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PSP Review: MotorStorm Arctic Edge

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MotorStorm has grown quite a bit since the infamous pre-rendered video from 2005. Both the PS3 launch game and Pacific Rift were great fun, at times crazy arcade racers. Arctic Edge proves, unlike Gran Turismo, that you can indeed bring a racing franchise to the PSP and not sacrifice anything.

This game is setup just like its PlayStation 3 cousins, advance through the ranks in the single player festival mode, unlocking more and more cars and race types. This time around you make your way up a spiral of races, unlocking stars to advance and play through 10 different race types – my favorite new one being a checkpoint race that awards seconds for each completed checkpoint as you try and make it to the finish line. You must find creative ways to complete the course, or you blow up.

Previous games in the series give you multiple paths per track, and that is no different here. Each of the 12 tracks offer varied paths better suited for big rigs or bikes. Not everything is ice and snow, as some tracks feature there fair share of dirt and mud – MotorStorm would not be the same without that. New to Arctic Edge are even bigger half pipes than seen previously, and environmental obstacles such as ice bridges that crack and break under heavy vehicles.

New vehicles are specific to the arctic climate, obviously. Snow machines are smaller and faster but fishtail quite a bit because of the ski; the Snowcat is a big piece of machinery, and a force to be reckoned with, similar to a big rig. Mudpluggers have been replaced with Snowpluggers, giving you a total of eight different classes of vehicles – each with two to three variations of stats.

It is surprising how well the racing translates to the PSP. Gas and Break are on the triggers, with boost assigned to X. Finding water and deep snow is important to cooling down your boost, making sure you don't explode. Light deformation can been seen, and snow and mud fly into the screen, again, this is just like the games on the PS3, now portable.

Multiplayer consists of Adhoc and Infrastructure, for up to six in a grid. The online servers were sporadic at best right as the game launched, but everything smoothed out quickly, resulting in few disconnects. For those looking for time attack races, load up downloaded ghosts and try and beat those lunatics. You can also go after the best times from the developer. Good luck!

Rounding out the MotorStorm "Wreckreation" experience is a track list of 20 songs that fit with the series fast paced, frantic racing. Highlights include Motorhead, Prodigy, and Chemical Brothers, its a good mix and has not gotten old yet.

It seems nothing has changed in the switch from Evolution to Bigbig Studios, volcanoes to snow capped mountains, or home to portable consoles, MotorStorm Arctic Edge is one of the most feature complete racers on the PSP. The only complaint I have is the ramp in difficulty – beginning races are really easy, the next tier gets really hard with no middle ground. But you get used to it, start crashing into A.I. opponents and run them off the track, which is the fun of a MotorStorm game anyways.

MotorStorm Arctic Edge is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Lyrics and Mild Violence. This game can also be found on: PS2.

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About Ken Edwards