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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: BigBig Studios
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-8
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: September 29, 2009
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

The racing genre has always prided itself on catering to all types of individuals. Whether it Gran Turismo for realistic racing fanatics, Ridge Racer for the arcade nuts or MotorStorm for those who like to go off-road, there has always been something for every type of gamer around the world. With Sony and Evolution Studios' MotorStorm series already having to successful releases for the PS3, there was a need for a dynamic shift and that shift came in the form of MotorStorm: Arctic Edge for the PSP. Unlike other racing series that usually cut back on the experience to fit a gaming handheld, BigBig Studios ramped up the action to match that of the console experience.

Console franchises that made the shift successfully to the PSP --God of War, Ratchet & Clank, Gran Turismo-- all share the same key fundamental, which is not compromising the experience, whether online or offline. Just like previous MotorStorm tiles, you take part in a festival of racing and partying only this time you trade in the barren landscapes and lush jungles for the cold environment of the Arctic Circle. Though racing across snowy mountains, you can still expect to partake in huge jumps, spectacular wrecks, and rocketing past opponent utilizing your boost. Just remember, you vehicle can and will overheat so cooling your engines off though driving through water or deep snow is essential to keeping your boosting for long periods of time.

Those looking for a challenging racing experience, but without having to tear out their own hair, will definitely enjoy Arctic Edge. Similar to the PS3 titles, as you progress through the game, the difficulty curve begins to ramp up. Not taking the time to learn the tracks and actions of your opponents, will lead to "hitting a wall" roughly halfway through the career mode. However, unlike the PS3 versions, you wonít spend hours upon hours on one race just to progress further in the mode. The change to the difficulty curve is one of the main reasons you can actually say that Arctic Edge is a better enjoyable racing experience than that of MotorStorm and MotorStorm: Pacific Rift.

If you are looking for variety in a handheld racing game, look no further than Arctic Edge. BigBig Studios takes pride in their projects and it's really evident in the Career Mode, which includes more than 100 total races across 20 full featured tracks. The reason why Arctic Edge has so many races is because BigBig Studios ingeniously included several shortcuts, alternate routes, different type or terrain and the ability to race tracks in reverse, creating a unique racing experience each and every time you hit the track. Add in Time Attack and Free-Play modes and you have a well-rounded racing experience whether online or offline.

Another bountiful feature within MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is the customization options. As you progress through the career mode, you will acquire badges which help to unlock additional customization features like new paint, decals, wheels, lights, etc. Within this game, the badges are the equivalent to trophies, so being able to acquire each and everyone shows a true testament to your ingenuity and determination. With three variations to each vehicle (8 total), there are tons of possible combinations you can come up with in order to stand out in the pack full of computer-controlled A.I. opponents or against your fellow friends on online battles.

When looking at Arctic Edge in comparison to the console versions, the visual presentation still hold sup pretty strong. Considering you are not gaming on a HDTV, nor have the visual capabilities f the PS3, the mighty PSP is able to hold its own in recreating the visual splendor that is MotorStorm. Anyone who has played a MotorStorm title will know that great detail is put into the vehicles and the terrain for which you race own, which can be said about Arctic Edge. Each and every vehicle is nicely detailed and donít suffer from any framerate issues when there is upwards of six vehicles on the screen at one time. The 20 tracks are very stylized, offering up unique instances like jumping over an oil pipe line. Of all racing games that have been released on the PSP, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge holds a solid second to that of Gran Turismo in terms of visual presentations, which is saying a lot about the talent and dedication of BigBig Studios.

The audio work with Arctic Edge is another stellar point to touch on. From the roaring of engines as they barrel down the raceway, to vehicles trading paint and car parts, the sound effects are top notch. For those with a solid surround system or a good pair of gaming headphones, you will even be able to hear the faint sounds of the environment from wind blowing, to snow falling. This amount of detail usually goes overlooked, but with an experience like MotorStorm, you want to make sure everything is experienced. The musical score back full of raw energy that will get you pumped up and ready race.

Once you are done with the career mode, or just looking for a different type of challenge, you can hop online and experience some intense multiplayer racing against your fellow friends or complete strangers. Part of the reason why I delayed my review of this game was because I wanted to make sure that I touched over every aspect of this game, including the online multiplayer. Whether itís early in the morning or late at night, there is always a solid amount of gamers who are trading paint online with one another. For those who take podium spot at the end of the race will earn themselves some points, which work toward helping you raise your ranking on the leaderboards, but also to earn new customization unlockables.

Considering the norm is to skimp on features and details when making a portable gaming experience of a console title, itís nice to see developers like BigBig Studios stepping out there and showing the gaming community that when you are dedicated to something, you will figure out ways to keep the portable experience as enticing as console version. With solid visual, amazing audio soundtrack and tons of features and unlockables, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge is a definite racer to pick up for your PSP.


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