MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Review
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift box art
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.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot

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.

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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.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
Some of the best visuals around. The sense of speed is tremendous, the environments are incredibly detailed, and crash animations have been refined.
4.4
Control
Controls are accurate and accessible. Players will appreciate just how differently each of the vehicles control.
3.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound effects are just fine, but the music literally screams to be muted after a while.
4.0
Play Value
This game has a wonderfully frantic racing mechanic that has wide appeal. However, improved multiplayer options aren't quite enough to extend the very short glory of the single-player campaign.
4.3
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Stunning Tropical Environments: Racing locations set amongst the lush jungle, emerald lagoons, and towering peaks of a remote Pacific island.
  • Robust Multiplayer Racing Action: For the first time, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift offers players the opportunity to challenge friends offline with four player split-screen racing. Additionally, players will be able to challenge others online in races of up to 20 vehicles.
  • Additional Tracks: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift introduces 16 diverse, multi-route tracks to challenge even the most seasoned racers.
  • New Vehicles: As the biggest vehicles available yet, a new monster truck class is available in addition to ATVs, rally cars, buggies, motorbikes, race trucks, mudpluggers, and big rigs.
  • Extensive Playstation Network Options: Features include matchmaking, detailed stats and leaderboards, plus plans for comprehensive downloadable content including tracks, vehicles, tickets, game modes, and themes.
  • Attacking and Offensive Driving: Players must not only try to win the race but survive against the other racers. Combat-like racing takes center stage as the vehicles are the weapons.
  • Cutting-Edge Artificial Intelligence: A.I. analyzes the race and surroundings and reacts in the most realistic manner possible. Not only will the competition try to win the race at all costs, but the A.I. will react to situations realistically, such as locating the best routes and changing the level of driving aggression based on player actions.
  • Real-time Track Deformation: Players will never experience the same lap twice as each vehicle will carve up the track in varying depths, making navigation of each lap different than the last.
  • Physics-Based Car Damage: Players will break and destroy a vehicle's parts and panels during collisions with other drivers as well as with objects in the environment.


  • Screenshots / Images
    MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Pacific Rift screenshot - click to enlarge

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