Denny Markovic
24 Sep, 2009

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge Review

PSP Review | Storming it on the fly.
One of Sony’s most recent new IP’s that has arrived with the advent of the PlayStation 3 is the off-road and brutal racer, MotorStorm. The original release that came with the launch of the console was quite good we thought, with spectacular visual clarity and some great gameplay to boot. The second title released at the end of last year improved pretty much in every aspect, and brought the game so much closer to that original target trailer released way back in 2005. Now in 2009, developer Bigbig Studios has taken the franchise and moved it into the arctic on the PSP handheld, and have thankfully retained much of what makes MotorStorm such a great franchise to begin with.

First off, the new location. The original MotorStorm was based off races in the desert, which were grimy, muddy and downright chaotic, and felt incredibly redneck and hillbilly in all its glory. Pacific Rift, the sequel to the PS3 original took it to a whole new location, the Pacific Islands, and also added a whole load of unique dynamics, such as Molten Lava and slippery rocks under waterfalls. The third in the series, Arctic Edge takes it too.. Well, the Arctic. It feels much like a mix between the first two titles, in that it retains much of the insane chaos of the desert canyons, and slippery nature of the Pacific Islands. What you get is conceptually the most dynamic of the MotorStorm titles, as many of the tracks have a lot of different routes to go through, and also feature the cooling down of the turbo system with the environment that was introduced in Pacific Rift, though this time it’s with snow and water.

The wrath of a PALGN Ban Hammer.

The wrath of a PALGN Ban Hammer.
But regardless of the stellar gameplay and style returning, it’s nothing without good level design, and Arctic Edge is almost always a hit, and slightly a miss. Most tracks are very spread out and complex, with multiple routes to go through and each holding different advantages for the variety of vehicles. Most offer an intense and often times incredibly exhilarating experience as you race through the tracks trying your best to stay alive, with a highlight track being Vertigo, one with mostly narrow pathways which are situated on the edge of a massive Cliffside in the middle of a snow storm, and there are even avalanches too. The consistency of this track in particular is excellent and offers the now widely loved style and insanity of MotorStorm in spades. Most other tracks are at about the same level in consistency, bar from a few where tracks feel a little too complicated, making navigation in a track to be a slightly irritating experience. That being said though it’s a very minor niggle, as once you’ve played it, you’ll remember it for a long time. There are 12 tracks in total, so there’s definitely a lot of replayability to be had, as each and every one has a ton of different routes and secrets to unlock as you plow through the game's campaign. There’s also the extra environmental chaos too, with random avalanches being triggered if you honk your horn too hard, or ice bridges collapsing on you if you drive over it with a heavier vehicle. The game manages to feel dynamic in each of its tracks, giving it a nice and fresh feel each time you race.

Which brings us to our next point, which is Arctic Edge’s single player campaign. Much like the previous two efforts before it, it works a bit like the ticket system, except it’s accumulated in points earned from races. Once you’ve earned a set number of points (highest to lowest amount of points goes to first, second and third place, respectively), you unlock the next tier of races or time attacks, and the campaign continues from there. The beginning of the campaign feels obligatory, as this time round vehicles need to be unlocked, but once you’ve actually unlocked the vehicles, it’s not really necessary to complete the campaign unless you’re a completionist and want to collect the achievements (which are called badges), so free play and customising what you want in a race we feel is a more enjoyable option.

Gollum riding an ATV!

Gollum riding an ATV!
Arctic Edge also introduces two new vehicle classes to the table, and both are quite different and effective in their roles. The first is the snowmobile, which is a quick and nimble vehicle that can dash through routes very quickly, but is also prone to getting knocked over very easily, so delicacy is required. The second is the Snow Plow, which is much like the truck except a little pushier, with a giant plow in front. It’s powerful and can break through the toughest of areas, but it’s also a bit slower and very heavy, making it susceptible to difficult turns and limited route taking. Both vehicle classes are welcome additions to the already robust arsenal of vehicles to choose from, and will likely spawn a rather large fanbase.

Visually, for a franchise that originated from a high-end console, Arctic Edge looks pretty damn good even when it’s downgraded. Though certainly not as pretty or eye-shatteringly detailed as the PS3 counter-parts, it still does a very good job with the PSP hardware, with strong levels of texturing and good car models with some decent deformation physics at that. Particle effects are the best part as explosions look quite spectacular, and physics are pretty decent, with an occasional amusing hiccup on its part. Overall it's a solid package on the PSP, and also holds the same typical loud sound effects MotorStorm is known for, with a licensed soundtrack featuring electro music and rock that suits the style of the game well. And to our surprise, the PSP version supports custom soundtracks too, which can be set up from your options, so bonus points for that.

It's not ALL snow you know.

It's not ALL snow you know.
Arctic Edge is fun and just as good as the previous MotorStorm games, pure and simple. The cream of the crop is definitely Pacific Rift, but Arctic Edge retains the style and frenetic gameplay that makes MotorStorm such a blast to play. The PSP version is quick and easy to get into as well, making it an ideal choice for bite sized gaming on the go. It also has great multiplayer options too, with up to 8 players online and ad-hoc connectivity. BigBig Studios have definitely done a fine job in recreating what we love about MotorStorm on the PlayStation Portable, and for any fans (or racing fans in general) longing for some chaotic and dirty action on-the-go, Arctic Edge is a must and your best choice on the platform.
The Score
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is the best arcade racer to hit the PSP platform, and is a fine addition to the already quality franchise that was born on the PS3.
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

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4 years ago
May have to get my PSP phat out (and dust it off) and get this in prep for GT5.

Good review!
4 years ago
Glad I bought this. They have done a marvellous job... anyone would love it. Hoping they will release a second one which combines tracks from the first two games... PSP owners would lap that up.
4 years ago
I'm gonna pick this up this afternoon. The variance in pricing is crazy: DSE - $78, EB - $59.95, Wow - $48, Myer - $39.
4 years ago
Toneiiblue wrote
Hoping they will release a second one which combines tracks from the first two games... PSP owners would lap that up.
That would be awesome as DLC and I'm sure Sony would like to you it as a boasting point against DS games.

It's $39 at Myer? Damn I better grab a copy then. Loved the first Motorstorm and plan on picking up Pacific Rift when it gets really cheap.
4 years ago
i bought the game already...its awesome...its only $39 at myer...i payed $60 at Target. I recomend you get it ASAP
I was going to buy it yesterday, but I only had $3.18 in the bank icon_sad.gif If I pick up some more hours at work this week I'll hopefully get it.
4 years ago
DLC? I could see that as paid DLC but think it's more likely to come out as a standalone UMD. Though with the release of the PSP Go, I guess it's not an impossibility.
4 years ago
Reviews: Sony PSP go will be released on October 1 for ï¿¡220-ï¿¡230. This Sony PSP go review will help you understand the new PSP go in the round.
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  Pre-order or buy:
    PALGN recommends: www.Play-Asia.com

Australian Release Date:
  17/09/2009 (Confirmed)
  Sony Computer Entertainment
Year Made:

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