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Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review

This is a discussion on Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review by A_FlyingMegaKiwi Basic Information: Developer: Evolution Studios Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment Date of North American Release: ...

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    Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review


    Motorstorm: Pacific Rift Review
    by A_FlyingMegaKiwi


    Basic Information:
    Developer: Evolution Studios
    Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
    Date of North American Release: 28 October, 2008
    Date of European Release: 7 November, 2008
    Trophies: Yes


    Overview:
    An island, born from fire. Shaped by the elements. Claimed by nature, and abandoned by man… Until now. The stage is set. The land braces itself. Welcome, to Motorstorm.

    Upon booting the game up and installing the necessary updates, I was greeted by those words; spoken in an over the top Hollywood voice-over manner. I watched, as an island was unveiled before my eyes; an idyllic scene unspoiled by man and instead caressed by the loving hold of Mother Nature. Then, they came. Boats, cargo ships and helicopters piled high with racers and supporters alike steamed ahead towards the island in the distance. Here, I saw my first glimpse of what awaited me after the opening cinematic. This was going to be a crazy ride.

    The original Motorstorm hit the Playstation 3 with no holds barred. Being one of the first titles available for the system, it quickly became a hit amongst critics and players. At first glance, the title seemed like just another ordinary off-road racer coupled with better-than-average graphics. Inside though, it was filled with chaos, destruction, high speeds, adrenaline and more chaos.

    Some of the biggest gripes from the original were the lack of split-screen multi-player and the lengthy load times. With Pacific Rift, Evolution Studios set out to fix these problems and establish themselves as the top dogs when it comes to adrenaline-fueled, off-road racing on Sony’s black box.


    Gameplay:
    Pacific Rift uses the same control scheme as its predecessor. The back right trigger accelerates your vehicle, while its opposite trigger on the left is used for braking and reversing. The cross button controls your boost - which is cleverly switched off, or “charging”, as the game says, for the first ten seconds of each race – the square button is used for taunting your opponents (perfect for flipping the bird to that douche who pushed you off the cliff) and the circle button is your handbrake. Having no boost for the beginnings of the races does make for some fairly cramped starts, but things get more spacious as the smaller, nippier vehicles make their way to the head of the pack.

    This brings me to my first point: vehicle classes. Evolution Studios have done a wonderful job of making each class unique, but also made sure that there is no outright best. Sure, the motorbikes are small, fast and agile, but after mistiming a jump and becoming bogged down in a mix of mud, old wrecks and moving trucks, you won’t be very happy with the vehicle you’ve picked or been stuck with. Likewise, at the other end of the scale, we have the big rigs and monster trucks. These behemoths are slow to start, but once they get going there’s no stopping them. Mud, dirt, other racers - all will fall victim to the raging beast of a vehicle which comes screaming through the center.


    They may not be the fastest vehicles on the track, but don't count the
    monster trucks out just yet.

    I think the elemental zones do a great job of adding variety to the Festival mode. Each race requires you to plan ahead and account for naturally occurring events, depending on the track’s zone. For example, in one particular fire zone race, I was in a desperate battle for first place. The finish line was in sight, and my boost was screaming at me to let go. I pulled ahead of the competitors and had my finishing boost explosion all planned out. But suddenly, a geyser decided to release its load on me. My rally car overheated immediately and exploded forwards, leaving me five meters from the finish line, and in third-to-last place. On any other day, the geyser may not have exploded and I would have won. This shows how great the new zones are; they add some desperately needed variety to the game.

    As for the actual driving mechanics, Pacific Rift comes close to striking a sweet point in the balance between arcade and simulation, but there is one slight issue that I had: the consistency of the steering, or rather the inconsistency in this case. For example, on some of the more dizzying tracks that are filled with sharp bends, turns and corners, you’ll find that you’re constantly having to make use of handbrake turns in order to effectively navigate the course. The A.I in this game is most certainly not stupid, so not only can handbrake turns send weaker racers into a skid, but towards the latter end of the game’s Festival mode they can become more than a slight hindrance; often the difference between first and second, or, in tighter races, winning and losing. Other times, the steering may decide to be pitch-perfect! The problematic and inconsistent steering is a relatively small blemish on the game’s simple controls, but still a blemish nonetheless.


    Singleplayer:
    Pacific Rift’s focal singleplayer mode is The Festival. The ticket system from the previous MotorStorm returns here, which is essentially another way of saying that you need to get podium finishes, resulting in point rewards, in a certain amount of races before new tracks and events are unlocked. It's a fairly traditional progression system, with the slight difference being that bonus events unlock if certain objectives are achieved. These range from finishing a race with less than a specified amount of wipe outs, to finishing under a certain time. Special events can only be unlocked in this way, giving you a reason to replay completed events at a later stage.

