In its own special way, Apocalypse feels more alive that even the greenest forest of Pacific Rift. While the sky scraping buildings of the asphalt jungle don’t exactly scream nature, speeding through the office buildings, across suburban streets, and down beachside boardwalks bring a sense of humanity rarely seen in other racers. But humanity isn’t the only definition of “alive” in this game. The tracks themselves seem to come up against you, keeping you on your toes throughout an entire race. There is no such this as a “static” course in Apocalypse. Even if you’re in first place with a solid 15 second lead ahead of the closest racer, you might be attacked by a random citizen with a molotov cocktail or by an attack helicopter with bullets and missiles aimed right for your head.
There are nine “courses” throughout the game, but thirty-three different permutations of those create the different layouts. The Motorstorm Festival is a two-day extravaganza, so racing might take place at any time of the day. This not only makes an aesthetic light change between different versions of a single track, but tracks themselves can be rearranged in all of the earthly carnage from time to time. Even the tracks can change over the course of a single race. For example, during a single race an earthquake split a highway in half, opening up a new pathway; a crashing plane could provide a brand new ramp to jump off; or a speeding train could fly off the rail and block a pathway at the last moment, forcing you to reassess your entire driving path. Even if you think you know a specific path, it may change by the end of a race. Some of those collectable cards mentioned before can’t even be reached until a catastrophe has happened.
While the online mode isn’t available to review during the current PSN downtime, the 4 player split-screen multiplayer is just as impressive. With customizable vehicles and even a Killzone-like perk system, playing with other people is vastly more entertaining than the campaign’s AI. Evolution Studios also promised the ability to take split-screen multiplayer online, so you and your friends can race against the world together, with 16 players filling up a match. What’s most technically impressive though is how even during 4 player mode, there seem to be no graphical shortcomings or framerate drops. With so much happening in every screen at the same time, it is quite a feat.
Motorstorm: Apocalypse‘s best feature is the feature that will likely be the least appreciated of all. That is, unless you own a 3DTV. Motorstorm: Apocalypse is one of the first games to be built from the ground-up with 3D support in mind, and it shows. Every track, every crumbling building, every explosive high-speed crash is perfect for 3D. It not only adds a layer of depth to help judge turns and avoid road hazards, but it really cranks up the excitement and on-screen chaos. It’s so good that anyone who does have the luxury of playing Motorstorm: Apocalypse on a 3DTV should consider adding a full point to our final score.
Motorstorm: Apocalpyse took one of the first “must-own” PS3 series from around the launch to one of the “must-own” PS3 titles more than four years later. It’s the ultimate conclusion to an already beloved IP that’s one of the most technically impressive titles in an already prestigious group. With Modnation Racers and Gran Turismo 5, and now Motorstorm: Apocalypse, the PlayStation 3 aims to be the place to fill your need for speed.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
+ Constantly evolving racetracks make for fresh gameplay throughout
+ Visually phenomenal with no technical shortcomings; 3D is AMAZING
+/- AI is a bit simple in the beginning, ruthless in the end