posted by delb2k
With the launch of a new system comes the opportunity to re-examine franchises that are showing signs of fatigue. Motorstorm debuted at the launch of Vitas bigger, home based brother and since then has had three further iterations and a PSP release, a set of circumstances that has seen its stock decrease under the weight of familiarity. Perhaps sensing this the latest version has taken a bold, and successful, step into re-crafting its appeal for a format where short, sharp bursts are what is required while managing to provide another recognisable name for the launch of Sonys new handheld.
What is also strikingly different is the aesthetics of this new entry. The previous vehicles are replaced with remote controlled equivalents, the view now extrapolated to a more isometric, Super-Off Road style vantage point. The left stick steers and the right takes on the acceleration and braking duties in a pleasing and tactile control scheme that provides an impressive degree of control over the on screen action. Taking inspiration from the past titles each of the four areas contain courses corresponding to the studios previous output, each containing a small set of tracks that are used over a various series of events.
Cleverly there has been a realisation that time is the most important commodity when it comes to portable gaming, the title relying on two main factors to keep up the player interest; events that only take a few minutes to complete and a restart mechanic that puts the player back into the action almost instantly. On both counts RC delivers masterfully, creating track layouts that normally take less than a 30 seconds to run around with events that take just over a minute to complete. It is telling that the developers introduced a trophy to complete each event set in 10 minutes or under and underpins the ethos of creating something that fulfilled the goal of quick, accessible fun gameplay.
And be under no mistake, the gameplay is lots of fun. The vehicles each provide different handling characteristics with the joy coming in mastering the controls and pushing down the time taken to complete the event. In part this is to achieve all three goals initially set be the developers to earn medal sets but also to scratch that most consistent of itches, beating your friends on the leader boards. RC will continually take great delight in reminding you exactly who is beating you in what event, dangling the carrot of bragging in front of the face and daring you to try and take a bite. This is what provides the game with longevity and continues to provide an impetuous to every player to find ways to improve. That’s not to say everything is wonderful. At points vehicles can display a tendency to stick to track edges and get lost at points in the hustle and bustle of the race, but these are only ever temporary annoyances that pass quickly.
Since its initial release two further expansions have been made available, carnival and pro-am, each offering a new environment and events to compete in. Both still adhere to the basic principles and provide excellent racing arenas and events to spend some time with, although at only have the price of the main game it may be argued they are slightly more expensive than they should be.
The overall aim of Evolution studios with this release was to create something that could provide a short, sharp entertainment shock while also showing off the new system to its fullest degree. Startlingly, they have managed to pull it off while providing a fresh and interesting take for a franchise that was in desperate need of a lift. RC may not do anything too radical but brings with it enough interesting facets and time wasting distractions to be a worthy purchase for new Vita owners.