I’m already in first place, seven other buggies at least half a lap behind with another whole lap to go. In any other game, you’d be left with dodgy rubberbanding AI or a cheap promise of a throwaway trophy to keep up the interest levels as you career around the few remaining corners. In MotorStorm RC, Evolution’s side project and PS Vita launch title, there’s the simple but wonderfully potent threat of the rest of the world.
It’s not hard to appreciate how this really is a game changer. What’s worthy of merit though, is how brilliantly the game integrates the progress of you, your friends and the next closest rival into the game, and the implementation is so simple you have to wonder why it’s never been done before: lines, three of them, populate each race, changing so the challenge is always there, your next target perpetually visible regardless of progress.
Later circuits loop, jump and spiral over and under themselves - the simpler tracks are the most fun.
This competitive nature, though, runs through RC without compromise. Even in the relative quiet of the Playground, where the player is free to experiment and discover a few little secrets, the Pitwall constantly pings up what everybody else is doing in relation to you. If someone beats your time, you’ll know about it, and be able to challenge them simply by tapping a button, the game picking you up and throwing you into the relative event in seconds.
The concept’s solid too. Sure, we’d have loved a mainline MotorStorm game but the RC idea is a neat one, allowing a fair amount of artistic license with the brand without really having to re-invent the IP. The little vehicles are exactly that – often tiny on screen – but the physics are always predictable and sound, with fully configurable controls and a few camera options making the game feel quite customisable.
Icy levels really pop from the Vita's screen, but the game suffers a little visually from a lack of contrast.
Visually it’s nothing really to get excited about, the tracks are detailed enough but the frame-rate can sometimes struggle to hold at thirty in busy races, and the heavy, repetitive dubstep music feels slightly at odds with the fact that these miniature ‘Stormers are barely a foot long. Thankfully, none of that really matters with gameplay that’s so ridiculously refined to the point of near perfection.
And that’s really the point: RC is fabulously playable and dangerously addictive. The game modes – racing, time trials, overtake and drifting – feel like almost a means to an end, the ultimate goal of everything simply to be the best in the world. With the game even taking into account your overall time through all the events I can see people getting really serious about this. Thankfully, Wreckreation mode lets you practice, practice, practice…
- Brilliant leaderboard system
- Sublime controls and decent physics
- Priced well
- PS3 – PS Vita system is wonderful
- Online real-time play would have been lovely
- Graphics can stutter a bit with the zoomed-out view
It’s worth re-iterating that MotorStorm RC is effectively the cheapest game on the Vita at launch and it’s one that’s also playable on PS3 for the one price. At just under five quid it’s extraordinarily good value, there’s lots of game here and the trophies hint at at least two new festival bundles, potentially expanding what’s already a considerably beefy game into one that might threaten to make the rest of the line-up obsolete for some time…
I love this game.