flagship racing series, developed by Evolution Studios, are what happens when one takes Burnout
and puts it off-road. The series revolves around the fictional "MotorStorm Festival", an event that bears more similarity to Burning Man than to a professional racing league, going to various corners of the world to engage in extreme rally racing... but it's not like you really need to know that
to get any enjoyment out of the game.
So far, there have been four games in the series:
- MotorStorm (2006): The original. Set in Utah's Monument Valley, this game established the series formula of having several classes of vehicles (dirt bikes, ATVs, rally cars, buggies, racing trucks, mud pluggers and big rigs) racing through courses with varied terrain suited to different types of vehicles. It was a minor Killer App for the young PlayStation 3, selling over three and a half million copies.
- MotorStorm Pacific Rift (2008): The first sequel moved the gameplay onto a South Pacific island, sending players through beaches, jungles, volcanoes, an abandoned sugar factory, and even a volcano-ravaged small town. Introduced here were monster trucks, which could drive over the competition, and water and fire physics — driving through water would cool down your car, while going through burning hot areas will cause your heat gauge to go up faster when you boost. While not as big a hit as the first game, it still sold a cool million copies while enjoying acclaim for fixing many of its most glaring problems.
- MotorStorm 3D Rift (2010): A downloadable Updated Re-release of Pacific Rift designed to take advantage of 3D technology. It is smaller than the original game, featuring only ten tracks (out of sixteen) and some of the vehicles.
- MotorStorm Arctic Edge (2009): This installment was made for the PSP and PS2. Set in northern Alaska, this game featured snowmobiles and snowcats while introducing unique hazards like avalanches (triggered by vehicle crashes or by honking your horn) and ice bridges (smaller vehicles can drive over them fine, but big ones will fall through).
- MotorStorm Apocalypse (2011): The latest game moves the action from rally racing in the wilderness to street racing in a big city... but with a twist. As its name suggests, Apocalypse takes its cues less from Need for Speed and The Fast and the Furious, and more from Roland Emmerich and Irwin Allen. The city is in the throes of a massive earthquake that is destroying it piece by piece, sending the racers through earthquake fissures, collapsing buildings, tsunamis and explosions galore. The new vehicle classes — muscle cars, supercars, superminis, choppers and superbikes — are all designed to race in the new urban environments.
- While it enjoyed the same critical acclaim as its predecessors, it wound up suffering from a massive case of Too Soon in the wake of the 2011 Japanese earthquake, which adversely affected its release in many markets and is likely to blame for its very disappointing sales performance.
- MotorStorm R.C. (2012): was released in February 2012 for the PS3 and Vita (as a launch title for the latter), it scales down the game by focusing on the use of remote controlled cars as opposed to the real deal, reminiscent of Micro Machines. It uses environments from the original games through Apocalypse.
The games are also known for being rather difficult
This video-game series provides examples of:
- All Deserts Have Cacti: Justified in the first game — it's set in southern Utah, so one would expect to find cacti. Even so, the saguaro never shows up, as it doesn't grow there. It also features a wide array of different desert environments rather than just "sandy wasteland".
- Apocalypse How: Class 0 in Apocalypse. The city itself is completely destroyed, but there's no sign that any other part of the world has been damaged.
- No Endor Holocaust: During the second-to-last level of each character's story, we see the ground itself tilting upwards in huge chunks, like in the Los Angeles scene from Twenty Twelve. That alone would have caused a tsunami hundreds of feet high, big enough to inundate nearly everything along the Pacific Ocean. Not to mention the refugee crisis resulting from the evacuation of what must have been millions of people from the San Francisco Bay Area. This should have been a Class 1.
- Apocalypse Wow: Guess.
- Badass Biker: You, if you use the dirt bike or, in Apocalypse, the superbike or the chopper.
- Big Dog from Apocalypse specifically.
- Benevolent Architecture: Particularly in Apocalypse: courses are laid out with the anticipation that the active deformation of the world will allow the route to be traversed. Nowhere is this more apparent than the "Skyline" course, which literally uses collapsing buildings (that have yet to collapse until the race starts) as the race surface.
- Car Fu: And then some. It's possible to push rival drivers off cliff edges or into a rock, roll their vehicle over or, by careful use of boost, land on top of them.
- If you're riding bikes or ATV, you can punch other bikes/ATV riders off their vehicle.
- Cool Car: Of course. Ranging from speedy dirtbikes to massive heavyweight trucks (the main gimmick of the game is you can race any of these vehicles against each other at the same time).
