|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|
Regardless of setting, MotorStorm titles always look brilliant, and Arctic Edge is no exception. I was surprised at just how good the game looks in spite of its compact size. That being said, don't expect PS3 visuals on your PSP. For instance, the Festival atmosphere isn't as well rendered and the crash sequences are not remotely as satisfying. Also, the vehicles look a little blocky and less polished than I would have liked. Nevertheless, textures are quite good, the lighting effects are excellent, courses are very detailed, and backgrounds are inspired. In fact, the graphics, overall, look so good you might even want to take a couple screen shots. Thankfully, Arctic Edge has a photo mode that lets you do so. Simply pausing the game mid-race will allow you to access the photo functionality. Photo mode lets you adjust the camera angles anyway you want in order to capture the moment just perfectly. Save it to your MemoryStick and you can send it to friends or even use it as a wallpaper.
As solid as the visuals are, the sound tries to outdo them. There are lots of solid rock tracks that not only support the feeling of the game, but they are also of crystal-clear quality. If these tunes aren't quite your style, you can create track playlists from tunes you have loaded on your MemoryStick. Sound effects are also spot-on. The sounds of the car engines, the burst of the nitro boost, and the crunch of metal while bumping really enhance the gameplay. Additionally, the game's opening monologue, like those of the two preceding titles, makes it seem like your about to watch a summer action film.
The game's one flaw is found in its control scheme. While the developers did a great job offering players a few key option selections for adapting the controls to their play style, the PSP simply isn't particularly well designed for supporting racing. The analog nub is simply too small to enjoy the game comfortably. Surprisingly, BigBig Studios was able to get the nub to control with a great amount of precision, but naturally they weren't able to make it any more ergonomic. If things get too uncomfortable, you can always switch to the digital pad, but then you lose a lot of control subtlety. Additionally, holding down the acceleration and boost buttons (via the X and R buttons) gets to cramping your hands after just a handful of races. On the upside, the different vehicle and terrain types handle distinctly - a testament to the developers' interest in making this title unique.
All in all, this is a great title, not only for the PSP, but in general. Players will really enjoy all the polish that has gone into the game, the quality tracks, the different vehicles, the varied game modes, multiplayer and leaderboard support, all the unlockables, etc. The only thing that seems to hold this game back is the hardware itself, as controlling this title is challenging due to the less-than-ergonomic design of the PSP. If you are a person that leads more towards arcade racing, skip Gran Turismo and give Arctic Edge a try instead.
CCC Editor / News Director