Motorstorm: Arctic Edge starts like a Coors Light commercial: The camera follows helicopters as they weave between snow-capped mountains over a pristine white landscape. The helicopters unload their cargo and, instead of six-packs or inappropriately dressed women, its cars and ATVs. Like Coors Light, Arctic Edge is a pale imitation.
The Motorstorm series is known for its vibrant graphics and Arctic Edge, being released on the PS2, can’t compete with its next gen cousins. Even adjusting the curve, the style of Arctic Edge is muted and gray. I would rather drive through the pure snow of the intro than the depressing steelworks and mud look the game goes for. The scant bit of colour that finds its way into the game is neon loud and garish. Crashes are shown in slow motion, a feature seen in the Burnout series, but in those games the slow destruction is a thing of beauty and gives you the chance to crash into competitors. Arctic Edge’s version is neither beautiful nor practical, but a waste of time.
Speaking of crashing: I got a clear lead during a race, but then I crashed. Five times. In any other game I would’ve had to restart. Here I didn’t lose my position. That’s right, five crashes and nobody had managed to pass me. This happened several times. On one stage there was a “challenge” to remain in first place for ten seconds straight. Aren’t challenges supposed to be difficult?
The accelerate button isn’t the standard X button, but rather R1. X is reserved for boosters, which give you a burst of speed, but can explode if overheated. Driving through snow could help with the overheating, but differentiating between which shade of white means ice and which means snow is not a task to be attempted at 100 miles per hour. It didn’t matter though. I’d hold down the X button out of instinct and explode into a fiery (slow motion) wreck. It was okay, though. I’d still be in first.