Motorstorm 2: Pacific Rift – Reviewed – Playstation 3

6 min read
5

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by Mario Anarmoulis

Reviewing sequels is always difficult; comparisons to the original will and must be made as it’s the easiest way to convey what the game is all about, but in doing so the game loses its sense of uniqueness.

The original Motorstorm made a big impact with stunning visuals and crazy gameplay which helped push sales over the 3,5 million mark. The question is: Will Pacific Rift be anywhere near as popular considering the competition it’s up against this time? Let’s have a look at the game.

Visuals:

From the opening sequence which cleverly combines real footage and CG, to the breathtaking backdrops of each track, to the sculpted vehicles; Pacific Rift is truly a stunning game. As with the first game the visuals will blow you away, everything has been bumped up a notch and really the visuals were already near the top of the pile with the original.

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Expansive use of vibrant colours make the locations come to life, everything looks spot on and they’ve jammed quite a bit in. There’s jungles, waterfalls, lava pits, dry baked land, rivers, sky, rocks, broken buildings, water towers, damn near anything you can think of and it all looks remarkably good.
High levels of detail and crisp clear images even at high speed with 12 racers and zero frame rate dips makes Pacific Rift technically brilliant.

Sound:

There’s really not much you can do with a game of this type in terms of sound, get the soundtrack right and make the cars sound like cars and bikes sound like bikes etc and it’s basically job well done.

Well, that’s exactly what they have done, the vehicles all sound like they should and are very loud and in your face, the soundtrack is a made up of good rock tracks to keep you in the mood. If you don’t like the music you can always just use your own with the in-game custom soundtrack option.

200812051358.jpg Gameplay:

This is what counts most for me and while the physics engine isn’t exactly realistic this is the kind of game where you don’t want realism. Jumps are insanely huge, power slides can get out of hand and bikes sometimes take out cars.

It may not always make sense but it’s a ton of fun. It’s not all great though as I’ve had a few moments of my car just exploding for no reason and sometimes going from one terrain to another causes a crash, these are few and far between but can still frustrate you when you’re in the heat of battle.

There is a good variety in the vehicles with the Monster Truck making a debut, they all have a place in Motorstorm and you can win just about any race with any vehicle but it will take some planning and homework on your part with regards to which vehicle takes which route. And there is the smartest part of Pacific Rift; just like the first there are many ways to get through the track and figuring it all out helps make the 16 tracks seem like 60 tracks.

The single player campaign has you racing in 4 different race sets, each set has races in certain locations based on the environment. So you’ll have water races, volcanic races, big air races, you get the point. It’s very well done and works nicely.

Within each race set there are many events, most are straight races and every now and then you’ll have an eliminator race where the last player explodes after a short time until only the leader is left, there are races you need to complete without crashing too many times, and races where you need to finish within a certain amount of time. Nothing you haven’t seen before but everything you would expect as a minimum.

There is also a time trial mode where you not only race the track but can compete against the developers ghosts for each track and vehicle combination, it’s a nice touch but can get very tedious very quickly.

The Gameplay is generally loose, brakes are for sissies and there’s never enough boost. It’s fast, it’s fun, it’s crazy… it’s Motorstorm.

Online:

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The online is great, you can be up and running in a race within 60 seconds and it all works. The matchmaking is robust and the ranking is well put together, you even lose ranking points for coming last.

However there is a serious lack of variation to the online racing. 12 racers going at it full throttle leads to some serious mayhem and watching some guys go down the wrong route is a laugh, but ultimately the races start to feel the same after a relatively short period.

Presentation:

Easily the biggest difference from the first game, the presentation is slick and makes way more sense. Load times have been drastically reduced (thank goodness) and finding things is much easier.

Trophy support is not just there but this is the first game I’ve played where you can actually track you progress for each trophy in game. Every developer should steal this immediately.

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Closing Comments:

Pacific Rift is better than its predecessor in every way, if you even remotely liked the first you will love this one. Graphically it is superb and it’s also a lot of fun. In every area it excels and easily competes on a technical level with anything released so far.

But there is one major problem, you see, after about 2 hours playing the single player campaign I started to get bored so I played some online and it was great fun for the first 2 hours and then I got bored again so I moved on to the time trial and after about 30 minutes I was bored with that.

Pacific Rift is a great game no doubt, but there is a shallowness to the game, a lack of depth that kept me asking “is this game taking me anywhere?” The simple answer is no. This however is my personal opinion and if you don’t mind just racing around and around hour after hour then it’s a non-issue.

Scoring

Gameplay : 8.5/10 (Fun, fast and furious. Unrealistic just the way it needs to be. Some dodgy moments with the engine though)

Graphics : 9.5/10 (Superb, breathtaking, awesome etc.)

Presentation : 9/10 (Slick and easy to use menus , great trophy support)

Sound : 8/10 (Pretty much what you’d expect from this sort of game, nothing missing but nothing new.)

Value : 7/10 (It’s very well made in every department but many will get bored with the lack of depth and purpose)

Overall : 8/10 (There’s only one real failing, but it’s kind of a biggie. Very high production values in every other aspect)

Last Updated: December 5, 2008

Nick De Bruyne

Video games writer, editor and critic since '08. Living and breathing video games, movies and cars since the 80s. Follow me on Twitter if you love tons of gaming talk, and @pennyworthrevs for fun stuff and links.

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