    One of the main ideas Evolution Studios implemented in the Festival mode are the different racing zones. There are four in total, and each has its individual draw cards. The earth zone is reminiscent of the original Motorstorm, with a few beaches and other flashy island tidbits added to the mix. The air zone is merely a fancy name for racing atop mountains and cliffs. Basically, you’ll be careening alongside brilliant backdrops and treacherous falls, as well as leaping over mammoth gaps in this zone. The two remaining zones are where the developers have added some more of their creative flair. The fire zone will have you racing amongst volcanoes and, of course, raging fires. Too much boosting in this zone and your engine will overheat and catch fire, eventually succumbing to the screaming warning tone that signals your impending doom. In the water zone however, you’ll race through and around jungles, waterfalls, streams and the ocean, among other things. Driving through a patch of water – or one of the water spraying sheds littered across the fire zone tracks - will cool your engine down, allowing you to begin boosting again without listening to that damn warning shriek.


    You'll need to be traveling much faster than this if you plan on
    winning the later events.

    The Festival will take a fair while to beat, but if you want to try your hand at something else Evolution Studios have also included a neat Time Attack mode complete with downloadable ghosts, developer times to beat and online leader boards. There's also a free-play option if you want more personalized races.


    Multiplayer:
    Split-screen multiplayer was hands down the most shocking, unexpected absence in the original Motorstorm. So it's fitting that the sequel, Pacific Rift, should come to our aide and deliver the long-awaited, often rumored offline multiplayer. Somewhat surprisingly, the game manages to keep the frame rate up and doesn't sacrifice much of its graphical prowess while playing split-screen (though grass and such isn't drawn out quite as far as one might have hoped). Because each player is only getting a fraction of the screen size and resolution, it is much harder to see the racing routes, but it's still great fun to sit around with a group of mates, controllers in hand, and race.

    Of course, online play is once again present and works like a charm. As was the case last time around, there are ranked and unranked races, so you can track yourself on the leaderboards, though it doesn't expand on the formula beyond that much. What's there is extremely smooth with no noticeable lag though, and most of all it’s fun. When a game has the fun-factor going for it, it must be doing something right.

    Much like the single player campaign it has you gaining rank on a bar that runs horizontally across the single player screen, every race you take part in online - even if you roll in after a few other racers - slowly upgrades you from a lowly Rookie to the dizzying heights of Legend. Most games nowadays have ranking systems similar to this, but it’s always a great feeling when you advance from a Rookie to a Veteran, or finally make the transition from Hero to Legend.


    Technical:
    In its day, the original Motorstorm was a visual deity for the PS3. Alongside Resistance: Fall of Man, it stood alone on a whole new level of graphical quality that had never before been witnessed on a gaming console. So, does the sequel live up to its full potential? Does it fill the shoes of its elder brother in the graphical department? This reviewer believes it does.

    From lush jungles to sandy beaches running smoothly along crystal seas, fiery volcanoes to the peaks of mountains, this game maintains a constant level of beauty that is rarely seen in off-road racers. Sure, Gran Turismo XXYZ might have more detailed vehicles and scenery, but is it running under the same conditions? No, it’s a strictly on-road simulation racer. Even with the amount of things going on in Pacific Rift, and the constantly changing scenery, it still holds a very high level of detail and quality when compared to other games in its genre.


    Don't get too caught up in staring at the beautiful backdrops and locales! The other
    racers won't hesitate to push you aside and head onwards to victory.

    Often times you’ll be racing high atop a mountain peak and find yourself gazing in awe across the island, or into the soft glow of the setting sun. Moments like these don’t come too often in racers, and it takes a special kind of game to be able to fix a driver’s gaze on something so completely irrelevant, yet so gorgeous. Maybe it’s a developer plan? Because whenever I turn the camera to the side, I end up crashing and eventually losing. Either way, it sticks in the mind.

    Having expressed my satisfaction with the visuals, I now turn to the sound. Everything’s good here; the trucks roar in monstrous delight as they should, while the bikes buzz angrily down the track like, well, bees! The soundtrack suits the flair of the Motorstorm series, but does get a tad repetitive after a few races. Luckily, there is the life-saving option to use a custom soundtrack. Give ye ol’ PS button a flick and choose a new playlist from music stored on your hard drive. Unfortunately this option can’t be used in online races, but it’s good to have it there anyway.




