MotorStorm has had an interesting history. The first title was shown by way of pre-visualization (computer-generated video, basically) that was presented as if it was real-time, in-game graphics. That got the heckles raised with many. The recent Apocalypse version, which is set in cities that are undergoing unintended deconstruction by way of some sort of natural disaster, coincided rather unfortunately with both the Christchurch and Japan earthquakes, leading Sony to delay it in New Zealand and never even release it in Japan, to avoid controversy.
Full-scale rally games pitting all sorts of vehicles up against each other in extreme conditions, the games have nevertheless proven popular with critics and fans alike. So when we heard a new game was headed to Vita, we were - while not surprised - keen to see what they'd come up with next. What we didn't expect is that the game was going to head in such a different direction...
Specifically, MotorStorm RC is - as you might well have figured out for yourself, based on the name alone - all about racing remote controlled (RC) vehicles. The general idea of the terrain - a mix of mud, dirt, concrete, etc - remains but the scale has completely changed.
Rather than raging around at high speed from a third or first-person view, you now take stock of the action from an angle that's more representative of what you might see were you actually in control of a real RC car. It's not exactly the same, of course, and there are a few camera options for you to select between, but your tiny car is even tinier thanks to the fact it's represented by only a few pixels on the screen.
The controls, too, have changed. There are two options to choose from, including our favorite that basically replicates the real twin-stick RC controls you might be familiar with, if you've ever driven an actual RC vehicle. Left stick turns your vehicle while the right controls the throttle. It's hard to know how easily you'll grasp this concept but, as someone who is very familiar with classic racing games like Badlands and Ivan Stewart's Offroad Racing, I had no problems whatsoever and could jump right in.
There's no online multiplayer, however the increasingly common integration of leaderboards has been leveraged to good effect here; no surprise, perhaps, as the continual hunt for the "perfect lap" is possibly the best fit imaginable for this concept. Simply race the crap out of a track and try to beat your mates' best scores. It's basic, but effective.
There's a huge amount of content here, even if a lot of it is only slight variants on a theme. There are loads of tracks, all of which are comically set on an environment which is both clearly intended by the pretend RC operators to represent rugged reality and also clearly made up of bits of trash and other random stuff they had laying around. There are also heaps of cars, however - given the ultra tiny size of them onscreen, we wouldn't be surprised to learn they only took a few minutes each to model and texture...
The piles of content only goes part-way to explaining the value score, which - if it was possible - would be even higher than ten. Why so much? Well, not only do you get heaps of fun racing action, but the purchase of this game gives you versions for both PS3 and PS Vita. Deal of the century, right? It gets better. It's only $11.50. Ridiculous and, perhaps, the perfect foil to Ridge Racer - whose value proposition is decidedly opposite in nature.
Where the price can be seen to have an impact, however, is the visuals. While far from terrible (they represent the various locales well enough) they're also, to be frank, only really adequate. Clearly limited time has been spent on the tracks and vehicles, due to budgetary and download size constraints perhaps, and it shows.
Still, when a game is this much fun (even if it can be a bit variable in difficulty), with this much to do, cheap visuals are easily excused. Hell, they add to the charm in a way. Don't let the screenshots put you off though, there's a great little game in here and you can play it on your telly or on the screen in your pocket - and all for the price of a decent kebab. Get into it!