MotorStorm: Arctic Edge PSP
Published by: Sony Computer Entertainment Europe
Developed by: Bigbig Studios
The MotorStorm games have been a real highlight for PlayStation 3 owners. The off-road races were wild giving you a choice of vehicles to use and a variety of routes to take during each race. This mixture of vehicles added spice to the proceedings as the larger vehicles wouldn't hesitate to crash into your smaller vehicle. Of course the best tactic, regardless of the vehicle you were driving, was to find the best route that suited your vehicle. If you were driving a motorcycle it was no use heading for the route that was covered in thick mud. There was also the boost function to consider. You had an unlimited amount of boost but using it would cause your vehicle to overheat and eventually explode if overused. In short, the MotorStorm games are wild and exciting racing titles and it's great to finally have one on the PSP.
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge offers a Festival and several other modes. The Festival mode offers a large amount of races spread over a total of twelve different tracks. In each of the events you'll have to place in the top three to earn points and when you've earned enough points you'll progress to the next rank and have more races available to you. Selecting Wreckreation on the main menu will give you the option of playing in Time Attack, Free-Play and Multiplayer modes. Both Ad Hoc and Online multiplayer gaming modes are supported for up to eight players.
Seeing as Festival mode is where you'll unlock the various vehicles, driver avatars and earn badges (which are the game's achievements/trophies), it's also where you'll spend most of your time with the game. The twelve Alaskan styled environments, which range from valleys to mountain peaks, are as enjoyable to race on as any of those in the first two MotorStorm games that appeared on the PlayStation 3. They each offer multiple routes to the finish line and once again, it's all about finding the most effective route for the vehicle you're driving. If there's a problem with the Festival mode it's that for a good chunk of it the game is far too easy. It's simply a case of using your boost to get in front of the pack and then it's easy to hold the lead until the end of the race. It's only when you are about half way into the mode does the AI actually begin to pose something of a challenge. In fact the end of the mode's races can be really frustrating as the AI becomes very challenging.
As the game is set in an Arctic environment there are two new vehicles to drive that are in tune with the change of scene, the Snow Cat and the Snow Machine. In the PlayStation 3 MotorStorm games you had sixteen vehicles taking part in each race but in Arctic Edge there are only ten. This may seem a little disappointing but it doesn't do anything to harm the wild nature of the races and having ten vehicles taking part is certain no bad thing on a handheld racer (it's certainly much better than certain other games such as Gran Turismo). You can customise the liveries for each vehicle if you wish, although there isn't any benefit for doing this.
Arctic Edge is a fine looking game and the vehicles all look as good as you could hope for on the PSP. The damage modelling, which was very impressive on the PlayStation 3 games, is very simple in Arctic Edge which is a little disappointing, if hardly surprising, but it doesn't harm the experience in any way. The twelve Alaskan tracks in the game all look great. Load times are on the long side but the frame rate is fantastic and I don't recall any slowdown at all during my time with the game.
What speech there is in Arctic Edge is not subtitled. This isn't a big problem however as the speech in the game is minimal and of no importance but that's not to say it isn't disappointing, especially for the small amount of speech in the game's cut scenes. All of the important information in the game is shown visually however and deaf gamers will have no problems playing the game.
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge does a great job of bringing the MotorStorm experience to the PSP. It manages to fully capture the wild feeling of the PlayStation 3 titles and provide PSP gamers with a racing experience like no other on the console. With a lengthy single-player experience and support for both Ad Hoc and Online racing, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is one of the most complete racing games on the PSP. Unless you're adverse to off-road racing games, this is arguably the best racing game on the handheld to date.