Game Reviews

Review: Motorstorm Pacific Rift

Motorstorm Pacific Rift Box ArtThe original Motorstorm was the first game I experienced on the PS3, and I played it to death. The graphics were fantastic, and the gameplay, despite being difficult to master at times, appealed to my inner madman.

Not many other racing games (with the notable exception of Burnout Paradise) have made me feel exhilarated and charged up to win as Motorstorm did, and 20 months later, I’m glad to say that the sequel, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, not only re-awakens the old feelings, but cranks them into overdrive.

Brutal off-road racing is back with a vengeance! In Pacific Rift, the festival has moved from the deep canyons and spires of Monument Valley to a previously unexplored island rich in lush forests, crystal-clear waterfalls, pristine beaches, smoking hot volcano fields, and mist-covered mountain peaks.

Hit the jump to read the rest of the review.

The island contains four different zones — Water, Air, Earth and Fire; each zone has its own unique attributes and obstacles. Some elements can be used to your advantage though — driving through a flowing stream or a stagnant pool of water will cool down your turbo so you don’t overheat as much. On the flipside, lava heats up the turbo faster (so watch it closely), but you can also gleefully extinguish you opponents by shoving them into the nearest molten lake!


Motorstorm is characterized by two main things — boost and alternate routes. And Motorstormers will be pleased to find out that all 16 of the island’s tracks come riddled with multiple routes. It’s easy to move from one route to another several times throughout the race.

Depending on the vehicle you have chosen, you need to pick the most strategic route — if you’re on a bike avoid the deep water for you shall sink, and if you’re driving a big rig avoid the big jumps for you shall plummet to an explosive death. Track deformation also has a part to play — as laps progress roads are carved to various depths, and this will affect how your vehicle handles the track. Lighter vehicles, for example, will have a harder time negotiating through the carve-out of a big rig truck.


Speaking of vehicles the usual roster of bikes, ATVs, buggies, rally cars, race trucks, mudpluggers, is complemented with the notable addition of the behemoth Monster Trucks. Good for crushing opponents and vegetation, the monster truck is relatively fast, but careful when making turns, the high centre of gravity makes it very easy to overturn. All your vehicles are conveniently stored in the Garage from which you can make colour and model selections prior to the race.

There are two main modes — Festival and Wreakreation. Festival is the single-player campaign mode where you begin by choosing a rider (male or female) and then jumping into the races specific for each zone. There are various race types, from the normal races, to the speed events, to my favourite, the eliminator events.


The full quota of 16 racers start, and every set period of the, the racer in last position gets eliminated i.e. dies in huge explosion. Be #1 at the end to claim the glory. Winning races allows you to unlock new rider costumes, vehicles, and paint-jobs for each vehicle. The included Photo mode allows you to capture all of your finest (or not-so finest) moments. There are also over 40 varied music tracks to keep your adrenaline pumping during the races. A great addition is that Pacific Rift supports custom soundtracks! All you need to do is access the XMB via PS button and start playing the music.

In Wreckreation, you get to access online play, four-player split-screen, or just for have fun with free-play, which allows you to select your vehicle, track, number of laps of your choice, and the type of vehicles you want to race against. In term of the online play, competitors gather in a lobby where the host selects the tracks and vehicles.

Players are able to veto a track if they are not entirely happy with the choice — enough votes and the track selection will have to be made again. Alongside the ranked and casual races, the custom match option enables you to create a game and send invites to your friends. There is matchmaker to help you find games based on your preferences, and you can access all manner of statistics and leader boards. Evolution Studios, creators of Pacific Rift, will also make downloadable content available in the near future.


Compared to its predecessor, Pacific Rift has much better presentation values, and the controls feel somewhat tighter. The graphics look fantastic with vivid colours, good lighting, mesmerising scenery, and a very smooth frame rate. Add on the multitude of tracks and race types, and Pacific Rift is a frenzied racer that shouldn’t be missed whether you’re a fan of the original or a newcomer.

As with most games, practice makes perfect and it is no different in Pacific Rift. The gameplay is intense and can be frustrating at time, but it is good fun and feels very rewarding to win. Once you’ve become accustomed to the handling of your vehicles, learn how to take advantage of the tracks elements, and you’ll be boosting to victory! God luck and don’t forget your crash helmet!

Thanks to head honcho Tim King at Stalking Venus for hosting the review :)

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