    Gameplay: 8/10 - Superb
    The score would have been higher had there not been issues with the steering. Varied track design and unique vehicle qualities are highlights.

    Singleplayer: 8/10 - Superb
    The elemental zones add some more of the flair that we’ve come to know the Evolution Studios team for. The Festival mode is too familiar to what we’ve played before though.

    Multiplayer: 9/10 - Brilliant
    Still as fun as ever! Round up a few mates and play split-screen, or take your skills online. Whatever you do, multiplayer is always great fun in this game. The only downside is that because of the amount of action going on, split-screen multiplayer is a tad difficult.

    Technical: 9/10 - Brilliant
    Absolutely wonderful! I can’t even begin to describe the moments where I’ve found myself staring goggle-eyed across the sloping vistas. It may not be as beautiful as Gran Turismo 8996, or Final Fantasy XXXXVI, but it’s definitely one of the best looking games currently on the market.


    Overall: 8.5/10


    It may have been released nearly one and a half years ago, but Pacific Rift still stands as one of the best off-road racers ever released. Okay, maybe not one of the best of all-time, but it comes mighty close. Pacific Rift not only equals its elder brother, but also improves upon it in nearly every way. From the jungles to the volcanoes, singleplayer to multiplayer, ATVs to monster trucks; whatever you’re feelin’, this game’s got you covered.

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    Horrible, horrible game. Just wretched. Worst racing game on the PS3, bar none. Aside from the pretty visuals there are almost no redeeming factors here, in particularly the twitchy controls and the grueling online.

    As a n00b it is near impossible to level up for the trophies considering the only people you find online these days are veterans with 15000+ races under their belts. With a penalty system in play for poor results, you need to step onto the podium in every race to get even close to fully ranking up. Given the experience of the opposition, that's a seriously daunting challenge and no fun at all.

    Give this game a wide berth. With the online servers going down in a couple of weeks, it's not worth the effort attempting the online trophies for the Plat. If you want off-road, go with Dirt or Pure instead of Motorstorm. If you want arcade, Blur, Split Second and Need for Speed are a tonne more fun.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ant1th3s1s View Post
    Horrible, horrible game. Just wretched. Worst racing game on the PS3, bar none. Aside from the pretty visuals there are almost no redeeming factors here, in particularly the twitchy controls and the grueling online.

    As a n00b it is near impossible to level up for the trophies considering the only people you find online these days are veterans with 15000+ races under their belts. With a penalty system in play for poor results, you need to step onto the podium in every race to get even close to fully ranking up. Given the experience of the opposition, that's a seriously daunting challenge and no fun at all.

    Give this game a wide berth. With the online servers going down in a couple of weeks, it's not worth the effort attempting the online trophies for the Plat. If you want off-road, go with Dirt or Pure instead of Motorstorm. If you want arcade, Blur, Split Second and Need for Speed are a tonne more fun.
    Ah, I see. You rate a game on whether you suck at it or not. Got it.

    I, however, loved this game. It's not a dumbed down racing game like many gamers have become accustomed to. It has a long and wide learning curve. You have 8 vehicles that you need to MASTER before you can get anywhere. The festival races are fairly easy up until rank 7 or so. The developer ghost races are the best place to learn how to master each vehicle. The online element is the only negative in the game. The only negative thing about the MP is you lose much more than you gain. For example: Get 1st place and go up 5 XP. Get 5th place out of 12 and wreck 5 times and you'll lose 10 XP. That doesn't make sense.

    If you aren't a completionist, I highly recommend this game. However, don't expect earn the platinum since, like the poster above mentioned, the online features will be closed soon.


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    Quote Originally Posted by prarpin View Post
    Ah, I see. You rate a game on whether you suck at it or not. Got it.

    I, however, loved this game. It's not a dumbed down racing game like many gamers have become accustomed to. It has a long and wide learning curve. You have 8 vehicles that you need to MASTER before you can get anywhere.
    I rate a game on its playability, controls chief among them and whether or not it's plain and simple "fun". The game isn't particularly difficult, it's just not enjoyable with no real substance or personality to keep you on the hook. There are far more fun racing games out there and few, if any, worse.

    Tossing a dirt-bike around a tight, twisty track and launching it hundreds of metres through the air has it's moments of fun. Being run down seconds later by a dump-truck that has no right to be on a race track let alone compete with a dirt-bike, or being tossed off the edge of a cliff by running over a twig is not. It's not fun, it's stupid, particularly considering the need for pixel-precision perfection to be at the pointy end of both SP and MP.

