|System: PSP||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BigBig Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 29, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
MotorStorm: Arctic Edge marks the first time the renowned, Sony-exclusive, arcade racing series has made its way to the PlayStation Portable. Like its console predecessors, Arctic Edge sports great graphics, expansive tracks, lots of vehicle options, and great gameplay. Truly, Arctic Edge does an amazing job of bringing the best of the franchise onto the portable platform. While many of you may be more interested in the handheld racing title Polyphony Digital has got brewing, BigBig Studios' effort is nothing to scoff at. MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is a lot of fun crammed into a tiny package!
If you've never played any of the MotorStorm games, know that they are arcade racers set at a giant racing festival. The first two games for the PS3 were set in Monument Valley and the Hawaiian Islands. Artctic Edge, as the name implies, takes place in a far chillier venue: Alaska above the Arctic Circle. The branching tracks and the constantly changing terrain types the series is known for are also present in this portable version, affording players lots of great paths to race through. Players can choose from eight different vehicle types including bikes, ATVs, Snow Machines, Buggies, Rally Cars, Snowpluggers, Snowcats, and Big Rigs. All of these diverse vehicles have their advantages and disadvantages depending on the course and the path you choose. The game also implements arcade goodies such as a boost function and slo-mo crash sequences. While the MotorStorm series may not be the most technical racer, it is certainly one of the most fun - and Arctic Edge does the franchise proud.
A few different modes of play are included in the package, but the most important is undoubtedly the Festival. Festival is the career offering that takes place on 12 different tracks across a mountainous region in Alaska. The tracks take advantage of varying altitude in order to produce different racing conditions. Whether you're racing from peak to peak or getting down and dirty in a lowland valley, diverse terrain is the game's hallmark. The goal of each race is to win, place, or show in order to garner points. Accumulating enough points across several events will allow you to rise in rank, of which there are eight ranks in all.
Attaining new ranks will open up new tracks, race types, vehicles, drivers, customization pieces, videos, and more. In fact, Arctic Edge does a great job of rewarding players all game long. There are 24 unlockable cars, 12 tracks, 50 badges, 33 customizations, 8 ranks, 4 race types, 11 media items, 24 Drivers, and cross game emblems from Pursuit Force, Killzone, Little Big Planet, and Wipeout. The badge-collecting meta-game, similar to Trophies, which are awarded to you for demonstrating your prowess across all modes of play is particularly rewarding. Badges are awarded for great play, pulling off difficult maneuvers, advancing through the game modes, finding Easter eggs, and even just for fiddling around with all the options available in Arctic Edge.
Within Festival, event types include Race (beat seven other A.I. competitors), Speed (race solo through 30 gates, gaining bonus seconds with each gate in order to beat time benchmarks), Time-Ticker (points are scored every second depending on race position, the first to 999 wins), and Invitational (elite rank events that have you race in a series of standard race types). All these modes are fun and keep things varied. However, Race is certainly the prominent event type, and that's a good thing because it is the most entertaining offering.
Outside of Festival, players can also take on the Wreckreation modes. Wreckreation includes Time Attack, Free-play, and Multiplayer. Time Attack has you setting top times on 12 tracks with all of the eight different vehicle types. Not only will you try and set your own best times, but you can also try to beat the times set by other players via the leaderboards and those of the game's developers by racing their ghosts (beating the developer times will even net you a shiny badge). Free-play simply lets you set the race parameters including forward or reverse paths on tracks, A.I. difficulty level, vehicle variety participating in the race, and event type. Finally, Multiplayer can be played with up to seven others in both ad-hoc and infrastructure. Unfortunately, the build we were able to play offered no access to local or online multiplayer, so we can't speak to playability or functionality.