|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Evolution Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: October 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (20 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
I keep hinting at the pristine visuals but haven't gone into depth. Well, suffice it to say that MotorStorm: Pacific Rift is not only one of the prettiest racers but also one of the best-looking games out there. The environments take detail and lighting to another level, the mud and water effects are astounding, and every race runs incredibly smoothly; there are no stability issues whatsoever. Moreover, the varied environments of the Pacific island location blow away the dusty visuals of its predecessor.
All the vehicles, physics, and crash animations are nicely depicted. Speaking of crash animations, players will be relieved to know that they have been refined and fine-tuned; no longer will players have to restlessly wait through over-the-top animations that emphasized visual awe rather than actually adding to gameplay. This is perhaps the best minor tweak to the game. All in all, the game looks even better than its predecessor.
Sounds in MotorStorm: Pacific Rift falter when compared to the excellent visuals. The effects while racing are fine, but the music selection, though fitting, is a haphazard mix of mass-marketed garage bands that haven't gotten over the fact that amps allow for sound distortion. I realize taste in music is subjective, but the selection has a very narrow appeal. Graciously, turning down the background music in the options menu is a possibility, and the responsive control scheme the game employs will have you forget about the initial cacophony of dime-a-dozen axe-slingers. Controls remain largely untouched from the original title. In other words, they are very accurate, familiar, and user-friendly. What's more, it seems as though the addition of new vehicles has prompted the team at Evolution to rethink the way each handles. The result is an enjoyable experience that emphasizes the strengths of each ride while causing the player to be supremely in tune with its weaknesses.
Last but certainly not least are the expanded multiplayer options in Pacific Rift. Though online multiplayer is almost identical to what was found on the original (why weren't challenge modes offered online?), local split-screen multiplayer has been added. This allows 2-4 players to race at home with friends or family members. While split-screen action loses a lot of the visual appeal and even some of the hectic feel of the single-player campaign, it's still nice to be able to race against people in the same living room.
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift takes everything enjoyable about the original (great graphics, hectic races, multi-route tracks, etc.) and adds a lot more variety from the new locale. Players will definitely find Pacific Rift to be a very enjoyable arcade racer that puts their PS3 to good use.
CCC Editor / News Director