MotorStorm: Arctic Edge

ArcticStorm

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is everything you could have hoped for in a portable version of MotorStorm. Yes, everything. Okay, almost everything.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: October 9, 2009
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I'm such a douche, and I'll admit it. I was one of those people claiming the PSP was dead and gone, laid barren upon the release calendar that relegated Sony's portable that could, then couldn't seem to find software sales success on the back of rampant piracy. Not since the Dreamcast has a console been so openly rife with people circumventing the software -- and without the use of mod chips! -- to get at all the games a system could offer. The PSP was, by most accounts, officially dead.


Then Sony decided to do something about it. They released the PSP-3000, a system that still has yet to be cracked to a degree that would allow custom firmware, and with it pirated games. The PSP go is out now, and it too bypasses piracy by making everything download-only. So the issue is no longer the hardware (or ability to be broken, therein), but in getting developers back on board to give the little widescreen wonder the chance it needs to shine again.

MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is certainly one hell of a rallying cry. Some third parties have stepped up, but Sony needed something on the level of a Chains of Olympus[/i] or [game=1398]Crisis Core, and they found it in Pursuit Force devs bigBIG Studios' take on parent company Evolution Studios' MotorStorm franchise. There's no point in even beating around the bush here: this is MotorStorm; no compromises, no shortcuts, no sub-ins. Every single thing that made the PS3 games great is present here, and done in a way that not only pushes the PSP hardware, but actually gives the idea of this being more than just a PS3 franchise some serious traction.

Put aside all those whiny feelings of what could have been had this actually blossomed on the PS3; there's nothing lost here other than some fancy graphics and what's present here will certainly do the trick for most -- hell, it even uses the PlayStation Network's friends list, letting you play with the same people you would on the PS3 on your PSP (y'know, provided they also have a PSP and a copy of the game). You can actually add people you meet in Arctic Edge and they'll show up on the PS3 friends list. How's that for cross-talk?

This represents the first full-blown embracing of the PlayStation experience as it exists across multiple platforms. You can invite PSN friends, take photos by simply pausing the game and load up custom soundtracks you'd normally pull up on the XMB. In short, it's a MotorStorm game and that extends well beyond just matching some of the PS3 games' features. The result? A game that does more than just try to be a MotorStorm experience, it absolutely delivers it.

The move to more chilly climes apparently hasn't done much to stem the tide of rave-inspired crowds or music festival settings. You'll still be treated to shows of both those partying throngs and the high-powered muscle cars in pre-rendered sequences that play out behind the main menu navigation. The music is just as peppered with mixes of contemporary rock and electro-splashed crossover tunes and the tracks... well, let me tell you about the tracks.

Oh, wait, before I do, I should probably mention the issues that exist right now with the online. As of the time of this review, there's still an issue with trying to use existing PS3 accounts to play online -- meaning all that talk of what you can do with your buddy list should be taken as a could do, though Sony promises they're working on it, and the game actually supports just hitting Triangle on the XMB and selecting the update option when the patch does go live. For those stuck in the same situation as me (the system craps out with a fatal error and hangs and/or hard resets when you try to pick a regional server), the solution is to create a new PSN account, delete your existing one linked to your PSP (select Account Management on the XMB and opt to delete the previous account, then link a new one you created on your PS3) and you'll be in business. Or you can wait for a patch.

Once you are able to get online, you'll be treated to a mostly lag-free experience that lets you earn points for wins that in turn unlock new ranks (useful for racing against other vets) and allow you to unlock new stuff in addition to gaining Badges -- essentially Arctic Edge's Trophies. They won't earn you anything outside of the game, but at least inside you'll earn new customization options you can use to differentiate yourself online.
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