When you think of the MotorStorm
series, radio controlled cars aren’t exactly the first things that spring to mind, so it was a little bit surprising when Evolution Studios
announced that they would be the focus of the latest instalment in the series, the aptly titled MotorStorm: RC
. Taking the huge, multi-path tracks of the original quattro of games and shrinking them down to a miniature size was always something that was going to take quite a high degree of care to manage adequately, but Evolution has done a fantastic job of it.
Obviously, given the new approach, RC
looks quite a bit different to the previous MotorStorm games, but it still manages to impress visually. The game’s locales reflect the settings of each of the four games in the series quite well, without ever needing to resort to over the top, in your face gimmicks. The scale of the cars themselves is occasionally noticeable due to the presence of every day props littered about the track, but for the most part (aside from the sound of the engines) you wouldn’t necessarily know that you’re racing radio controlled vehicles
There are four main camera options available, each one offering a slightly different angle from which to view the action. None of them are quite the top-down viewpoint we so fondly remember from Micro Machines
, one of our favourite 16-bit racers, so you’ll be able to keep a close eye on impending hazards and turns, which is fortunate given the speed of some of the higher powered models.
The soundtrack will be hit and miss for some people. Unless you’re into dubsteppy electronic stuff there’s not going to be much here for you, but it does compliment the action rather well if you can tolerate it. Speaking of the race action, let’s take a look at the important stuff…
Perhaps the most interesting thing about the way RC is laid out is its twin analog stick based control system. Rather than taking the typical approach of using the shoulder or face buttons as accelerate and brake, you’ll instead use the right stick to accelerate or decelerate and the left hand stick to control your direction at all times. It takes a little getting used to, and there are two setup different options available to you, depending on your preference, but it suits the game quite well. We do warn that there will be times where your right thumb gets a little uncomfortable on the right stick however, so be prepared to take the occasional break every now and then!
The main part of RC that you’re going to be concerning yourself with will be the Festival section. In here you’ll be able to take on events taking place in settings across the previous games in the series; Monument Valley
, Pacific Rift
, Arctic Edge
. Each of the four venues contains 12 different events, with three stars up for grabs in each. As you play and unlock stars, you’ll be rewarded with new vehicles and access to previously locked events. It’s not all that comprehensive, and those of you with keen racing nous should be able to rack up the maximum compliment over the course of an afternoon or two.
Normally this is where we would be sounding the death knell for game – such a short campaign in a title that’s so obviously focussed on these 48 different events (the majority of which are very, very short) would traditionally be a bad sign. However that’s not the case with MotorStorm RC. If anything, it’s this rather limited playing field that really opens the game up for repeated plays. You see, this game is all about the leaderboards!
Taking a nod from EA’s Need for Speed
series, you’ll be able to take on your friends, as well as the world at large, indirectly by virtue of leaderboards set up for each specific event. Every time you boot up the game, you’ll be informed of any of your top scores that have been bettered, building a real sense of competition, even if you aren’t playing directly against your opposition. This is what the whole MotorStorm: RC experience hinges upon, and it works a treat.
Those of you old enough to remember the relevance of leaderboards down through the years will be served up a timely reminder of your younger days, while a whole generation of newcomers will finally understand the sense of achievement that comes with shaving a hundredth of a second off your best time after an hour of trying. Whether you’re playing on PS3 or Vita, the aim is the same – crush your friends’ records first, then aim for the top spot globally.
To ensure that things remain varied throughout, events come in four different flavours; Race
, Hot Lap
. Race is self explanatory, with one star on offer for finishing third, two on offer for a second place finish and the maximum compliment of three on offer for those who finish first. Pursuit is a particularly fun one where you’re set a target number of vehicles that need to be overtaken within a certain time limit to win – beat the shortest target and you’ll get three stars. Hot Lap sees you race against three ghost vehicles, beat them all and you’ll get three stars. Drift is the one that’s most likely to divide people, since it’s a little bit tricky to get to grips with, but the jist of it is that you need to get a certain number of drift points within the allotted time to win, once again if you beat the shortest time you’ll get three stars.
That’s essentially all there is to the Festival side of the game, but due to the fact that it’s all pulled together so well with your friends’ times, it genuinely feels like something out of the ordinary. There’s a ferociously high level of addictiveness on display, and it’s likely that you’re going to spend far more time on MotorStorm: RC
than you really should.
Worryingly for those of us who have things to do, that’s not all that’s available either. In the Wreckreation
section, you’ll be able to get stuck into the game’s Time Attack mode, where you’ll be able to put in as many, or as few, laps as you like on each of the game’s 16 different tracks. Your best times with each vehicle will be logged, adding even more reason for you to come back time and again. In Wreckreation you’ll also be able to select from the game’s free play options, so that you can practice or just goof around without the pressure of needing to break records.
wraps up the last of the major play options. It’s essentially a free play area for you to mess around on half pipes, an empty swimming pool and some other little bits and pieces. It’s more for you to test out the handling of new vehicles in extreme circumstances than anything else. It’s a nice addition, but we can’t really see too much point in returning to it too often if we’re being honest.
On top of all that, you’ve also got an impressive 131 cars to collect
throughout the game, or rather 122 to unlock and nine (so far) to buy in the store, so there’s definitely a huge amount on offer for such a teensy tiny little game. The even better news for everyone in North America is that the Vita version of the game is currently available free of charge thanks to those lovely folks at Scion who have sponsored its distribution over the PlayStation Store. No such luck for you Europeans though, you’ve got to fork over your hard earned cash to get hold of it – but you did get it first, so it’s a case of win some, lose some.