MotorStorm RC Review (PS3/PS Vita)

Wubwubwubbrrrr.

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.

[drop]They are, these single vectors, the best lap and race of real human beings, be they those of your best mate or some fellow hundreds of miles away you’ve never met. They ebb and flow, take corners better than you and make mistakes where you don’t. It’s more immediate than the likes of Autolog and much more visual – lines can be perfected, short-cuts shared, friendships formed and shattered. In short – Evolution have nailed this part of the game.

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.

[drop2]Load times, whilst not lightning-quick, are swift enough – with instant retries – meaning that dipping in and out of the Festival’s four main areas (each based on a previous MotorStorm game) is trouble-free; changing your car or its liveries results in a full reload though, which is slightly odd and hopefully can be patched out. Presentation’s simple but intuitive with optional gesture controls in the menus, and even the game’s LiveArea shows progress and trophies.

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…

Pros:

  • Brilliant leaderboard system
  • Sublime controls and decent physics
  • Priced well
  • PS3 – PS Vita system is wonderful

Cons:

  • 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.

Score: 9/10

37 Comments

  1. Haven’t really played many top-down racers but at a fiver and with MotorStorm’s pedigree I don’t think I can go wrong.

  2. This has been a day one purchase for me for a long time. I’m glad to see it’s not only brilliant but also cheap.

  3. Not being pedantic, well, I am, but isn’t it closer to £5.
    Happy to read that it is a cracking little title.

  4. Anyone managed to play on the PS3 yet? I’m not sure it’s even available.

    Word is that the PS3 version is 1080p, 3D, 2 Player same screen and 4 players split screen, not to mention the cross play functionality. Evolution state that it’s a PS3 game in it’s own right and built as such.

    Any word on how the game looks/plays on the PS3?

    I’ll be buying this just for the PS3 version, so can we ‘gift’ the included VITA edition. ;)

    • I’m sure it will be tied to your account.

    • Can anyone confirm the PS3 3D support? Thanks

  5. Like a modern day Micro Machines! YUP!

    • instant buy for me

    • That’s exactly what I thought. I played the demo at the Vita rooms event in London but struggled a it with the controls, good to hear the full game allows customisation. I’m pretty sure this will be among my first Vita purchases.

  6. I’m trying my hardest to tell myself I don’t need a Vita, and you guys are making it harder and harder each day.

  7. As if I needed any more reason to buy this but TSA has hammered it home well enough here! Cheers guys!

  8. Sounds great. I was quite likely to buy this anyway, but now it’s assured.

    I love this angle Sony are trying where you buy for one system and get the other for free. I really hope it works out for them.

  9. Hope its as good as Super Sprint , i used to love that and much later on Micro Machines as well.

    • Ugh… MWV3 was epic as it was one of my first games on Playstation, they really need to make a V5 one day..

    • MMV3 was easily one of the coolest games. Loved the pool table course.

  10. So.. with every PS3 game that is to be on Vita is free? meaning I don’t have to buy Hustle Kings or Top Darts again? thats pretty good.

    I never realized this was top down but the price is great, could be interesting

    • It’s not for every game. Rayman Origins is not part of this, even though it’s essentially the same game on both platforms.

      For now Motorstorm RC, Hustle Kings and Top Darts are part of this scheme and also if you own Wipeout HD/Fury for PS3 and own Wipeout 2048 for Vita then you’ll get the Wipeout HD/Fury DLC packs when they release for 2048 later this year :D

    • Well I meant PSN only.. which I had not mentioned oops.. I forgot about Rayman now its possible of the three games I’m planning to buy with the Vita T_T…

      Its a great scheme glad they’re actually doing this..

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