    The online is punishing, however it is do-able with time and commitment, as long as the servers are up. But the game isn't interesting or fun enough to commit the required time to master, in this case hundreds or thousands of races to snag all of the trophies. Given the small and loyal online community, competition is fierce and all but impossible to beat, unless you score yourself a slot in a boosting crew and cheese your way to the Plat.

    But mastering a game that is not fun by repeating the same racing line ad infinitum until dumb luck plays its role and grants you a win is nothing but a waste of time when there are hundreds of better games to play on PS3. If MSPR floats your boat, you've proven to be nothing but a sucker for punishment or a trophy snob - there's just no other logical reason to play it.

    It didn't float my boat and I'm certainly not alone in that sentiment. This pretty much sums it up for me, though KVO is far more generous is his overall assessment of the game than I -

    You might crash for no apparent reason when hitting the bottom of a ramp or simply driving from one surface onto another, even when it looks like a clearly even transition and is one you've made a dozen times before without issues. Vehicle handling is also loose, which makes for impossibly high jumps, but also means that making contact with so much as a pebble could cause your buggy to launch into a series of somersaults. This is the case even with large vehicles, such as the new top-heavy monster truck, which feels less solid than you might imagine. These issues are generally avoidable if you have an error-free race, but it does bring a philosophical discrepancy to the forefront: Many of these design elements encourage crashing, but they also demand racing perfection if you want to finish in the top three--a dichotomy with which the game never quite comes to grips.

    Kevin VanOrd, GameSpot
    Every game, no matter how bad, has its fans and I dare say you have the minority opinion of MSPR, not me. The game looks great, the track design is clever, the vehicle mechanics are in theory interesting, meaning any vehicle can win on any track, but the whole experience doesn't gel together into a tight, fun package. MSPR tries to be one part arcade and another sim, but fails miserably at both. A single minor mistake, physics glitch or bump from an opposing player can mean the difference between 1st and 12th place. How is that level of punishment considered fun?

    MSPR is tough, which I honestly don't mind assuming the gameplay is fun eg Demons Souls, but in this case it's not fun, it's simply repetitive, frustrating and dull with stupid and oftentimes impossible mechanics. If you get off on sticking your nuts in a meat-grinder, you'll enjoy this game. If not, there are better options.

    My original statement stands - unless you're an idiot savant with a penchant for racing games, give it a wide berth. I honestly wanted to like it, but I couldn't squeeze fun out of MSPR anymore than I can draw blood from a stone. That's not to say I hated it either - MSPR fell into the void of apathy where I was just going through the motions with no emotional attachment, so why was I bothering if it did absolutely nothing for me?

    I can't think of a single racing game I wouldn't play ahead of MSPR, which again, speaks volumes about the game. Do yourself a favour and play something fun instead.
    Last edited by ant1th3s1s; 09-14-2012 at 02:36 AM.

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    Ah...I can see why you don't like the game. You don't understand it. Well, before I play a game, I thoroughly research the gameplay. I saw that there were so many different ways to take tracks. The light, medium and heavyweight vehicles have different paths to take on almost every track. Also, if you know anything about how speed works, you know to avoid jumps with just about every vehicle.

    The game is much more complicated than you were able to realize, giving up on it too soon. Also, I am not in the minority in thinking MSPR was an excellent off-roader. Even the review you're posting on says different. Many other reviews also have similar views.

    However, you are right on one thing: this is not a plat to be obtained in two weeks. Plat difficulty and time are never taken into consideration when I buy a game. Also, you will know I'm no plat snob if you look at my trophy list. I have plats ranging from piss easy to shit hard impossible. I play games that I like, period.

    MSPR isn't for everybody I guess. We are all entitled to our own taste in games. I personally hate street racers but wanted to get in at least one racing game. MSPR seemed to fit me the best. I also stand by my statement by highly recommending this game to anybody seeking a great off-roader and a top-notch challenge.

    Edit: Funny you mentioned Demon's Souls. It's my next game to play. I'm trying to hit every genre.
    PS - MK is far from a hard plat...also...it's not that great of a fighting game. That being said, it has the best story mode in any fighter I've ever played.


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    Quote Originally Posted by prarpin View Post
    Ah...I can see why you don't like the game. You don't understand it. Well, before I play a game, I thoroughly research the gameplay. I saw that there were so many different ways to take tracks. The light, medium and heavyweight vehicles have different paths to take on almost every track. Also, if you know anything about how speed works, you know to avoid jumps with just about every vehicle.

