MotorStorm Arctic Edge Review
The MotorStorm series has a loyal following on the PS3, but can the racing series known for its great graphics and wide-open racing deliver the same kind of excitement on the portable PSP? While it's hard to recreate the experience of playing a game in 1080p on a 40" screen, MotorStorm Arctic Edge does do a pretty good job of capturing the spirit of the series. And that spirit is wide-open off-road racing, although this time there's more snow and ice than mud - it wasn't named Arctic Storm for nothing. Just as in the console versions of the game, vehicles range in size from big rigs to dirt bikes and they all compete in the same races which gives each event a wide-open, free-for-all feeling. The arctic setting allows for some vehicle types new to the series such as snowcats and snowmobiles, but they don't seem to have any inherent advantage over the other more mud-friendly vehicle types.
The appeal of MotorStorm doesn't just come from the way it mixes so many different types of vehicles in its events, but also from the courses in which these events take place. The courses feature multiple routes and your choice of route will have an impact on how well you do in the race. It's not just a matter of finding the shortcuts on a course – you need to find a path that plays to the advantages of the type of vehicle that you're driving. If you're on a motorcycle you'll want to stick to the high, rocky routes and avoid getting bogged down in the thick snow at the bottom of the canyons. If you're in a big rig, you'll need to keep away from those windy high routes and tear up those wider, slushier bottom routes. If you're in something in between, well, that's where some of the challenge comes in.
Another part of the fun of Arctic Edge comes from the way it captures the feeling of speed. You really move when you're racing and that's before you engage the boost. Like previous MotorStorm games, using the boost will heat up your engine and if you keep it engaged for too long you'll pay for your mistake with an engine explosion. Lay off of the boost and the meter will slowly cool – and in Arctic Edge you can speed that cooling time up a bit by driving through a snow bank. Part of the fun is seeing how far you can push the boost while trying to keep yourself from flying off of a cliff or smashing into a boulder. Arctic Edge is very much an arcade racer, but that doesn't mean it doesn't take skill to navigate the tracks. While on the topic of tracks, I should mention that Arctic Edge includes twelve tracks. Although all of these tracks are set in the Arctic, they do have their own quirks and personalities and provided a nice amount of racing variety.
The game's main mode is pretty simple – you have your choice of a few races at first, and if you do well in those you'll unlock more events. There are plenty of events in the game and not all of them are tied to being the first to cross the finish line. There are also eliminator mode races (last place racer is eliminated every time the timer ticks down until only one remains) and time ticker races in which you earn points during the race depending on where you are in the pack. If you're in first you'll accumulate points at a far faster rate than if you're in last. The variety of race types available adds to the fun.
Arctic Edge is not a deep racing game by any means, but it is a great little racer for a portable system. A feeling of repetition may set in if you're looking to sit down with the game for hours on end, but for fast-paced bouts of racing while gaming on the go it's a blast.
In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 90%. Arctic Edge captures the MotorStorm spirit in a great little portable racer.