- Convection Schmonvection: Driving near lava in Pacific Rift will max out your boost gauge quickly but you're still not harmed by it unless you drive directly into it.
- Disaster Movie: Apocalypse is a Disaster Game.
- Dueling Games: Apocalypse with Split Second, both of which are built heavily around a combination of racing and destruction.
- Early-Bird Cameo: One level of Pacific Rift has you going through a small town that has been destroyed by a volcano, and the "Adrenaline" DLC featured track variants that have been likewise ravaged by lava. Apocalypse escalated that a bit...
- Earthquakes Cause Fissures: Shamelessly used in Apocalypse. Not like we're complaining.
- Fragile Speedster: Dirt bikes and ATVs can zip in and out of tight spaces with ease, and in Arctic Edge they can cross ice bridges... but if they go into the mud, or if a larger vehicle rams them, they're screwed. Rally cars, meanwhile, are the fastest vehicles in the game, but only if they're on relatively smooth terrain. All of the cars introduced in Apocalypse also fit this category.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: How in the world did Sony allow Evolution Studios to name a track in Apocalypse "Good Herb"? And one that takes place in an obvious expy of San Francisco, the hippie capital of the world?
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Whatdya know? Spike Spiegel is an old Badass Biker in Apocalypse.
- In Name Only: Other than being a racing game R.C. has nothing in common with the rest of the franchise, and introduces several new elements that nobody was asking for, including Product Placement, Fake Difficulty, and Camera Screw.
- Lethal Lava Land: The "Fire" tracks in Pacific Rift.
- Loads and Loads of Loading: The first game was rather notorious for this. It wasn't that long if you simply stuck to choosing a track, but other actions such as changing the vehicle model or even the paint job lenghtened it significantly. This was somewhat alleviated in a patch which introduced a 2D menu, but that was only available for online races.
- Jack of All Stats: Both the buggy and the racing truck fill this category.
- Mighty Glacier: Mud pluggers, big rigs, monster trucks (from Pacific Rift onward), and snowcats (in Arctic Edge).
- Nintendo Hard: The games' difficulty ratchets way up once you get past the easy courses in the beginning. It gets to the point that in the final few races, the AI seems less concerned with winning than with wrecking you, over and over and over!
- Nitro Boost: Available ten seconds after the flag drops. Throttling it for too long will cause your vehicle to explode, though.
- No Communities Were Harmed: The city in Apocalypse is, for all intents and purposes, San Francisco, although it's never explicitly named. Also, "The Island" in Pacific Rift is clearly based on Hawaii.
- Over Drive: If a car's boost system is used too much, it will overheat, with explosive results. Starting in Pacific Rift, driving through water (or deep snow in Arctic Edge) will cool it down, while going through fire will cause it to heat up faster (letting go of the throttle when going over a big jump in Apocalypse will do the same thing).
- Private Military Contractors: Dusklite in Apocalypse.
- Running Gag: The debut trailer for each game ends with a biker about to be killed or maimed in some way.
- This is hilariously double subvered with the Apocalypse trailer. The guy is picking up his bike, when another car comes speeding after him. He quickly gets out of the way and breathes a sigh of relief... and then an entire skyscraper starts coming down on him. Dude just can't catch a break!
- Scenery Gorn: Apocalypse, by the ton.
- Scenery Porn: Pacific Rift oh so very much.
- Listen to the orchestral soundtrack in Apocalypse and try not to think of '70s Irwin Allen disaster flicks.
- Also in Apocalypse, there is a chain of fast food restaurants named after David Jaffe, of Twisted Metal and God of War (both Sony franchises) fame.
- From the same game, the penultimate levels of each character's story homage an iconic scene from Twenty Twelve.
- There's also some advertisement banners that have the name Francis Hummel with two torches crossed in the middle in the shape of an X.
- One of the building's in Apocalypse's Skyline level is called the O'Halloran Tower, named after a character from the '70s disaster flick The Towering Inferno.
- Shown Their Work: See All Deserts Have Cacti above.
- Slippy-Slidey Ice World: In Arctic Edge.
- Too Soon: Apocalypse had the misfortune of being released just days after the 2011 Japanese earthquake, and a month after another earthquake in New Zealand. As a result, it saw its release canceled in those two countries, and it was delayed by almost a month in Britain and America for the same reason. While it was released on schedule in Australia, all advertising for it was pulled there, and the country didn't receive any shipments of the game after the first one.
- Updated Re-release: 3D Rift.
- Wreaking Havok: The use of realistic physics is actually important to gameplay and not simply a gimmick, but the death cam sure like to show it off.