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MotorStorm was Sony's other flagship racing video game series, developed by Evolution Studios. Basically, take Burnout and put 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.

There has been five games in the series before it went dormant in 2012:

  • MotorStormnote  (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.
    • Shortly afterwards, a Complete Edition was released on PAL territories later in 2007: it contains all DLCs and updates on-disc.
  • 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.
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  • 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): 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 the filmographies of 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): 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.
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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.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Atlas Earthquake from Pacific Rift, oh so much. An absolutely ginormous Monster Truck awarded for 100% Completion (though a random glitch can also unlock it) made from a haul truck. All cool, until you actually use it and it's massive frame makes it impossible to take any shortcut, while being outright useless on tracks like Sugar Rush. Also, when the camera is acting up, often you won't even be able to see around the thing.
  • 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.
  • Big Badass Rig: It's a class. Exceptionally badass ones include the Molotov Drago, notable for being an awesome looking Game Breaker, and the Atlas Arizona, a decked-out school bus that wouldn't look out of place in The Road Warrior.
  • Brand X: due to the kind of game it is, all of the cars are unlicensed, but they're still given names as if they were real cars.
  • 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, with their own pros and cons.
  • Concept Art Gallery: Can be found under the Extras menu in Pacific Rift, with more artwork becoming available as you progress through the game.
  • 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.
  • Dash Attack: Pacific Rift introduced the ability to ram to either side with the L1/R1 buttons with all classes at the cost of some boost. Bikes and ATVs are exempt, thoughnote . That said, it can also give the heavier classes an edge in agility if you instead use the dash to go faster through sharp corners.
    • Apocalypse, oddly, sets all bike (we mean dirt, choppers and superbikes) and ATV classes to use the side-shifting ramming from their heavier brethren, instead of the punching mechanism.
  • Disaster Movie: Apocalypse is a Disaster Game.
  • Distanced from Current Events: 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.
  • Dueling Games:
    • Apocalypse with Split/Second (2010), both of which are built heavily around a combination of racing and environmental destruction.
    • The first game dueled with Excite Truck on the Wii.
  • Earthquakes Cause Fissures: Used throughout Apocalypse; whenever an earthquake occurs as part of an Incident you can bet there's going to be a massive crack in the ground. These can, in turn, topple buildings, break bridges, and create new routes.
  • Foreshadowing: One level of Pacific Rift has you going through a small town that had been destroyed by a volcano some time ago, and the "Adrenaline" DLC featured "Volcanic" variants of vanilla tracks that have been likewise ravaged by lava - except you are racing minutes since the disaster started. Apocalypse escalated that a bit...
  • Flipping the Bird: Drivers will occasionally do this as a taunt or reaction, such as in Pacific Rift; check out what the driver does when you taunt in a Big Rig, for example.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Market-Based Title: Two installments changed subtitles to numbers, as Pacific Rift and Apocalypse became II and 3 in Japan, respectively. Arctic Edge was instead changed to Raging Ice.
  • Mighty Glacier: Mudpluggers, big rigs, monster trucks (from Pacific Rift onwards), 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 10 seconds (5 in Apocalypse) 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.
  • Overdrive: 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 (letting go of the throttle when going over a big jump in Apocalypse will do the same thing), while going close to a fire source will cause it to heat up faster.
  • 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!
  • Shout-Out:
    • Several vehicles, including the Humbler Diablo and Patriot V8, as well as many of the customization options in Apocalypse, resemble the type of machines you'd see in a Mad Max or Death Race film.
    • Other referential vehicles include the Atlas Governor, a reference to Franchise/Terminator and it's star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
    • 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 2012.
    • 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.
  • Model Museum: In Pacific Rift, the Vehicle Viewer in the Garage allows you to admire your chosen vehicle and livery in a tame environment. You can freely rotate the camera around them, zoom in and out to study their details, rev their engines, and view your driver's taunt animation (with a beep of the horn, where applicable)
  • Slippy-Slidey Ice World: The vast majority of tracks in Arctic Edge are this, being covered in snow and low-friction ice. This frequently plays into the track design, such as through fragile ice bridges only lighter vehicles can cross and being able to cause avalanches by laying on your horn.
  • Taunt Button: Present in Pacific Rift by pressing square; this will cause your driver to perform an animation and, when in a car, lay on the horn. Note that this doesn't have an actual gameplay effect aside from messing with other players.
  • Temporary Online Content: Didn't get the online-only trophies prior to the shutdown of the Motorstorm servers? Too bad, those trophies are permanently unattainable. Even worse, some vehicle unlocks are tied to online-only trophies; didn't unlock your Wombat Beachmasternote  in Pacific Rift by playing enough online matches? That's gone, too, among many othersnote . Note that the vehicles still exist in the game, however - you just can't drive them outside of local multiplayernote .
    • Subverted with some vehicles; by downloading the free livery packs, certain models that were usually only attainable through online-only achievements can be used, albeit only with the DLC livery.
    • Even worse with the Italia Tauromachia from Apocalypse, a very special Supercar model only given to a handful of players by the developers themselves, with no legitimate ways of attaining it outside of that.
    • There was also the Italia Torquemada from Apocalypse, though this was only avaiable as downloadable content for a short period of time before being permanently delisted from the PS Store.
    • With Apocalypse's online being shut down, you can't either unlock new customization parts and cars (save for those in the DLC packs), rendering the customization mode almost entirely pointless.
  • Time Trial: There's a time attack mode where you can see how fast you can complete a lap in each of the vehicles. The boost meter is reset at the end of each lap, allowing for quick repeated attempts.
  • Updated Re-release: 3D Rift, which is a minimalist version of Pacific Rift with a handful of vehicles, tracks, no trophies but 3D support. It's essentially a paid tech demo for 3D.
  • Wacky Racing: If the Dakar Rally was hosted by the Jackass Crew with help from the Nitro Circus and Crusty Demons, you have your average Motorstorm Festival.
  • 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.

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