There’s a storm coming…
Along with Escape Plan, it would be fair to say MotorStorm RC is most anticipated download only title launching alongside the PlayStation Vita on February 22nd. However, whilst it might have the MotorStorm name, it’s unlike any previous title in the excellent off-road racing series. Gone are the adrenaline fueled races, only to be replaced by RC vehicles and smaller courses. Has this change resulted in a drop in quality? Read on to find out.
Game: MotorStorm RC
Developer: Evolution Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Spend an hour or two with MotorStorm RC and those memories of playing Micro Machines for hours upon end will come rushing back. Whilst that comparison might seem odd without playing the title, don’t let the familiar moniker or references to previous entries in the series fool you, as MotorStorm RC is in fact an excellent throwback to top-down arcade racers of old.
This, of course, means that MotorStorm RC sports a more simplistic look when compared to previous titles in the series. Whilst the title doesn’t push the Vita to its limits, the majority of RC vehicles look quite good and effects such as dust manage to impress.
The set-up is essentially the same as previous MotorStorm titles, which means you’ll spend most of your time in Festival mode. Broken down into themed areas, Monument Valley, Pacific Rift, Arctic Edge and Apocalypse (this is where the aforementioned references come into play), you’ll partake in four different event types. Race sees you take on opponents in a bid to get to the finish line first, whereas Hot Lap tasks you with completing a run of a course as fast as humanly possible. Drift requires you to chain together slides to earn a designated amount of points, and Pursuit challenges you to pass a particular number of vehicles.
Whilst the primary objective of each event might sound simple enough, completing them within certain times will earn you medals, and that’s where the real challenge behind MotorStorm RC comes into play. Medals will not only unlock more events and courses, you’ll also be awarded with new RC vehicles to add to your collection.
It’s unlikely that you’ll have too much trouble progressing in MotorStorm RC, but if you want to obtain three medals for each event, you’ll need to learn courses and become familiar with how the different types of RC vehicles handle. For instance, you’ll notice that a muscle car’s handling is very much different to that of a racing truck, making certain courses feel fresh even though you might have raced on them many times before.
You’ll be glad to know then that every RC vehicle in the game is a joy to control and guide intricately around the courses using the Vita’s analog sticks. The handling model strikes a nice balance between comfort and challenge, giving you that feeling of racing on the edge whilst still being relatively in control. Most full-on racers struggle to nail that feeling, so it’s a testament to Evolution’s hard work that MotorStorm RC pulls it off with ease. Even if you do find it difficult to get to grips with the handling, you can always head on over to the “Playground” and hone your RC skills to perfection before moving onto the Festival mode.
MotorStorm RC’s 48 events might seem like a low number to some, but when you take into consideration the extraordinarily low price and the fact that game is designed to be played in short bursts, it’s actually an impressive amount of content for a download only title. That’s not even the best part though, as the MotorStorm RC package truly comes to life when you factor in the live leaderboards.
If you’re connected to the Sony Entertainment Network, then the game is always throwing a new challenge at you and letting you know how you stack up against your friends or other players around the world. To add to that, when you enter an event to try and beat a friend’s time, you’ll be greeted with his or her ghost in the form of a coloured arrow. These features get the competitive juices flowing (even if you’re not the type) and keep you addicted to the game way beyond completing the 48 events the game has to offer. Sure, it’s been done before (Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit), but MotorStorm RC manages to make the feature its own and keep you coming back for more.
It would have been nice if the game had a proper online multiplayer mode where you could take on human opponents in races or other events based around the RC theme, but that’s a minor criticism of an otherwise fantastic arcade racer filled with content for an amazingly cheap price. Oh and you get the PlayStation 3 version for free, cross platform play included.
The likes of Uncharted: Golden Abyss, WipEout 2048 and FIFA Football might grab the headlines when it comes to Vita launch titles, but Evolution’s effort is arguably worthy of more praise. It might not push the system to its limits, but it’s an example of the quality Sony’s handheld is capable of producing when it comes to download only titles. Even if it was double the price, the title would be worth every penny. Simple, fun and incredibly addictive, MotorStorm RC is top-down arcade racing at its finest. It’s also the Vita’s first must-own title.