When the PS3 launched, it took some time to get its footing. A lot of games weren’t pushing the hardware like we were promised, and PS3 exclusives weren’t even matching 360 titles at the time. Then along came Motorstorm, blasting the doors off everything that came before it.
The first thing you will notice about Motorstorm is that the graphics are amazing. The environments, although repetitive in the aesthetic sense, are beautifully rendered. The vehicles, from the speedy and sleek bike to the hefty get-out-of-my-way big rigs, are modeled so well that the first time I played it I had to pick my jaw up off the floor. It was hard to believe that the developers had made so much progress within a matter of months.
Each and every detail is so well done that you may have problems completing races, since you may get caught up checking everything out. The crashes are breathtaking because when you crash, it sets off a slow motion scene with nuts and bolts flying; each detail so painstakingly done.
Now a game cannot stand on graphics alone, so how’s the gameplay? If you are looking for ultra-realistic gameplay with tight steering and pinpoint accuracy then you should probably look elsewhere. But if you want a fast paced, brutal, bare-knuckle racer where one minute you are narrowly hanging on to the side of a cliff and the next you are exploding over the finish line for a 10-second win, then this is the game for you.
Motorstorm is a fictional race event that takes place in the middle of the desert. Anything goes… if you don’t like that bike cutting you off, run him over. And that rally car pushing your buttons? Bump him off the cliff! In the world of Motorstorm, anything is legal and if you’re not going all out, you Will be left behind.
When you first start Motorstorm, you get to choose an event ticket. Each ticket is labeled by number, and within each ticket there are four races which will set you up on a certain track, and make specific vehicle classes available.
There are a total of seven different classes of vehicles: Bike, ATV, Buggy, Rally Car, Racing Truck, Mudplugger, and Big Rig. All vehicles have their strengths and weaknesses, and once you start racing you will learn these rather quickly. In Motorstorm, there is not just one set path for you to choose. There are usually multiple paths, both high and low. The bikes and rally cars should stick to the high ground and out of the mud, and the big rigs and mudpluggers prefer to be down in the mud.
As well as the arcade mode, you can take your racing online. Race one-on-one with a friend, or with 11 other people who are just as crazy as you. The same rules apply online as they do in the arcade, which is there are none. There is full voice chat which is also a nice feature, so even after you shove your buddy off a cliff, and are driving away, you can still rub it in his face.
Since Motorstorm’s release it has received numerous updates and DLC, from bug fixes to new vehicles and maps. This game has been one of the best-supported games to date, and is reassuring for future releases. The recent 3.0 update brought 2D selection screens during vehicle selection, speeding up load times significantly. The track mirror option is fun as well.
In the way of negatives, there are a few. First is the lack of split screen. It seems that this gen of gaming has really moved away from local multiplayer which is quite a shame, since most of my gaming memories are between me and my brother fighting it out on the same TV.
Another huge negative was the lack of tracks in the original release. It initially shipped with eight tracks and although you can do those mirrored, it doesn’t make up for the lack of content. The DLC does add in extra tracks, but paying for more levels just is not something we should have to do when initial roster is so small.
The other big problem with the game is the load times. While the 3.0 update sped up the vehicle selection screens, the load times for actual races are still excruciatingly long. Sometimes, it can take almost a minute to start up a race. This is not acceptable, and really can slow the pace down.
In closing, Motorstom is simply an astonishing game. The graphics alone should warrant a purchase from most gamers, and probably will. The gameplay is a ton of fun, and although there are some negatives, the positives truly lift this game past those. This was the first game that really showcased the PS3’s power and should be owned by any diehard racing fan.
PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score
Great levels, but not enough of them.
Each vehicle type has clear strengths and weaknesses.