95MotorStorm and PSP fans rejoice! The PSP’s version of MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is wonderful. Spectacular. Amazing! There aren’t enough adjectives to describe my love for this racing game. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty damn close.

Visually, this game is very impressive. The crisp details are shockingly clear. I haven’t played a racing video game on the PSP with such sleek and impressive graphics. The courses designed for the game are beautifully done and crafted to be exciting and with a varied experience. The visuals are on par with those of PS3/PS2 games which is very impressive. The visual experience definitely helps keep players addicted to the game and leaves an impression. When you see your vehicle crash, it will leave a mark. Especially if you get it to explode (props!).

Publisher: Sony
Developer: Bigbig Studios
Sep. 29, 2009

The game itself is easy to understand. You’re playing as a racer in the MotorStorm Festival which is being held in the Arctic. You race around using one of 8 types of vehicles and fight to win each race. This sounds like there isn’t alot of variety, but the fact is, there is so many modes to go through, the replay value is immense! The main modes you’ll play through are Festival Mode, Time Attack and Free-Play Mode. Time Attack and Free-Play mode are like most standard racing modes. Festival Mode is the basic career mode. You race against opponents, and earn Badges as you win. The more badges you win, the more features you unlock which allows for more control over customization of your vehicles. People who love customizing their rides will love this aspect of the game.

The best way to play this game is online. When you go head to head with other players, it feels amazing. Once you’ve played through Festival Mode, Online mode is where you test your skills. If you think you can hold your own, you may be right. Or you may be dead wrong and have your ass handed to you by your opponents. This brings us to difficulty. The difficulty levels are like a standard videogame. You start out on a relatively easy level and the A.I. lets you get the hang of what’s happening. Once you’ve one a few races, the difficulty ramps up a lot. By the time you’re finishing up Festival mode, you’ll be cursing how hard the A.I. is going against you. With over 100 levels and such a difficulty range, the game doesn’t get boring anytime soon.

The levels provided are very dynamic. There are numerous routes around the track and the terrain varies quite a bit at times. The ramps and turns on each level will effectively teach you how to race with each vehicle type at your disposal. Now the eight vehicles are: Bikes, Snowmobiles, ATVs, Buggys, Rally Cars, Snowpluggers, Big Rigs and Snowplows. Each type is especially designed to tackle a certain type of terrain. When you play, you need to be ready to execute moves perfectly with your vehicle or else you’ll end up losing badly.

Two other noteworthy aspects of the game are its soundtrack and Photo Mode. Photo Mode allows you to take pictures while you drive, so that you can save it and send it out to your friends. This is a very cool feature which allows for showboating when you take down your opponents! And there’s no better way to take down your opponents than by doing it to a kick ass soundtrack. The game’s soundtrack helps get the blood flowing as you drive frantically around the track. It can wear on you a bit after 30 or so races, but Arctic Edge anticipated this: The game allows you to import your own soundtrack into the game when you need it, so if it gets annoying just rotate it out and race to your own soundtrack.

Now while this game doesn’t break new ground, it does everything right. There are a few technical problems which are apparent during races, but they are minor and do not ruin the overall experience. When racing against more than six players, the game can lag a tiny bit but it’s not a big deal. This is counteracted by the smooth visuals of open track and the tiny effects which make the game all the more impressive. So if you see a cool visual effect, be sure to have the Photo Mode ready!

Blast Factor: This game is beautifully done. It’s entertaining, it has everything you could possibly want from a racing game – cool cars, great visuals, and dynamic tracks. The replay value is fantastic but the online mode is one of the best ways to truly test your racing prowess. The game deserves to be recognized as one of the best games available on PSP today. If you’re a racing aficionado or a casual gamer looking for a road trip game, this is one you should definitely consider.

Motorstorm: Arctic Edge is available exclusively on the PSP, and retails for $39.99. A copy of this game was given to us by the publisher for review purposes.

About The Author

David is sophomore at Boston College. He writes for the video game section and loves movies, television and music too.

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