As a gaming enthusiast I’m always interested in new gaming experiences, but every once in awhile I feel compelled to go back and put in some serious time replaying some of my favorite games from the preceding years. In that spirit, I have created a new series of writing pieces titled Replaying the Classics, wherein I discuss the games that I have replayed recently. Unlike my Late to the Party series, my goal with these writing pieces is not so much to give a strong analysis of a particular game, but rather to give an informal recounting of a game and to try to convey to the reader why it’s one of my favorites. I do not come to you this time as a game reviewer, but merely as a friend wanting to have a casual chat about what he’s been playing. Today, let’s take a seat in our comfy chairs and talk about Motorstorm: Pacific Rift.
Remember the grand tale I serenaded you with last time when we talked about Mass Effect 2? Well, I can’t really do that with Motorstorm: Pacific Rift since there’s almost no story at all to this game. The basic premise is that a globe-trotting off-road racing festival has come to a deserted island whose geography is loosely based on Hawaii and you participate in the myriad racing events that the festival has set up. There is no grand tale to Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, but that’s ok because telling a great story is not the point of the game. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is all about having fun and going nuts while racing across the island that the game has created.
When you start playing Motorstorm: Pacific Rift you’ll note right away that it isn’t one of those types of racings games like Forza or Gran Turismo that are trying to accurately simulate driving. Instead, you’ll be participating in nutty off-road races where motorcycles, rally cars, big rigs, ATVs, monster trucks, and more are all speeding across the race courses around the island. It’s not often that you play a game where a variety of vehicles types are all competing in the same race at the same time, and being a Motorstorm game you can expect a fair amount of mechanical carnage to ensue in any given race as vehicles smash into each other. Every vehicle class has its own strengths, with larger ones tending to be more durable and better able to handle certain terrains such as mud and deep water, and smaller ones tending to be more nimble and having better acceleration. Having extensively played Motorstorm: Pacific Rift over the years, I’ve come to appreciate each of the vehicle classes in the game and found uses for all of them… except the ATV. Somehow I’ve never figured out how to properly drive that thing.
The lunacy of all those vehicles racing together is good on its own, but what really takes Motorstorm: Pacific Rift to the next level are its race courses. You might remember that a minute ago I told you that the island of Motorstorm: Pacific Rift is loosely based on Hawaii. That “loosely” part is important to note, as the game’s developers took Hawaii’s terrain for inspiration, but didn’t limit themselves to the sorts of off-road race courses you would expect to find in real life. I mean, when’s the last time you saw a automotive festival that had cars plowing down rivers, driving off cliffs, dodging abandoned buildings, and jumping over flowing rivers of lava? The races courses of Motorstorm: Pacific Rift are a perfect fit for the sort of driving you do in the game, and on top of that are very well designed, with multiple routes on every one of them. This opens up a lot of opportunities to experiment and try different paths with different vehicles and means you can take most vehicles on most courses and find a way to be competitive with them. A few personal favorite courses of mine include Razorback, The Edge, and Cascade Falls. The only course I don’t like is Sugar Rush, which is a veritable minefield of environmental hazards and probably the hardest course in the game.
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the soundtrack. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift has some great tunes to jam out to while you’re going as fast as you can next to an active volcano or across a black sands beach. As you might expect, there’s a lot of rock and electronica, as well as plenty of remixes.
At the end of our time here I thought I’d do something a little different than normal and tell you how I first encountered Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. Normally I put this sort of personal backstory towards the front of a game discussion, but with Replaying the Classics I’m trying to mix things up a little. Many years ago I was looking at available demos on the PlayStation Store, and saw one for Motorstorm: Pacific Rift. While I wasn’t much of a racing fan back then—and I still wouldn’t consider myself one today—I thought “why not?” and I downloaded the demo. I played the demo once, and then I played it again, and again, and again. It had only one course and three of the vehicle classes unlocked, but with just that small snippet of the game I was hooked, and not long after that I bought the full game. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift became an instant classic with me—a racing game that spoke to me like few others did. It made the #7 slot on my personal Top 20 List of games from the PlayStation 3/Xbox 360/Nintendo Wii console generation and were I to redo that list today I think it would still be on the list.
Well, I think our time is up for now. I hope you enjoyed this little chat about Motorstorm: Pacific Rift, and I look forward to bringing you another game discussion in the next installment of Replaying the Classics.