Motorstorm RCPosted: March 16, 2012
Motorstorm: RC is a racing game that is currently free for download on the PS Vita (though you have to endure starting out in a Scion iQ…) and is one of the best racing games I’ve played in a long time.
The game features 48 events and features several different event-types, so it is not a short game. There is your standard race mode; Hot Lap, where you attempt to get the best single-lap time; Drift, where you score points by drifting a muscle car as much as possible; and Pursuit, where the event ends after you overtake a number of cars. There are sixteen different tracks (not including DLC), and 32 different vehicles (again, not including DLC), with 8 different vehicle types (most vehicles also have four different paint jobs, allowing for greater customization). Each vehicle type handles very differently from the others in terms of speed, handling, and acceleration (none of these stats are given to you, by the way), which makes racing a different experience each time. You’re assigned the vehicle type in each event, which means that you can’t just pick your best vehicle each time; racing with a Buggy one time and a Big Rig another is a different experience.
The game’s effects are pretty good but nothing too spectacular; the game is presented from a top-down point of view. You are of course controlling remote-controlled racecars and while the game doesn’t focus too much on this, there are occasions where it becomes obvious (some races, for example, feature real-sized cars in the background environment), but it really is a minor point. There are two different control schemes, but both for some reason use the right control stick to control your acceleration (instead of the standard R trigger for acceleration and L trigger for brakes/reverse). It takes some time getting used to, but the standard control scheme definitely feels like you’re using a real RC control pad.
The game, like I said, features 48-non-DLC events. You can receive up to three medals for each event; coming in first in a race, for example, nets you the full three medals. That means there are a total of 144-non-DLC medals to be earned, which is in itself quite a feat. Most events will require multiple attempts to net all three (let alone just one). Each event only usually takes a minute or two, tops, to finish (some events, like Hot Lap, will often take you 10-20 seconds!). The game is definitely fast-paced and manages through that to be very fun. Redoing a race several times to try to get first isn’t quite as daunting when each attempt is a minute, for example. Unlike some racing games too, the top time is, while difficult to achieve, not impossible, so things never feel hopeless.
The game has a large online and competitive component, while featuring no multiplayer mode per se. There is an in-game leaderboard which loads times from the PSN. When you play in most races and events, there will be a “ghost” of the Gold/Silver/Bronze medal to race against; when you race again, your friend’s ghost, and typically a ghost from a higher-ranked player than you, will join you, giving you a pretty clear objective. This definitely adds a competitive feel, and when you win a race you have the option of sharing it with your PSN friends, posting it to your Facebook, and even directly challenging another friend. Based on how well you did, the game might describe your victory as an edging or trouncing or destruction. The game also has a Pitwall that shows recent events, such as friend’s times in a race. If a friend (or even stranger) beats you in a certain race, the Pitwall will inform you as such, typically with a message like “Soandso destroyed you in This Event”. Should you choose, you can select that event and go directly to it in an attempt to reclaim your dignity. A minor gripe I have with it is that unless you know exactly what the event is, you may be wasting your time. There are some events I did horribly on; knowing that some guy beat my time but not knowing how I did originally, without going directly to the event, is kind of pointless. It is, however, a very cool feature and helps keep the game interesting.
Motorstorm RC has provided me with hours of entertainment and the best part it’s free. It doesn’t feel like a free game, though; it does feel like a full-length racing game. It’s also unlike previous Motorstorms and unlike most other racing games and definitely has more of an old-school racing game feel. It’s a lot of fun and you can easily spend hours just trying to improve your time on a single event by a number of seconds. The new DLC packs add a couple of events and only cost a dollar or two, making them a pretty easy investment — considering you get the core game for free. I’m not usually into racing games because they have gotten a lot more in-depth over time, usually allowing you to customize your car right down to the tires, something I really don’t care for. Motorstorm RC simplifies the process dramatically, with the only differences being between car types (I’ve yet to detect a huge difference other than appearance between cars of the same type). All in all, Motorcross RC is a fun game that should definitely not be absolutely free, but for a limited time, is. If you own a Vita, be sure to download this. It’ll occupy your time and probably make you leave Uncharted in the dust, at least for awhile.
The PS3 version is available for $9.99 ($7.49 for PSN Plus) and, from all accounts, is very much like the Vita version, except it features local multiplayer.