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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

More Like Storm of Tears?

I was playing MotorStorm: Apocalypse on the PlayStation 3 earlier this evening and for what was supposed to be a thrilling experience ended up being a surprisingly depressing event. It's not depressing because the gameplay is bad: it's depressing because of the whole concept of the game. Just like the first two entries, Apocalypse is about a group of adrenaline junkies who love racing in exotic, rough terrains while driving a variety of vehicle types. This time around though, the "MotorStorm" festival is being held at "The City" that is being evacuated due to it being ravaged by violent earthquakes.

The psychological horror game of the year?

This may sound really exciting and all because we get to drive through apocalyptic-looking racing tracks but the ways in which this game delivers this experience bring about a heavier implication to the entire scenario. As you are racing through the city, you will encounter three different groups of people: those who are there to watch the festival, rioters who are taking advantage of the chaos, and what seems to be innocent people just fleeing from the entire madness. The whole idea of having people gathering around a city crumbling into the ocean, being destroyed by nature in itself is highly disturbing and to see it actually happening in front of you is a very strange sensation indeed. Sure, it's video game and it's fantasy but I couldn't get away from the emotional resonance of such realizations. The game also has this really offbeat, epic soundtrack and when you add that to the horrifying structural devastation that occurs as you race around the tracks, instead of feeling awed by these incredible sights, I was feeling sad. To think that it must have taken years for the entire city to be built only to have it being decimated by the forces of nature so easily. One particularly haunting sight happened when I was traveling down a ravine with a train track built over it. All of a sudden, a burning train sped across the suspended track into some uncertain doom. Yes, this is surely the most tragic racing game ever made. I never thought that something of that sort could ever be accomplished. And yes, it is actually possible to run over people if they just happen to be on the racing track. Intentionally or accidentally. Sometimes their bodies get stuck to your vehicle too. No blood, just emotional scars...

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