MotorStorm: Arctic Edge Review
PS2 | PSP
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge box art
System: PSP Review Rating Legend
Dev: BigBig 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: Sep. 29, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-8 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Teen 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Regardless of setting, MotorStorm titles always look brilliant, and Arctic Edge is no exception. I was surprised at just how good the game looks in spite of its compact size. That being said, don't expect PS3 visuals on your PSP. For instance, the Festival atmosphere isn't as well rendered and the crash sequences are not remotely as satisfying. Also, the vehicles look a little blocky and less polished than I would have liked. Nevertheless, textures are quite good, the lighting effects are excellent, courses are very detailed, and backgrounds are inspired. In fact, the graphics, overall, look so good you might even want to take a couple screen shots. Thankfully, Arctic Edge has a photo mode that lets you do so. Simply pausing the game mid-race will allow you to access the photo functionality. Photo mode lets you adjust the camera angles anyway you want in order to capture the moment just perfectly. Save it to your MemoryStick and you can send it to friends or even use it as a wallpaper.

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot

As solid as the visuals are, the sound tries to outdo them. There are lots of solid rock tracks that not only support the feeling of the game, but they are also of crystal-clear quality. If these tunes aren't quite your style, you can create track playlists from tunes you have loaded on your MemoryStick. Sound effects are also spot-on. The sounds of the car engines, the burst of the nitro boost, and the crunch of metal while bumping really enhance the gameplay. Additionally, the game's opening monologue, like those of the two preceding titles, makes it seem like your about to watch a summer action film.

The game's one flaw is found in its control scheme. While the developers did a great job offering players a few key option selections for adapting the controls to their play style, the PSP simply isn't particularly well designed for supporting racing. The analog nub is simply too small to enjoy the game comfortably. Surprisingly, BigBig Studios was able to get the nub to control with a great amount of precision, but naturally they weren't able to make it any more ergonomic. If things get too uncomfortable, you can always switch to the digital pad, but then you lose a lot of control subtlety. Additionally, holding down the acceleration and boost buttons (via the X and R buttons) gets to cramping your hands after just a handful of races. On the upside, the different vehicle and terrain types handle distinctly - a testament to the developers' interest in making this title unique.

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All in all, this is a great title, not only for the PSP, but in general. Players will really enjoy all the polish that has gone into the game, the quality tracks, the different vehicles, the varied game modes, multiplayer and leaderboard support, all the unlockables, etc. The only thing that seems to hold this game back is the hardware itself, as controlling this title is challenging due to the less-than-ergonomic design of the PSP. If you are a person that leads more towards arcade racing, skip Gran Turismo and give Arctic Edge a try instead.

By Jonathan Marx
CCC Editor / News Director

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.4
Graphics
The visuals, while obviously a significant step down from the PS3 titles, still manage to do the series proud.
3.5
Control
The PSP just isn't designed for racing. As such, the game's controls suffer from the hardware's shortcomings.
4.3
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The music supports the gameplay and is crystal-clear. The sound effects enhance the experience too. Being able to play your own music is a nice touch.
4.3
Play Value
A handful of single-player modes along with community and multiplayer support will have you racing for awhile. The gameplay is of high enough quality that anyone will feel as though they've gotten their money's worth.
4.3
Overall Rating - Great
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Stunning Alaskan Environments: Tracks are modeled after the rugged Alaskan landscape featuring a unique blend of narrow mountain passes, giant ice caves, long ice bridges, and treacherous terrain. Players must battle through each race facing a number of weather conditions including snow, rain, and wind.
  • New Vehicles: Two new vehicles are available specifically to tackle the Alaskan terrain including the nimble Snow Cat and more forceful Snow Plow.
  • New Tracks: 12 available tracks that show off the unpredictable nature of the rough Alaskan setting. Each of the tracks will be accessible to race in reverse for added race variety.
  • Multiplayer Racing Action: Up to eight player online as well as ad hoc racing. Global leaderboards are available to show off the top ranked players in all game modes as well as single player Time Attack.
  • Bobsleigh corners: Vehicles power, slip, and spin through a variety of icy structures with only boost to provide control.
  • Avalanches: Snow-baked terrain brings the imminent hazard of avalanches, triggered by players sounding their horn.
  • Collapsing Ice Bridges: Travel over these in a heavy vehicle and risk the chance of it collapsing behind you.
  • Customize Vehicles: Players can personalize each vehicle in the livery by updating with a selection of various parts including wheels, exhaust, spoilers, and sponsorship stickers. Players can also create their own liveries from a set of base patterns and decals.
  • Photo Mode: Snap and save the best action photos and send to friends.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Soundtrack: Players will have the opportunity to add music from a memory stick to create a full list of customized tunes to inspire each race.


  • Screenshots / Images
    MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge MotorStorm: Arctic Edge screenshot - click to enlarge

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