MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Review


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The reviews of MotorStorm: Pacific Rift (MSPR) all suggested to me that it was a good game, but that there was nothing earth-shatteringly new about it. Since I recently bought LittleBigPlanet, and am about to buy Call of Duty 5, I thought I would delay my purchase of this game. But my finances worked out in my favour last week, so I picked up MSPR anyway, and I’d say that the game is a driving success!

Sure, it’s not a huge change over the original MotorStorm, but they’ve streamlined everything and improved the UI across the board. It’s easier to get where you want. You have the options you want. You can find them where you expect. Everything about this game is an improved version over the original.

Playing the campaign, you first choose a category. Earth, Water, Air, or Fire. Once you do so, you can see a list of all the events that must be completed in the category. You can see which ones you’ve raced, which ones you’ve yet to race, and which ones are locked. There’s also a progress bar across the top, though I’m unsure as to its purpose. (I haven’t read the manual. :) )

In addition to campaign more, Wreckreaction makes a comeback as well. It includes splitscreen, time trial, and quick race modes, in addition to the ability to view the leaderboards. You can add ghosts to time trial races, and you can add bots to others, which is actually pretty cool. Often racing games don’t allow bots when racing four player splitscreen.

Pros

  • Four Player Splitscreen!
    MSPR missed being the first current-gen game with four player splitscreen support by only a few weeks. (Beaten by Baja: Edge of Control). However, it does look like it’s the first good current gen game with four player splitscreen support. (Sorry Baja!) My friends and I played this last night, and it was a blast! They had a lot of fun (except for maybe Todd, who usually finished last :) ), and so did I.
  • User Music
    At any time, whether it be from the menus or during the game, you can hit the PSN button on your remote and choose some of your own music for the game to use. This rocks!
  • More Tracks
    One of the strongest criticisms against the first game was its small number of included tracks. In MSPR they do much better by including many more tracks. I think the total is around sixteen, if I remember correctly.
  • Good Looking!
    I would say that PURE definitely looks more lush than MSPR, which is a great achievement considering that PURE is a multiplatform game. But that doesn’t detract from MSPR’s accomplishments. This game looks great, except for the pop in.
  • Music Controls
    This game allows you to turn the volume of the music up and down, and go to the next and previous tracks, using the d-pad. Great stuff!
  • Faster GUI
    You don’t get the full 3D models of the vehicles anymore, but at least you don’t have to wait for them to load! All in all the GUI is much faster.

Cons

  • Pop In
    Pop in effects was quite evident, and it detracts from the game. I never noticed the pop in as much in PURE. Ah well. It wasn’t so bad that I don’t want to play the game!
  • Music Controls
    Sometimes the music controls don’t work. I set it to ON in the preferences, but when playing they’re off again.
  • Online is Slow
    I haven’t played an online game yet, but I did enter the lobby, and it’s slow.
  • No Track Overviews
    When choosing a track, there’s no depiction of the track layout. When racing, there’s no track with any indication of where you are versus your rivals. This is quite the oversight.
  • Some Tracks Aren’t Great
    The quality of the tracks varies too much. I’ve only played about half of them so far, but there are definitely good tracks and bad ones. At least you get more to choose from. But it’s too bad they didn’t put the same amount of effort into each.

Final Thoughts

I was hesitant about picking up this game right away, but I’m glad I did. This is a really fun game, and the fact that I can play it with my friends is all the more rewarding!


Written by: Blackstaffer - News Contributor


  1. #1 by John on November 11th, 2008

    You need to change where it says ‘pros’ for a second time to ‘cons’.

  2. #2 by Henning on November 11th, 2008 [ 0 Points ]

    Fixed. Thanks!

  3. #3 by François on November 11th, 2008

    Thanks Henning! It is the first review I read that actually talk about the 4 players split-screen experience. Based on your review, I will get the game.

  4. #4 by Burten on November 11th, 2008

    Hey Henning!
    This is what we´ve been nagging about since the ps3 lauched.
    “Where is the split-screen games?”
    They said then that it couldn´t be done then, and here we are!
    GREAT!
    Picking this one on next payday ;-)

  5. #5 by Steve on November 12th, 2008

    I liked this game just as much as the original MotorStorm, except now with multiplayer split-screen goodness! My main issue had to do with trying to figure out where I was supposed to be driving. I guess that’s part of the design of MotorStorm; it’s a very free-form approach to track layout. But when you only have a quarter of the screen to see where you are going (you need a bigger screen, Henning! ;-) it can be quite challenging. I ended up running into trees and rocks a lot because there was just no obvious clear path. That was kind of frustrating. On the other hand, driving off the cliff on the Edge course was actually a lot of fun – it’s a very tall cliff and a very long way down! I just wish it would have let me see myself fall all the way. Oh well.

    I didn’t notice the problem with pop-in that Henning mentions. I suppose it would be more obvious if I were watching for it. At any rate, that didn’t cause me nearly as many issues as just not being able to see the track.

    They definitely improved the car selection screen – in the original MS game that was way too slow. But at the same time they added a random element to your car choice, which I don’t remember seeing in any other racing game I’ve played, and it reduces the feeling of control. People are happy when they feel in control, and less so when they don’t, so it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to remove control of anything unnecessarily.

    As Henning says, there is no display of your progress relative to your competitors, other than a placement ranking. And at the end of the game, it won’t tell you how close you were to the others at the finish line, either, which seems like a trivial thing to add, and an annoying feature to be missing. A minor nit to pick, I suppose.

    Overall I’m looking forward to playing it some more to learn the tracks better, and to try out some alternate routes on each one, along with trying out the different vehicles. Dirt bike FTW!

  6. #6 by YODADDY on November 17th, 2008

    this game is tha bomb


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