My planes, trains, and automobiles screenshot was going to be even better, but like much of Motorstorm, it’s a cool idea with a lousy execution. I love it when games let you take your own screenshots, but Motorstorm cripples the feature by failing to include a replay mode. That cool thing that happens on lap three? Good luck anticipating it on your first time through the course and then pausing it at just the right moment to capture it, and you can just forget about commemorating those serendipitous moments that you can’t plan for or recreate at all.
After the break, I try to figure out of the trade-in value of Motorstorm will get me a copy of Split/Second.
Motorstorm Apocalypse isn’t a total failure. All those nice things I said about my favorite courses are still true, and I’ve found a few more tracks I really enjoy since then. To my surprise, I still get a little excited every time I finish a race. Each win means a few moments of anticipation, wondering what’s going to blow up or crash down around me in the next round of the Festival. Sometimes I’m rewarded with a fighter-jet-subway-car sandwich, sometimes I have an uneventful drive around a trashed interstate, and sometimes I beat my head against the wall for an hour on an inexplicably tough course, awesome or not. I haven’t finished the campaign mode yet, but I think I still might. If I ever really get to a point I can’t move past, I’ll just fire up the time trials to at least try every course once. But that’s all Motorstorm has to offer. A series of course you enjoy (or don’t) just long enough to get to the next one, and then you’re done.
The presentation will make you cringe, the vehicles will bore you, and the races will get arbitrarily difficult. You rarely lose a race with a clear sense of what went wrong. Some dumb things just happened, and your best hope is that they don’t happen next time. If this was a launch title and you caught me in a pleasant mood, I might be optimistic about the future of the franchise, but as the third Motorstorm title on the Playstation 3, I don’t think my curiosity will be enough to bring me back in the future. I can grow to love an ambitious failure, but none of the problems in Motorstorm are the result of risks taken. It’s a bland, mostly forgettable game with just a few unforgettable highlights. I never spent any time with last year’s Split/Second, but I’m pretty sure it’s got races with explosions, and that sounds good enough for me right now. That’s where Motorstorm leaves me, wanting more, but reasonably certain this franchise won’t ever be the place to get it.
(Click here for the previous Motorstorm Apocalypse entry.)
Wholly Schmidt wrestles PDFs into submission as the print industry collapses around him by day, and moves furniture to play Rock Band by night. He can’t tell you his real name, because he has almost all of his friends fooled into thinking he’s a grown-up.