Game Title: Motorstorm: Apocalypse
ESRB Rating: Teen
Developer: Evolution Studios
Release Date: May 3rd, 2011
Overall Score: 75/100
Review Author: Brrnout
When the first motorstorm game came out in 2007 it was a revolutionary concept to what was a rather standard racing genre. Driving on a closed circuit was a concept we have all seen before. Then came Motorstorm, a game about crazy people racing in a crazy as hell environment. Now 4 years later we have a game that is not only as intense as the first game, but feels just as fresh.
Despite the motorstorm name you would not think it when you first glance the box. This game takes place in an urban environment, which, unlike the previous games, is far more familiar then ever before as the previous games took place in a dry canyon, a tropical jungle and an ice storm respectably; here, however, we have concrete and lots of it! So you would think the experience will not live up to the last games since the enviroment is not in par with the previous. That, however, is where developer Evolution Studios shines. As the game feels familiar right from the get go despite the man-made infrastructure all around us.
Motorstorm Apocalypse shows just how far the series has come by having a narrative in the single player career for the first time. You follow the lines of Mash the rookie, Tyler a returning 'stormer, and Big Dog the veteran. Each character plays as a different difficult and each goes through the 3 days of the festival. Although each has a story, the narrative is rather shallow giving the player nothing more then a cartoon-style cut-scene between each race and although the way the cut scenes are portrayed is interesting, the story is to short and to shallow to give a real sense of weight or concern for the player and you forget it really quickly once you get down to the racing.
The city itself however is far from being simple and boring. Since this is a Motorstorm game you know there has to be some reason the attract the stormers to it and you would be right. Turns out the city is on the verge of the biggest earthquake known to man. So as everyone else runs, the stormers move in! As you race the 20+ tracks you learn this is a city with some serious bite. As you race in the earthquake ravaged city you see the tracks change before your eyes thanks to the earthquake. Routes will change, buildings will fall and chaos will reign and I would not have it any other way.
The single player is your normal deal: time trail runs, races, eliminators, and the new chase thrown in for good measure. The career set-up should feel familiar to anyone who ever played a Motorstorm game or in fact a racing game in general. The difficulty, despite being separated by the 3 characters, feels rather two sided. Either being to easy or uncomprehendingly impossible. Some of Big Dog races in fact were littered with so many cheap AI that it got to the point of controller snapping frustration. Then again this should be no surprise to anyone who has played a Motorstorm game as all the past Motorstorm games have suffered from what I like to call Motorstormer's on crack! As many of your AI nemesis will over take you with the slowest vehicle going, uh, the slowest possible route... Right on!
Although some AI issues are hard to fathom the game never stops being insane fun. Jumping from building to building with a monster truck, crushing bikers that get in your way and racking up wins as if they were skittles is what makes Motorstorm great. The controls only help this experience by feeling tighter and more responsive of those of Pacific Rift, yet drifty enough to enjoy the occasional slide around a corner at mach 1!
The online is probably the finest part of Motorstorm Apocalypse as not only does it give you an addicting experience time and time again, but also builds on the previous games in almost every possible way. Joining friends is now far easier then ever before as all it takes is a simple button press to join. Multiplayer also features 10 times more content then any Motorstorm games before. As you race with each of the 13 car classes you earn parts for all you accomplish as well as chips according to your position. These chips you can then use to bet. According to your skill in the last few races you are set up on a list. The better the player the more likely they are going to be on top of the list. The higher they are the more you can make, but the harder they will be to beat. This is a great feature as it makes every race far more interesting. You have to win but out of the corner of your eye you need to keep track of your bet as many times your bet will be worth far more to you then a win. If you win your bet you then have the option to keep it all and double your multiplayer for the next race. If you then win another bet your pot will increase and your multiplayer will as well, but beware lose but one bet and you lose it all.
The online would have been one of the best things in a while if it were not for all the problems. The game suffers from many bugs and with inconsistent servers causing you to get kicked for no reason what so ever. Since your pot does not follow you out of a room you will lose hours of work if this were to happen. The game also freezes at bizarre moments forcing all recipients to quit; once again losing your pot. It got so bad in fact that I could not race more then an hour without losing all my work. In fact I had a stretch where I lost more then 50,000 chips in a one week period! Yikes!
On the bright side the game does features online co-op competitive multiplayer as well as we as 4 player co-op split screen. Then on top of that Evolution keeps adding new weekly content making sure that there is never old content. Its just a pity the problems from day 1 still remain unfixed.
Motorstorm Apocalypse is a great game with great action. Although the story is a rather simple and the game has many problems with connectivity and glitches the game is still an amazing example of a racing game done right. I will still be playing this game for many months to come!
Verdict: RENT - BUY - SKIP
Graphics - 8.10
Gameplay/Controls - 8.10
Story - 3.10
Atmosphere - 9.5.10
Funfactor - 9.5.10
Longevity - 8.10
SFX - 8.5.10
Soundtrack - 7.10
AI - 5.10
Online - 8.10
Overall - 75 / 100
The Good - Addicting fun, amazing vehicles and environments, great atmosphere, addicting online, great player and vehicle customization tools
The Bad - Cheap AI, simple single player narrative, irritating online bugs and glitches