MotorStorm RC Review for PS Vita

MotorStorm RC Review for PS Vita

Fast Little Cars

When I was a kid, I had this fascination with RC cars. Well, I should say it was the concept of RC cars that I found so fascinating. In practice, my experience with actually driving the things was mostly spent trying to figure out how to not keep running into things and getting stuck against walls. This is an experience that Evolution Studios hopes to re-create, for better or worse, with MotorStorm RC.

The idea here is to take several locations from the beloved MotorStorm series and let players race dozens of RC cars across them. The game’s main event is Festival, where you will take on numerous challenges across these courses. For example, Hot Lap has you see how quickly you can take a single lap, Pursuit has you start in last place and attempt to overtake a set amount of opponents as fast as you can, and Drift has you prove to your friends that you have a bit of a rebellious side by using muscle cars to drift around corners. Scoring medals in these challenges will allow you to unlock new vehicles and advance further in the Festival. Of course, if you are too impatient to unlock all of this via gameplay, you can plop down a small chunk of change on PSN to unlock everything at once. Personally, this feels more like a cheap cash grab than anything else, as being able to insta-unlock the entire game takes away a lot of your motivation to keep working toward higher scores.

MotorStorm RC Screenshot

However, if you have friends that play the game, you will have motivation in another form: anyone on your PSN friends list who plays MotorStorm RC will have their best times listed on each track. This lets you know who is the best MotorStormer among your group of friends. Also, your friends’ ghost data will also be present in the races, so you’ll have a constant visual indication of how you are doing compared with them. It’s a really cool feature that adds a ton of replay value, encouraging you to constantly try to dethrone your friends from the top spot.

Of course, if you get tired of Festival, there are a few other game modes to try in the Wreckreation menu. Time Attack has you select any course and vehicle you’ve managed to unlock and see how fast you can complete the course. Free Play allows you to set up your own race type, where you get to choose your game mode, course, vehicle, and even your opponents.

MotorStorm RC Screenshot

If all else fails, there’s the Playground, which is an almost Tony Hawk-like skate park for you to freely drive your RC cars around. It’s a nice diversion, but it definitely won’t hold your interest long. I would have liked to see some sort of scoring element here that rewarded players for hitting ramps and doing things like attempting to sink a car in a dumpster or launch one through a basketball hoop.

Now, when I first started playing MotorStorm RC, I was a little disappointed that the game lacks the behind-the-wheel camera that would make controlling the cars much less difficult. Of course, that was a little silly of me, since this is an arcade RC racer rather than a racing simulator. In fact, the twin-stick controls mimic those on several actual RC controllers, and the various top-down camera angles are sort of what you would be seeing if you were controlling an actual RC car. While this makes the experience feel much more like a real-life RC experience, it takes a little getting used to.

MotorStorm RC Screenshot

In fact, in my own experience, I found that making some tweaks to the default control scheme made things feels a lot smoother. For example, if you play a lot of shooters, you might want to reverse the control sticks (left stick for acceleration, right stick for steering) to make things feel a bit more natural. Also, I would strongly recommend assigning a dedicated button to your breaks/reverse. (The left shoulder bumper worked for me.) Yes, it makes the controls less true-to-life (as real-life RC cars would generally have you use the same stick for acceleration and reverse), but, trust me, you’ll take corners a lot tighter and will win more races this way. Unless you are already an RC enthusiast.

There are some touchscreen controls utilized in the Vita version as well. However, besides navigating the game’s menus, you’ll be best off completely forgetting they’re even there.

The visuals are halfway decent. In fact, some of the landscapes and backgrounds are legitimately impressive, especially on a handheld. The cars themselves, though—which should be the main event—don’t look as detailed as I feel like they should. This makes them stand out a bit against the highly detailed environments, which I suppose could be both a good and bad thing.

Perhaps the coolest thing about MotorStorm RC is that, if you are a Vita user, you can download it completely free of charge. You can thank Scion for this, as it comes as part of a promotion they are running. (Though, I’m pretty sure the downloading-games-because-they’re-free demographic has very little overlap with the I’m-in-the-market-for-a-brand-new-Scion demographic. But hey, what do I know about marketing?) Of course, you’ll have to act fast, because this is a limited time offer. Also, in celebration, you can head to the PlayStation store and download a free cake car to add to your collection. Yes, this is a car that looks like a slice of cake. It’s pretty fast, though, so it’s worth the download.

MotorStorm RC Screenshot

PS3 users aren’t quite as lucky (or perhaps Scion just doesn’t like you as much.) However, a neat feature that PS3 owners can take advantage of is four-player splitscreen, which, for obvious reasons, isn’t available on the Vita. And for those of you who own both a PS3 and a Vita, purchasing one version will grant you the other version for free. This means you’ll get to transfer your profile back and forth as well. Sweet deal.

MotorStorm RC is a fancy little RC racer that has quite a bit of content to enjoy. If you’ve already plopped down a small fortune for the Vita, then you’ll surely appreciate the free download. Of course, once you start picking up some of the Vita’s other games, I have a feeling this one will be quickly forgotten. It’s addictive at first, but I just don’t see it holding interest after several hours of play unless you have a highly competitive group of friends to continually challenge to best your scores.

Some great environments, though the cars themselves could use a bit more detail. 3.4 Control
The controls are responsive most of the time, though you might have to do a bit of tweaking before they’re comfortable. Forget about the touchscreen controls. 3.7 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Is this the music I would race real-life RC cars to? I’m still trying to decide. 3.8 Play Value
There’s a fair amount of stuff to do here. I’m just not sure you’ll want to do all of it. 3.6 Overall Rating – Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.

Review Rating Legend
0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 – 2.9 = Average 3.5 – 3.9 = Good 4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 – 2.4 = Poor 3.0 – 3.4 = Fair 4.0 – 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Discover the excitement of classic arcade gaming in this top-down racer that features a broad range of vehicles and stunning locations inspired by the MotorStorm series.
  • Build up your collection of motors and gain access to challenging new locations by earning medals from a variety of race events and expand your game with more from PlayStation Store.
  • Challenge friends and ignite rivalries via PlayStation Network and Facebook as you race to set the fastest times and take on challenges set by players on PS Vita and PlayStation 3.
  • Enjoy frantic four-player races with PS3 on traditional split-screen. (Note: This game features split-screen races only on PS3, not on PS Vita.)

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