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MotorStorm RC Review


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On 03/12/2012 at 10:45 PM by Nick DiMola

Go pick up some Rogaine, because this game will make you tear your hair out.
RECOMMENDATION:

For those who don’t mind the perspective change (with subsequently confusing controls) and a high challenge level.

Sometimes it’s simply impossible to argue with just how well a game is constructed. MotorStorm RC is such a title – from its presentation to the manner in which you progress, everything is put together as well as one could imagine. But alas, the core racing experience is one that has some extremely limited appeal, even among fans of the racing genre. This is due in part to the unconventional perspective and resultant controls and the extremely unforgiving level of challenge.

Don’t get me wrong, MotorStorm RC is by no means impossible, but it is often extremely frustrating. With most racing games you’ll find yourself either in third person - right behind your vehicle - or within the driver’s seat itself. MotorStorm RC provides an overhead view, which mentally complicates controlling your vehicle. No matter that your view is removed from your vehicle, you'll still control it as if you're in the driver's seat, which takes plenty of getting used to and even longer to assume any degree of mastery.

If you can wrap your mind around this, there’s plenty in MotorStorm RC to appreciate. For one, its online components are seamlessly integrated into the experience. With every event in the quest you’ll catch a glimpse of the times posted by your friends and other random players from around the world. Choose one and you’ll be able to race their ghost instantaneously, bringing competition to the forefront of the experience. This is far and away the best facet of the game, as it encourages you to put in the extra effort to inch out your closest foe.

The in-game events have four different flavors, providing some nice variety beyond the traditional race-against-computer opponents (eight in this case). The other variations include Hot Lap, which has players racing to complete a single lap of a course, Pursuit, which requires passing a set number of racers, and Drift, which has you fish-tailing a muscle car around a track to earn the requisite number of points. Each event, no matter the type, allows players to earn up to three medals, assuming they complete the required objective within the given time limits.

Progression through the quest relies on earning enough medals to unlock new events, but with the completion of nearly any event you’ll find yourself unlocking a brand new set. Given that you have a number of open events at any given time, you won’t find yourself getting stuck very often. If you’re having trouble with one event you can simply move on to the next and earn more medals there.

Events are grouped in a clever way that fans of the MotorStorm series will appreciate. Given that there are four unique titles in the series, each grouping of events draws influence from the settings and locales of one of the games. It’s a nice bit of fan service that also provides a degree of familiarity to the settings.

Don’t confuse this to mean that tracks are pulled wholesale from any given game - these tracks are created specifically for MotorStorm RC and come in varying levels of quality. Some of the tracks are great, providing tons of tight turns back to back and clear venues to shave seconds off your time. Others, however, are awkwardly constructed, full of big open spaces that require players to keep an eye on the floor for arrows that direct the way forward. Many of the tracks with lots of little details can provide some of the most frustration. Nicking any protrusion can result in getting stuck, spun, or flipped. Given how strict the times are in many events, having this happen can mean missing an extra medal, or losing completely in a normal race.

It’s also quite easy to improperly gauge a turn and overdo it. Even hitting into a wall can cause you to get stuck, forcing a restart of the event. By the time I reached the middle of the game, I found myself restarting on a very frequent basis due to flubbing a single turn.

Your mileage may vary with MotorStorm RC; if you connect with the racing mechanics, there’s quite a bit to like about this miniature racer. However, for most gamers the unconventional perspective that complicates control and the frustrating challenge level will be enough to dissuade a purchase.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

Comments

Anonymous

03/13/2012 at 04:31 AM

Er, you do know you can change the controls, right?

Nick DiMola Director

03/13/2012 at 07:34 AM

I am aware of the two control schemes and I have played with both - the problem here is not my lack of knowledge on said topics. Rather, I botched my explanation of the problem. I went back into the game and did some better analysis of what the root cause of my issue was and the problem was not with the controls, but the perspective. The fact that you control the RC as if you're in it was confusing due to the overhead camera.

I've amended the review to reflect this. While my explanation was a bit off, my overall impression of the game remains the same. That perspective makes it very hard to wrap your head around the controls and when combined with the other little issues, controlling the game can often be an exercise in frustration.

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