    The game is much more complicated than you were able to realize, giving up on it too soon. Also, I am not in the minority in thinking MSPR was an excellent off-roader. Even the review you're posting on says different. Many other reviews also have similar views.

    However, you are right on one thing: this is not a plat to be obtained in two weeks. Plat difficulty and time are never taken into consideration when I buy a game. Also, you will know I'm no plat snob if you look at my trophy list. I have plats ranging from piss easy to shit hard impossible. I play games that I like, period.

    MSPR isn't for everybody I guess. We are all entitled to our own taste in games. I personally hate street racers but wanted to get in at least one racing game. MSPR seemed to fit me the best. I also stand by my statement by highly recommending this game to anybody seeking a great off-roader and a top-notch challenge.

    Edit: Funny you mentioned Demon's Souls. It's my next game to play. I'm trying to hit every genre.
    PS - MK is far from a hard plat...also...it's not that great of a fighting game. That being said, it has the best story mode in any fighter I've ever played.

    MotorStorm isn't hard lol. A good racer no doubt, but not hard... I still like the first MotorStorm the best though



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    Quote Originally Posted by grimydawg View Post
    MotorStorm isn't hard to me lol. A good racer no doubt, but not hard... I still like the first MotorStorm the best though
    I fixed that statement for you. Only somebody seriously arrogant would omit those words in bold on purpose, and we ALL know you aren't arrogant, huh Grimdawg?


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    Quote Originally Posted by prarpin View Post
    Ah...I can see why you don't like the game. You don't understand it. Well, before I play a game, I thoroughly research the gameplay. I saw that there were so many different ways to take tracks. The light, medium and heavyweight vehicles have different paths to take on almost every track. Also, if you know anything about how speed works, you know to avoid jumps with just about every vehicle.
    I understand it just fine thanks, but I do appreciate the condescension. It doesn't take a physics degree or a WRC licence to figure it out, or seemingly in your case, to follow a ghost. I just didn't find it fun to play. If it's not fun, why do it?

    I gave it a shot, got my 50 online ranked races (I couldn't find a single casual race so that trophy was out of reach), I don't find single-player particularly difficult at lower levels (I haven't bothered to progress thanks to the incessant yawning), but if a game hasn't sunk it's hooks in after 10-20 hours of play, it's never going to.

    I agree, MSPR is worthwhile if you're after a challenge, but I like my challenges more fun than frustrating, or in this case, apathy-inducing. Win, loss or draw...I just didn't care for the game. Technically-speaking, it is a good game, as reflected in the reviews, it's just not good to play.

    Blur, Split Second, Burnout Paradise, Need for Speed Shift / Shift 2 / Hot Pursuit / The Run, Gran Turismo 5, Dirt, Pure etc etc are in my view better games and far more fun to play with better online competition. If that makes me a n00b, stating so makes you a kn0b. Different strokes, different folks...

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    Quote Originally Posted by prarpin View Post
    PS - MK is far from a hard plat...also...it's not that great of a fighting game. That being said, it has the best story mode in any fighter I've ever played.
    What does MK have to do what the other guy was talking about? You pretty much proved what he thought about earlier.
    Quote Originally Posted by prarpin View Post
    I fixed that statement for you. Only somebody seriously arrogant would omit those words in bold on purpose, and we ALL know you aren't arrogant, huh Grimdawg?
    How about typing my name correctly What's funny is that you don't even know exactly how the rankings work or pretty much anything else about the game. That's what I have a problem with.



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    MK Plat = Overrated


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    Quote Originally Posted by grimydawg View Post
    What does MK have to do what the other guy was talking about? You pretty much proved what he thought about earlier.
    Many people equate MK with plat snobbery. Also, I got the game because it looked like it was going to be a good fighter. I can't be right on all of the games I get. Unfortunately, I have OCD which affects many aspects of my life. Gaming is one of them. Once I start it, I have to finish it even if I don't like what I'm doing. Anyways, MK isn't terrible, just not as good as I thought it was going to be.

    Quote Originally Posted by grimydawg View Post
    How about typing my name correctly What's funny is that you don't even know exactly how the rankings work or pretty much anything else about the game. That's what I have a problem with.
    Oh yea, and how's that? How did you come to this conclusion? Pulled it out of your ass I suppose? Maybe you took a vague example I used with no details out of context? Don't know where you are or were going with this statement. Also, is spelling your virtual name really so important that you had to point it out?


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