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MotorStorm RC preview

Last week we were lucky enough to be invited along to the Vita Rooms event in London, giving us the chance to get our hands on the recently announced MotorStorm RC for PlayStation Vita and PS3. Needless to say we came away impressed.

Let’s be honest, the Vita wouldn’t be a PlayStation, without a MotorStorm game to accompany it. The first MotorStorm surfaced with the original PS3’s launch and now with the launch of the Vita pending a new MotorStorm has come to join the ranks of the EU launch line up. For those who haven’t seen the recent trailer for MotorStorm RC (you watch it below) the game is an almost top-down racer set within the MotorStorm universe, but instead of full blown cars, you race Remote Controlled cars around tracks themed after the locations in previous titles. The concept was explained to me as it being “what the contestants in the main MotorStorm races do to unwind”, which when you play makes sense really; after all, following a hard day of racing, crashing and fleeing from toppling buildings you need to race in safety.

The title will be a download only title for the Vita and the PS3, with game data shared between the two consoles to allow you to start a game on the PS3 and take it with you on the Vita. The data will be stored in a cloud based server, which syncs after each session and once you boot up the Vita version (as long as you are connected to an Internet source) you can continue from where you are left off. In addition, the game effectively provides two games for the price of one, because if you buy the PS Vita version you will also receive the PS3 version for free.

The differences between the two versions are only in terms of features, for example the PS3 version will include 3D and a Split Screen mode, which the Vita will not be able to support. However, the Vita version will use the Live area of Vita’s social networking features to allow you to engage with friends via an Autolog style stat tracker. However, the Near feature is not incorporated into the game which would have added an extra dimension to its social and competitive nature. Of course, the Vita’s touch screen has been integrated to allow you to move through menus by flicking your finger instead of the directional buttons, but the touch controls do not appear in the races.

The game itself includes a campaign mode that envelops all four previous MotorStorm games, from the original to the series’ PSP outing (Arctic Edge) and to the recently released Apocalypse. Each of these modules offers up races based on the setting it’s taken from. One level demoed was called ‘Hard Rock Café’ which was based on an area from Apocalypse. This area had been destroyed by lava and offered a track that twisted through collapsed signs and lava flows.

The look of the game was impressive considering that the version on show was pre-beta. There were missing effects that you would normally see in completed or Alpha code, but the detail was there. The lava that featured in the previously mentioned level, ebbed and flowed, but the dynamic play that was the core feature of Apocalypse is absent from this game. When questioned about the missing feature, the producer on hand said that it wouldn’t suit the gameplay of RC, the tracks are much smaller than that of the main series and are designed for short burst-like play instead of long lengthy laps. The destruction and changing tracks that Apocalypse had would affect the free-flow-like gameplay that is core to this pick up and play game.

The gameplay in Motorstorm RC is best described as a combination of Micro Machines and Mario Kart, with the RC racers flying around the small tracks at ridiculous speeds. But it has the MotorStorm flair to it; you race against up to 7 other cars controlled by the AI. However, once you beat the gold medal times for the tracks you are then pitted against the developer’s times and then the times that your PSN friends set on each of the tracks. The core to this game is pushing you to compete with mates.

The Vita version and for that matter the PS3 version of MotorStorm RC looks strong for an early code appearance. The change of focus from destructive arcade racing to more stylised time-based racing is a leap for the series and one that comes off really well. The focus on fun, quick races makes Motorstorm RC perfect for the road. This is one game that will be making an appearance on my Vita come February launch.

No price details have been discussed for the game at the time of writing.

Edited On 28 Nov, 2011

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