Home | News | Reviews | Previews | Hardware

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge: This Can't be Good for Global Warming!

Racing wildly overpowered vehicles through arctic terrain in MotorStorm: Arctic Edge makes for a great spectacle, and you won't even have to dodge errant penguins or musk oxen on your way to icy victory. The only unexciting parts of this game appear to be the times you'll sit waiting for the next level to load, and those load times are thankfully kept short. Sony knows that racers want their action seriously adrenaline-fueled, and MotorStorm: Arctic Edge looks poised to deliver when it hits PSP systems. Bigbig Studios, known for its seriously over-the-top driving action featured in the two Pursuit Force games on PSP, is at the helm for this latest installment of the MotorStorm franchise. Fans of previous games will need to check out Arctic Edge, and those that haven't sampled either of the previous titles will find this an excellent place to jump on for the ride.

The landscape of MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is formidable, including a dozen tracks that contain everything from slippery ice to sloppy mud to craggy mountain paths. They say native people up north have many names for ice, according to the wild variety of formations present. MotorStorm: Arctic Edge may not have been directly inspired by this, but you'll encounter all manner of icy surfaces in the game; one moment you may be sliding wildly out of control, only to find yourself transitioning to a path of jagged ice blocks, or a bridge of crumbling ice and snow that can barely hold your weight. Tracks in this game are more than just curve angles and surface types, though. You are introduced quickly, through checkpoint races, to the many variant pathways available to take you more or less quickly through each level. Finally, you'll have to take into account what you are driving in order to get the most out of each track. Lighter vehicles can traverse those high, crumbly ice-bridges mentioned earlier, but just try taking a big truck across them...

Vehicle selection is quite a smorgasbord in MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, as you hit the track on anything from a light motorcycle or snow sled, to a huge half-track snow moving machine. The strategic implications are many, as you balance the optimum vehicle for each track type, the competitors, and your personal driving style. Any of the choices are capable of winning races, but some will require more dedication and perhaps upgrades before turning in a first place trophy. Geography dictates that you respect the limitations of the track by keeping larger vehicles down where they can navigate easily and pick up speed. Rushing along in a big bruiser may not be your cup of tea, in which case there are small, nimble options that present a downside in terms of durability but can go anywhere on the track. Upgrading vehicles isn't really the point of MotorStorm: Arctic Edge in the way it consumes other racing games, but it is possible to take your favorite ride into the shop for some special treatment.

We like what we see in MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, and can't wait for a deeper dive with the full game. Finding a balance between the novel and the familiar, Bigbig appears to have generated a racing title that is easy to jump into, but with the depth of features, locations, and vehicles that more core racing fans expect to see. Visually it is a treat for the small screen, and co-op racing for eight players is nothing to sneeze at. Get those studded tires and chains ready for MotorStorm: Arctic Edge, coming to a frigid landscape near you soon.

-Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications
AKA Matt Paddock
Related Links:

This site best viewed in Internet Explorer 6 or higher or Firefox.