There’s some Planet of the Apes-level irony behind the bumper-to-bumper release of Motorstorm: Arctic Edge and the long-awaited PSP version of Gran Turismo. It’s like Kanye West sharing a microphone with Susan Boyle: on the one hand, the elderly epitome of automotive realism, swaddled in manufacturer logos; on the other, a racer whose idea of subtlety is seeing the paint flake when your skidding back-end haymakers some poor sap into a gorge.
Motorstorm is a glorious, glorious mess, the nearest thing the HD era has to a Mario Kart, and if this sub-zero iteration lacks the scale of its PS3 brethren it’s still as mad as a hatter. You’ll be cutting a graceful line through a hard corner, enjoying the hard-earned solitude of second place, only to get whipped in the flank by a four-strong domino-tumble of Big Rigs, dog-piling you up against the outer wall. Or steering a Big Rig yourself through the initial scrum, pounding rally cars flat before they can mount a getaway.
Evolution subsidiary BigBig Studios has had to hem in its 12 track layouts to fit the UMD (and also, perhaps, to reflect the reduction to eight drivers per race) but those tracks are still multiple-elevation, multiple-surface, multiple-hazard monsters. Tried and tested bipolar Motorstorm logic presides over the vehicle selection: bikes, trikes and other insects take the higher routes, with their frictionless stretches of toughened ice and rock, the brutes in the menagerie aim for the sludgy lowland plateaus and basins, and middleweights try to make their minds up before somebody cuts them off or wipes them out. That logic is never more than provisional, of course, and in the highly likely event of violent congestion you’ll find it pays to bypass your vehicle’s comfort zone.