Archive for category MotorStorm 2

Black Friday Game Deals

Here’s a good line up of some of the deals that can be found during Black Friday weekend. Highlights include Dragon Age $35, GTA4 $20, Brutal Legend $35, NfS:Shift $35 and a $10 gift card with CoD:MW2 or Assassin’s Creed 2. Also Game Fly members get a $10 coupon on Used or Keep games. Via Yahoo

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Motorstorm 2: Pacific Rift

2008 was a great year for arcade racers. I bought Burnout and Midnight Club and Wipeout HD and they are all excellent. Pure and GRID which were good as well. But easily, the most fun I’ve ever had with a racer ever, is Motorstorm Pacfic Rift.

mstorm1

Pros

  • Not Open World: I admire the open world design ambition in Burnout and Midnight Club. They tech is very impressive and both games look absolutely gorgeous, but it doesn’t fit arcade racers. First, there’s a lot of between race navigating that is a chore to do. Secondly, the races tend to feel more samey. Tracks that are designed to be racing tracks from the ground up just work better than using different slices from a larger open world.
  • Vehicle Classes: The different classes of vehicles give the racing a completely different feel. It’s fun to try a nimble buggy or ATV in one race and switch to a giant semi-truck to plow through opponents and obstacles in another race.
  • Great Core Racing: The jumps, bumps, bounces, skids, and crashes all feel perfect. The racing conveys the sense of speed, the sense of your vehicles weight, and the feel of the racing surface (rock and packed dirt, grassy and soft, muddy, or wet).
  • Spectacular outdoor tracks and art direction: The pics say it all. I captured all the pics in this post using the in-game screenshot feature. More are available in this photo gallery

mstorm2

Compared to Motorstorm 1

To be blunt, when Motorstorm 1 came out, it had great attitude and racing physics, but it seemed like an overhyped tech demo. This game is exactly the same general game, but at the same time it’s far more polished in every way. It has the same overall formula, the same core graphics engine, physics, style of racing, vehicle classes (one addition), music genre and attitude are all the same from the first title. But it’s a much better game. Here are some highlights:

Visuals

  • Effects: The first game had cool dirt/mud effects, but that was mostly it. This game has awesome lava, smoke, flaming engines (when your car gets hot), fire trails, air flow effects, cloud cover at high altitudes, plus gorgeous racing streams and water effects.
  • Populated Tracks: The first game had some cool tracks, but they were sparsely populated dirt, rock, and mud. The tracks this time around have much more stuff in them; they have more complex environments, more hazards, more buildings, more branching paths, and more secret tunnels.

Racing

  • Sense of Speed: The first game often felt like you were racing in slow motion. I’m not sure what specifically is different, but Pacific Rift delivers a very satisfying sense of speed.
  • Road Rash style Punches: From the bikes and ATVs…

Extras

  • Great Trophy System: I’m not a big trophy fan, but when they are so well done like this, they really make the game more fun.
  • Custom soundtracks: This is almost a hidden feature as it’s mostly unlabeled. Switch to XMB during the game, play your own music using normal XMB music controls, and the game will use that as the background race music.
  • Photo mode: Tons of fun. Pause the game at any time during a single-player race or during a crash, position the camera, snap photos, export to the PS3 OS, and optionally copy to a flash drive or card.
  • Split-screen Multiplayer: If you have a group of people over, local multiplayer options are a must for a video game.

mstorm3

Cons

  • Simple core game: The racing is great, but the whole game is basically about racing as fast as you can around a track.
  • Sixteen Tracks: The game has sixteen high quality tracks, which is much better than the eight that shipped with the first game. But I still would have liked to see more.
  • Difficulty: The main single-player mode starts out easy and gradually gets harder and harder. Eventually, the new races are just so hard that it isn’t fun any more. I got over ten hours of single-player game time in, and I can always play old races or play free play or online, but I’d still prefer a campaign mode that provides a sense of progression and lets me keep playing at a more comfortable difficulty level.

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LittleBigPlanet Multiplayer Impressions

Three friends and I gathered last night to play some PS3 games. We played some CoD4, some MotorStorm Pacific Rift, but first and foremost, we played LittleBigPlanet. Here are some impressions.

Pros

  • Fun
    Darrin already mentioned this, but this game is a lot of fun to play. With four of running around like maniacs trying to collect stickers, punching each other (the best part of the game!), and otherwise being nuisances, it was a time to be remembered.
  • Creative Genius
    Playing through the levels brought me a sense of wonderment. How do people think up this stuff? The giraffes and monkeys really impressed me.
  • What They Said
    I could go on and on, but it’s been covered before by Darrin and others. You know how great this game is.

This game may be great, but it does have it’s problems:

Cons

  • Control Scheme
    I recently complained about how hard it is to control the Sackboy, and I wasn’t the only person having problems. Suffice it to say that it would be good for the developers to fix this problem in LBP2.
  • Got Stuck
    We got stuck! On the level with the giraffes and monkeys, we got stuck and didn’t know where to go next. We aborted the level.
  • Four Player
    Another friend of mine was online last night, but he couldn’t join us because there were already four of us. Too bad the game doesn’t support six players. :) Nitpicking, I know, but I thought I’d throw it out there.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it. LBP is great, but not without its issues. I don’t plan to play it much without my friends, though I might in order to pick up those stickers Mike hogged. :)

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MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Review

motorstorm2_4player.png

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!

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