MotorStorm Arctic Edge Hands-On

MotorStorm heads to the Alaskan wilderness in this snow-capped entry in the racing series.

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MotorStorm Arctic Edge
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With the dusky, dusty desert already conquered, volcanoes scaled, and deep, muddy jungles explored, it seems the only place left for Sony's MotorStorm series to go is up. By "up" we mean "higher elevation"--as in the mountainous and unpredictable Alaskan wilderness--as seen in the upcoming third entry in the MotorStorm series, Arctic Edge. The game is coming for the PlayStation 2 and PSP this year, and we recently had a chance to give it a run during Sony's spring press event in Los Angeles.

Yes, you can expect to spend much of your time blasting around snowy, icy peaks in Arctic Edge, but the game is not a complete whiteout. Indeed, in our time with it, we saw the typical imaginative track designs you've come to expect from the MotorStorm series, full of huge elevation changes, daring jumps, multiple paths to choose from, and lots of different surfaces to ride on, including snow and ice, deeply packed powder, mud, dirt, and wooden bridges and jumps.

The game will include 12 tracks to choose from, as well as reversible versions of each track. It seems like the tracks are all carved out of the same mountainous setting so that the further you move up the mountain, the more snow you'll encounter in the game. That snow plays an important role--serving not only as a slippery surface to test your driving skills on, but also as a method to cool down your vehicle's turbo boost. You'll be able to cool your turbo by either driving underneath a waterfall or driving in deep snow. As producers told us, the placement of these snow banks has been carefully designed by the developers, since some players take drastically different racing lines through a course.

Arctic Edge will have 24 vehicles in it, including a couple of new snow-specific rides: the small and nimble snow machine (also known as a snowmobile) and the large, powerful snow plow you might see at a ski resort. As in previous games, each vehicle class has its own handling characteristics and attributes.

The game's quick frame rate was impressive and most likely a result of keeping the number of vehicles in a race to eight. That number pales in comparison to the console versions of the game, but considering that the game will let eight players race online via local or Internet in multiplayer, it's not that bad after all. In addition, players will be able to fully customize the look of their car for online races--everything can be customized, such as spoilers, exhausts, lights, paint schemes, and more. The PSP version of Arctic Edge will also include a photo mode, where you can take snapshots of your best action shots and share with friends.

Arctic Edge brings new vehicles, and a chilly new climate, to the MotorStorm festival.
Arctic Edge brings new vehicles, and a chilly new climate, to the MotorStorm festival.

So far, the MotorStorm series has yet to disappoint, and though we certainly wouldn't mind seeing a winter-themed version of the offroad racer appear on the PlayStation 3, we're impressed with what Arctic Edge has shown so far on the PSP. Look for more on the game in the coming months and a retail release this later this year.

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