 day long event based in 'The City' and takes place everywhere from the beach to the tops of skyscrapers. You start off playing as a Rookie member of the MotorStormers, play through your 2 days worth of events before moving to the story of a Pro, and a member of the MotorStorm Brotherhood. I found this being the most enjoyable story, as it has a a few turns and twists and some rather awesome races. There is one complaint I have, 2 of the Brotherhood members have unique vehicles, one drives the Patriot Surger from the previous MS games, and another an El Camino want-to-be. NEITHER are available anywhere in the game, not even in My MotorStorm vehicles. Hopefully both are released as DLC.

 

After spending a small time in The Festival I moved on to online racing, which is where I found my own vehicles to come in to use, and this is where all the unlocks happen, picking up drift points, air-time, wrecking oponents. The online in MS:A is the major feature of the game, which is quite the trend these days; Build 'Game', Make amazing online, slap on a story and release. The online lobbies have a few bugs and issues, with slow loading sessions and frequent drop outs, but once in the race (90% of the time) all is good. Though I had two situations where when the race loaded I was facing backwards and about 30 metres further back than everyone else. Ruining the whole race for me. Each online race asks you to place a bet, every player has a number of chips and you bet their chips to beating them, when you win the bet, you get their chips and a multiplier, which you can use in the next race to win higher stakes, this only stays in effect if you stay in the one group of racers, or else you go back to 0. Levelling up online gives you things like Perks, Drivers and Driver Icons, and each race rewards you with accolades and medals. The drivers in MS:A are more limited than MS:PR and more personal, each racer having their own style, making it sometimes difficult to find one you like.

 

The perks are broken up into three groups, Handling, Boost and Strength(?) With handling perks being things such as better braking, better grip, more air-control etc. Boost having ones such as quicker cool-down, lasting longer in critical-boost and cooling down in air, and the third one having things like Shunts do more damage and vehicle can take more damage.

 

Now onto the one thing everyones really wanting to know about, the gameplay. I left this to last for a reason, I have alot to say about it.

 

If you've played MS or MS:PR then you know how MS feels, it's gritty, it's harsh, everything about the previous two MotorStorms were just great. But I have a question. Why fix something that's not broken? I have to ask this, because that's exactly what they tried to do with Apocalypse. The game play is unbelievably different, and it's not good. The first and second MotorStorm games were all about vehicle and terrain, the mud, the dirt, the water. It was all there. But MS:A lacks nearly all of that, with terrain just turning into surface, and water being nearly the only thing left to have any affect on vehicles, which has caused a loss of the 'MotorStorm feel' in the game.

The way the vehicles handle is tidy though, they all feel the way you'd expect and I really don't have any complains in handling. Though one thing that gets on my nerves every race is issues with the environment, with random areas of visually level ground that decide to tear your wheels off of your vehicle, or other areas where you drive straight through an object, or, on specific levels, the environment drives right through you... But the game just feels a tad, rushed, and there wasn't enough time spent picking out all the little bugs.

 

The environment in the game is amazing, racing down a road as it explodes into chunks and throws entire building down on you is thrilling and keeps you watching yourself, with everything from buildings falling down to aeroplanes diving out of the sky, to army helicopters and soldiers attacking you as you race, the game becomes really intense at times, the only problem with all this is, it's predictable, the same events happen in the same order on the same tracks everytime.

 

The Army and 'The Crazies' scatter nearly every track, creating endless fun running down endless groups of people and watching them cling to your car before flailing off and hitting something, also the ones you don't run down will fire guns and throw molotovs at you, and attack you while you race, making the dying city feel, alive.

One thing that would have been nice to have seen would be land vehicles used by the Army as the only vehicles used are helicopters, excpet in one of The Festival races where a number of Army Trucks are headed the opposite way you are, which is once again, a one-off in the Festival.

 

The vehicle damage has always been plain awesome in previous MotorStorms, with every vehicle having the ability to go from a shiny new race car, to a paperweight of any shape or form it ends in, but once again MS:A failed to deliver, with vehicle damage being more like what the originals beta would have looked like than the damage you'd expect from the third in the (console) games. Which is yet another shame as crashing has always been a highlight of the MotorStorms, the other being the Photo-Mode to show just how hard you f*cked up. MS:A once again, broke it, photomode is still there, but it's touchy and difficult to control, and the most irritating part is the lack of being able to move the camara away from the vehicle, there isn't much control of it, you can't zoom out and take a nice broad shot, or move the camera back up the track a little to take a photo of something you've missed. It's impossible! But still, I managed to get some lovely photo's.

 

One thing I'll also note, is that the AI in the festival appear to be, quite literally rigged, with numerous incidents where I'd be in say, 5th (too low to qualify for the next race) and would slam into a wall and fall down into a burning hole, then respawn in 3rd... Or would be 8th and 500m from the line, everyone would screw up and I'd win the race. Which really annoyed me, as the previous MotorStorms made you fight for your position this one near just hands it out.

 

All in all though, MotorStorm: Apocalypse is a welcome addition to my game collection (also boasting MS and MS:PR) and has kept my occupied for a good few days, with many to come, as I fight my way up the online ranks, as I knocked the story down over night. The gameplay may not be as down and dirty as the previous games, but is enjoyable none-the-less. If you're a follower of the MotorStorm series, I'd advice you to buy it, even if you're not, if the idea of racing cars through a city going weak at the knees, then this will shake your world.

 

And for all those who work in numbers. 8 out of 10. Just a shame about what they removed from the game, though most of the additions make up for it.

 

-ALiXoV3rDoS3

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Chinatown Wars

Wasnt this delayed because of sony thinking it was a little to wierd to release something that has natural disasters happening when japan was hit by like 5million natural disasters?

I may be wrong but...

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FlavouredMilk

I think in the UK or something, could be wrong, but it's here in Aus, and other places, as online is packed.

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Finn 7 five 11

I read the whole thing and it was quite good, a few grammatical fixes, and swapping certain words out for others and it would have seemed relatively professional.

 

I was wondering about motorstorm, what sort of game is it, clearly a racing game, what can you compare it to, can you attack other vehicles with weapons?

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FlavouredMilk
I read the whole thing and it was quite good, a few grammatical fixes, and swapping certain words out for others and it would have seemed relatively professional.

 

I was wondering about motorstorm, what sort of game is it, clearly a racing game, what can you compare it to, can you attack other vehicles with weapons?

Thanks, yeah, I try with my reviews, I'm reasonably good, but not perfect grammatically and so forth.

 

Uhmm, MotorStorm is really just hardcore racing, pushing everything to the limit. As for attacking other vehicles, L1/R1 perform a shunt, which can be used to push other vehicles into objects or off the edge etc. Though using a motorcycle or ATV you can swing out and hit other competitors off of their vehicles, though I suggest you don't punch a Monstertruck ;]

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Though using a motorcycle or ATV you can swing out and hit other competitors off of their vehicles, though I suggest you don't punch a Monstertruck

So there's still punching? Why wasn't it there when I played the demo? I was using a bike...

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