MotorStorm: Demo Review


MotorStorm is being readied for a February 2007 launch; quite a long time away. However, PlayStation 3 owners are able to get a first glimpse at how this game is coming along via a downloadable demo available on the PlayStation Network. This demo has a lot to say about the state of the game and upcoming PlayStation 3 launch titles.

The demo, being around 300 megabytes in size, takes a while to download via wireless connection but is relatively quick to install onto the hard drive. The demo contains two different types of vehicles; trucks and bikes. The trucks don’t seem to have as much acceleration as the bikes and are hulking masses of metal, so are less agile than the bikes. However, the trucks’ mass becomes an advantage when you feel like bullying other racers into, say, a wall. The bike is lacking in this area and is more easily susceptible to being smashed up but its small size and agility can get it out of a tight spot if it were to ever occur.

A lot of graphical detail was put into the level and the racers. The level itself is a mountainous, desert sort of environment, similar to that of the Grand Canyon. The cars and bikes leave well-defined tracks in the dirt as they drive across it and kick up dirt that can block other racers’ view as well. The racing is fast-paced and intense. There are lots of mistakes to be made the first couple times through the race, however, they’re not necessarily negative. Crashes are some of the most spectacular things in this demo. When a vehicle wrecks from an impact with a wall, other racer, or some other object, the vehicle becomes a pawn of physics as the force of the impact sends what appears to be all the parts of the vehicle into the air, with the vehicle itself exploding and either flying into the air as well or coming to a stop, with the latter being much more exciting. Time slows down when the player’s car crashes so the moment can be felt by all those viewing it. The game can also be paused at this point and the camera spun around with the right analog stick to view all angles of destruction. Zoom can be used with the left analog stick. However, the most satisfying crashes are the ones you inflict upon other racers or the ones they inflict upon themselves.

There are some minor negatives with this demo, such as the ability to only choose either a truck or bike and the restriction to one level. The grass that is found throughout the level are made up of two-dimensional sprites rather than three-dimensional objects, which takes some slight realism away from the game, but is painfully noticable only when the camera is spinned around while the game is paused.

It is worth mentioning that the MotorStorm demo available to PlayStation 3 owners is significantly different than the one available on PlayStation 3 kiosks found in stores. The downloadable one is improved over the kiosk version, with framerate and clipping issues fixed but lacks the ability to swap cars before the beginning of a race (limiting the amount of vehicles available).

While it is just a demo, it is quite promising and sets the bar high for its launch in North America early next year.