By Dan Zuccarelli . March 13, 2007 . 2:46pm
For me there really hasn’t been much worth playing on the PS3 since it launched. I killed some time with Resistance: Fall of Man but I got bored with it about halfway through and never finished. Motorstorm was the first game to along since that actually interested me, though I wasn’t sold on the game at all at first.
The downloadable demo bored me to tears; the "action" was so slow that I honestly thought there was something wrong with my system. I listened to people online and in person rave about the game so I kept playing the demo, trying for the life of me to figure out what the heck I was missing. As time went by I had read on Kotaku that the speed issues from the demo had been resolved and gameplay footage seemed to confirm it. So when the game launched I decided to take a chance. I was warming up to my PS3 purchase since GDC and figured if I traded in a game or two I could pick up Motorstorm on the cheap. So how did I fare?
First thing I’ll mention are the graphics, they look flat out incredible. I’m not one to gush over graphics, since they don’t add to gameplay at all and to me aren’t as important as other factors, it’s hard to deny the hyper-realistic look of the game. Eventually that becomes a problem but I’ll get to that in a moment.
The gameplay modes are limited (only career and online) but in the beginning I didn’t really notice. I jumped in and began the career mode, which works a lot like Burnout. As you race through events you’ll open up new events, so on and so forth. The game takes place in Monument Valley in Arizona, so the game is all about the dry, rocky desert racing.
So I dive right in, pick a dune buggy and get into the action. With 12 vehicles per race, and vehicles of all shapes and sizes occupying the track together, it makes for sheer craziness at the start. But after 20-30 seconds we all get spread out enough that we’re not driving all over each other, and I get my first taste of driving in the game. The car feels like it’s driving over dirt and rock. My suspension buclkes and bounces over the terrain and I take my first turn… to quickly. I get sideways, roll, and flip right off the canyon wall. My car explodes into a million pieces in slow motion.
Luckily this is one of those games where like magic I’m put right back onto the track, without a scratch on me. This is a good thing since I’ll go flying off a cliff about 5 more times during the race. Yet somehow I’m never really out of contention, this game is a true arcade-style racer. After coming in 5th I try again, this time placing 1st since I now know those blind spots that lead towards certain doom. The next few races kind of blend together though I’m forced to use a few of the other vehicles including ATVs, Mud Pluggers, and Big Rigs. I place in the top 3 each time.
I figure out early that I dig the Mud Pluggers the most, because this game is at its peak when you’re tearing through the mud. And with real time deformation of the terrain it’s gets better with each lap. This is also a case where the graphics really excel. You can see the rifts and ridges cut into the mud, and drive accordingly. It’s just a blast.
But after a few hours the limitations of the game began to creep in. There are only 8 tracks and they’re all desert off-road. At first it’s no big deal but there’s really not enough variety to keep your attention for the long haul (at least it doesn’t seem like it). It looks they decided to spend all their time making one location look fantastic than add in any other locales.
Luckily for me I’ve gotten better at the game since my first cliff diving fiasco. Although the game has of way to testing the twisting pressure of the SIXAXIS; there were times when I was ready to throw the controller out the window. There’s nothing more frustrating in a racing game than to run a perfect race for 2 and a half out of 3 laps, only to be bumped from behind into a rock and end up coming in dead last.