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News - MotorStorm

PS3ís Motorstorm Reviewed by PCN
Posted on March 9, 2007 by Charles Weichselbaum


The storm has finally arrived. Developed by Evolution Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment, Motorstorm represents one of the many games to showcase the Playstation 3 prior to its release. Not only was it a true testament to the visual capabilities of the PS3, but its managed to deliver excellence on nearly all fronts. How did the finalized version compare to what we saw prior to its launch? PCN delves into Sony’s off-road racer for the Playstation 3.

The story behind Motorstorm is quite simple. Motorstorm is a large festival that attracts thousands for a week of racing, anarchy, and raucous music. Think of it as Woodstock , but with mud and off road vehicles. There really is no story to Motorstorm, yet there are rarely any stories to a racing game of this genre.

The main mode, “Play Mode”, is a single player campaign where you attempt to win a series of events and races scattered across Monument Valley, Arizona . The simplicity to the Play Mode is almost equivalent to what the story has to offer, which is very minimal. Play Mode features multiple tickets that spread across four different levels of difficulty. When you begin your game, only three tickets will be available. Within each ticket are races. Sometimes a ticket will have four races that you will have to compete in while some may only have one. In order to unlock more tickets, you will have to get within the top three in each race to qualify for new races to participate in. 

Apart from unlocking new races, you will be able to gain brand new vehicles that you will be able to put to your disposal as you see fit. Unfortunately, most of the races that you join will already have a predetermined vehicle that you can use, so don’t assume that you can use any of the vehicles on any map in Motorstorm. Rarely, you will come across a race where they give you the liberty of choosing, but don’t expect this luxury often.

One troubling aspect of Motorstorm is the lack of courses and maps. There are only eight maps. Obviously the player will get the feeling of replaying a level multiple times, but this certainly has its advantages during online play, but we will get to that momentarily. 

Evolution Studios made some fantastic courses, but they were made in only one direction so that players will not be able to race through a track in the opposite direction, which would add to replay value. It could have been more than feasible to pack in a few more maps thanks to Blu-Ray technology, but we are stuck with 8 maps that become all too dull after about an hour or two.

Quality always comes before quantity however. Though there are few courses, they are some of the best crafted and ingenious maps ever conceived on a console racer. Jumps, mud, rocks, dust, dirt, you name it. When it comes to Motorstorm, there is not a single fallacy in the creative and innovative development of these courses. Each map will have you finding new routes and alternate paths to navigate through. 

This is where Motorstorm truly shines. Each map consistently keeps you guessing. The outcome of the race depends on which path you take. Be it the fastest route, or the safest, there will always be a road for you to fallow. Not only that, but the environments have been crafted to beautiful and realistic landscapes that will truly keep the player enticed. The way they managed to incorporate such beauty into a rough and tough racer like this may seem ironic, but are strikingly beautiful and astonishing. There may be few maps, but each one is memorable enough to keep the player coming back for more, just to try out alternate routes and witness the hidden beauty to off road racing.

What would Motorstorm be if you didn’t have a vehicle? Motorstorm has seven different classes of vehicles. First are the MX bikes which are lightweight, agile, and thin. Similar to the bikes, are ATV’s, yet are much heavier, thus making them slower. Apart from these two classes of vehicles, the player can use Buggies, Rally Cars, Racing Trucks, Mudpluggers, and even Big Rigs. Each class of vehicle has varied strengths and weaknesses. If you are driving a bike or an ATV, you will most likely want to stick to the higher and thinner roads. If you are on a truck or a mudplugger however, you will want to stick to lower and muddier terrain for maximum performance. The best thing about the vehicles and how they each can benefit from all of the maps is that any vehicle type can win. It all comes down to which you are most comfortable with and which path or road is best for you and your vehicle. Each class of vehicle has five distinct cars of its type.

Apart from this, there are multiple vinyls and paint jobs that you can customize your car with. The great thing about the paint jobs for the vehicles is that they are all unique and can make the same car look like an entirely different vehicle altogether. Unfortunately, the cars in a class all seem to perform equally, so they are merely skins. The vehicles of each class handle and drive as you would expect them to and graphically, they look fantastic.

The game manages to control well also. You use your R2 to accelerate and L1 to brake. The way the Sixaxis was developed, the R2 and L2 buttons act as triggers rather than buttons, so it actually feels like you are driving a real car to a certain degree. The learning curve is not based on the control scheme, but how you manage on each course.

One thing is certain in Motorstorm; your car will occasionally get wrecked. The crashes in Motorstorm certainly put those found in Flatout to shame. Crashing shows tiny bits of debris and metal fly off of your car in slow motion. You can actually watch individual pieces of your car fly off of your vehicle as it rolls down a cliff side. 

Even better, you can pause your game whilst in a crash and rotate the camera to see the expression on your racers face as he falls to his ultimate and fiery death. Physics in this game are certainly some of the best in this genre of gaming and even outside of this genre.

Another cool feature to Motorstorm, which is actually the only feature other than single player and online multiplayer, is the extras. 

Evolution put in various clips and advertisements of the game such as commercials and the development process to making Motorstorm. Surprisingly, some of these videos are fun to watch and looking at the concept artwork is intriguing just to see how they incorporated the finalized levels off of each piece of artwork. It may not be much, but the extra features that were tossed in add some value to the ever growing and hefty price tag of games today.

Last, but certainly not least, is the online multiplayer mode. Initially, this was a little confusing since you don’t join a ranked or custom game type that many online players may be used to. 

Instead, you join a game that was created by a fellow online racer. Due to this, it takes a long time getting into a game simply because you have to rely on a human to start a game rather than a CPU for organizing and starting the game. The trick is to join a game with only one person in it so that you don’t have to wait for a group to finish a race and you can jump right in. This will make your online experience much more enjoyable. When a host begins a race, everyone in the lobby will be presented with a vehicle selection screen where you are enabled to pick what class and car you will race with. The host has the option to take some classes of vehicles out of the game, so be weary. Also, Motorstorm supports headset chat which enables you to talk as much smack as you please. Even better, people who don’t have a microphone can hear you through their television set as you talk them into oblivion. As you progress through online races, you are given a rank, or fame as they call it in Motorstorm. There are a total of 9 ranks altogether, with zero being the worst and God being the best. Each player will obtain points based on their performance in a race. The points that are received are directly based upon completing the race successfully and the finish position that was achieved by the racer. Motorstorm, at a glance, is quaint and simple online, but over time as more people buy the game and the developers update it with new patches, it will become all the more appealing to fans of online racing games. We just wish that split screen multiplayer and a buddy list came with this finalized version.

Motorstorm is undoubtedly one of the best games out on the Playstation 3 as of right now. It provides gamers with a fun and addicting single player experience, while delivering a rich online mode. The true flaws here are the lack of maps and possibly a split screen multiplayer feature, but aside from these flaws, Motorstorm lives up to the promise of a lifelike off-road game. We hope to see more from Evolution Studios through updates or perhaps downloadable cars or maps on the Playstation Store. Nonetheless, Motorstorm is a must buy for that growing library of great Playstation 3 exclusives.

Presentation: 6

Graphics: 9

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 9

Multiplayer: 8.5

Overall: 8.1 

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Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: Evolution Studios
Genre: Racing
ESRB: Teen
Release: 2007-03-06
Wished: 0
PCN Rating: 8.0


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