The Playstation 3 first triple banger comes from Evolution Studios' off-road racing series Motorstorm. Branded Apocalypse, Motorstorm takes a detour with all cylinders running. Buckle up, this ride is about to get bumpy.

Evolution Studios continue the trend of re-inventing Motorstorm so its feels different then its predecessors. From the original concept of a mud-slinging dystopian racer to the organic elemental feel of 'Pacific Drift,' Motorstorm once again switches gears with its guerrilla warfare styled approach in Apocalypse. Starting with the redefined and awesomely ominous electronica soundtrack to the reddish orange of the logo branding, it's apparent, the passion is still alive. However we have to wonder, is this new found vigour a step in the right direction or a short-cut to the junkyard.

From the options menu two modes of play will be open, the “classic” Festival story-mode and "Wreckreation" – the 'free play' entry where you can adjust all the settings and burn rubber, multiplayer supported. You can also check out the “Special Events” prompt that allows you to play various solo events which you unlock by playing through the Festival mode. Leaderboards will be active (when the PSN is up) so you can compare your lap times with friends. Lastly (aside from the obligatory options choice) there is a “My MotorStorm” tab that gives a chance customize your rides and check out all the ins-and-outs of your in-game progression.

The story (yes, Motorstorm now has a story?!) is told via a viral pop-up motion comic with a knack for the over dramatic. The slow panning pubescent "pop-up" comic seems like an odd departure for the series who previously rocked a solid 'Mad Max' vibe. The prologue explains why you are racing around a pulverized metropolis, filled with lingering shells of humanity who violently lash out at the automotive enthusiasts who race it's broken highways. This opening with all its cinematic push teaches you basics and quickly gets you into the action racing around in small compact (super-mini) that looks like it could have been snatched right off the Autobots assembly line.

The story element continues through a series of cut-scenes and races until you run through three different characters; a disjointed 'SSX' comes to mind. While it is refreshing to see a new take, I liked the simpler, menu driven approach from the previous outings. Something about having my ride preselected the maps in a certain order feels restrictive. The “Mad Max” feeling has sadly dissapated with a “I wanna be edgy” immature dribble. “If its not broken, don't fix it” attitude would have been fine with me and unlike the previous editions, I didn't feel compelled to keep playing.

Grumbling aside, the basics are the same. Race and boost to take that number one spot. Taking a page from several other racers, or modern games in general, a new “focus” button has been added to focus on the somewhat interactive environments (hmm, someone's been playing 'Split/Second.') This makes for some interesting and amped up situations on each map. There are a few standouts, but the intensity seems to dry out after a couple of laps. When looking at the bottom line Apocalypse isn't a bad racing game, its just underwhelming when paralleled to its former self. Both 'Pacific Drift' and the original had an organic intensity without resorting to optical "tricks" for a quick "look at that" moment.

Perks have also been included in Apocalypse and are divided into three categories Handing, Boost, Combat. These can be switched around in your load out giving you some neat little bonuses like having the time it takes to reset on the track after wrecking - 'Swift Return' or stay in critical boost for longer before you explode - 'Critical.' For more examples we have the handy 'Up and Away' – hold accelerate and still gain in-air cooling and 'Parting Gift' which creates a nice little shock-wave whenever you wreck. While these perks aren't game changers they perform exactly like they should, being a little “perk” to your player while racing. Although, Motorstorm really didn't need a system like this in-place, it deepens the experience for those who want a few more tuning options.

For controls, they are tight like we expect. Motorstorm is upfront with its methods of control, so finding your niche set-up is easy. Following this, Motostorm also plays great, which only amplifies its flaws. Aside from the story, which I could complain about all day, the environments in all their disastrous glory have too many nooks and crevasses that you're vehicle will get caught in, factoring in several breaks in momentum. Having a solid free-flowing race is desperately missing and even more than the first two games, you will be hammering that reset button a lot more often. Sure, we know Motorsotorm is about the wrecks, but hitting a small pothole and wrecking does not make for grand racing.

Motorstorm has always been a favourite series of mine. Call it a guilty pleasure, or rank it up there with the best-of-the-best in the racing genre, you can't deny Motorstorm has a certain allure. The dystopian influenced racing has all the elements of a winner and has been on an upward swing with its first two entries... so that is why Apocalypse comes as such a bewildering surprise.

The new narrative driven direction feels like an unnecessary sideswipe that could have avoided. I want my freedom to race as a bike against the big rigs, I want diversity, choice, freedom, not to be shoved down a path of forgettable characters and a blindly ignorant tale of post-apocalyptic racing. Obviously I’m not impressed with the new direction, but on the merits of racing alone, Motorstorm has its moments where it is impactful and fun... and because of this, it is still worth checking out. However, long time fans of the series so step with caution, this isn't your old Motorstorm.

  • Destructive levels add a new level of immersion
  • Loved the audio soundtrack
  • New story-driven Festival mode “might” bring in new players?!
  • Perks/Focus events have been added
  • The loss of freedom is disappointing
  • Uninspiring (motion-comic) narrative, boring bland and ultimately a waste of time
  • Graphics have a big feel, but lack the level of polish from the earlier games
  • New features like perks, focus cam, etc... feel unnecessary

Quote: "Motorstorm has its moments where it is impactful and fun... and because of this, it is still worth checking out. However, long time fans of the series so step with caution, this isn't your old Motorstorm."

Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 04.21.11

Similar Articles: Split/Second (7.2) | Motorstorm: Pacific Rift (8.9) | Motorstorm (9.0)




Evolution Studios


US Release
May '11



Players 1
Online MP 2-16
HD 720-1080p
Dolby 5.1 / DTS
500MB HD Space
3D Enabled