Motorstorm was without doubt the most anticipated PS3 launch title and considering the videos Sony were releasing it was no wonder – but will it live up to its hype?

Looking and playing the game you have to realise this isn’t so much a game, but more a demo of what the PS3 is capable of right now and hot damn it looks like the future is bright for the PS3. It looks absolutely mind-blowing and when it comes to the racing, the quick paced, non-stop action feels just perfect. Its one of those rare games where you’re on the final lap with just two corners left and you take the lead as your heart thuds away inside your chest and suddently your rally car over-steers off the cliff edge into oblivion – DAMMIT! You cannot describe just how amazing it feels to play this game.

Game mode wise there isn’t a great deal on offer. You have two modes; the first is simply entitled ‘Play’ which is in essence a career mode where you must go through race after race using the games various vehicles and keep going until you’ve unlocked every game ticket and car. There isn’t a great deal of depth to this mode and after about ten or fifteen races you start to get that feeling of same old, same old.

Another nagging thing is the fact the game features a catch-up system for the computer racers; you can lead a three lap race, crash on the final corner and get beaten by the Big Rig that should be three minutes behind you. Then again looking at it another way it does add to the excitement as you will take that final corner with so much more carefully just to avoid giving away a much deserved win.

Motorstorms multiplayer, however, is a different story. Sadly, there is no offline multiplayer (which is a bit of a bitch if I’m honest) but the online multiplayer despite being the same old races with the same old cars just feels so much better to play. There is no lag and the action if anything feels that little bit more tense and a tad bit quicker compared to the single player mode.

There is also a ranking system, sadly it’s a shame it doesn’t show how many first, second and third places you got and instead only shows your wins. Which means you could play in thirty races come second in all thirty and yet look worse than someone who comes last in twenty nine races and first in one.

There are quite a few vehicles on offer – all of them vary ever so slightly and will affect your routes once the race starts. You have the bikes which are very nippy, quick of the mark and you can even punch off other bikers and ATV drivers, but once you hit some loose mud that’s it you’ll be sliding into the nearest mud mound within seconds. ATV’s are again very nippy and very responsive in terms of handling, but again on mud they do tend to veer off to the side.

Rally Cars are the fastest vehicles, but much like the bikes you’ll find yourself taking the longest routes just to avoid the unsteady terrain, if you hit one mound or pothole that’s it the car will take flight. Buggies are similar to the rally car but what they lose in speed they gain in their ability to go over rough terrain and the same is said for racing trucks.

The two big boys are the mudpluggers which as you can tell by the name take to the muddy routes with imperative ease and then there’s the Big Rigs. The Big Rigs are slow and indeed have a turning circle of two limousines stuck together trying to get out of a suburban cul-de-sac. Then again it’s extremely fun watching as your Big Rig hits one of the opponents ATV’s or bikes and seeing the resulting explosion.

Next up is the tracks and there are sadly only eight of them which is a shame it would have been nice to have a little bit more variety. The upside is the fact that the eight tracks look unbelievably good and the layouts of each track are just beautiful. There are countless shortcuts and it’s your job to memorise the best shortcuts for the various vehicles. You’ll be dreaming of those turns which can save you a few seconds or that jump which will help you get the edge over your opponent. What also adds to the game is the various boulders, jumps, cliff edges, dips and channels scattered around the tracks where you will end up smashing your shiny new vehicle into little itty bitty pieces.

Graphically the game looks absolutely phenomenal – the vehicles are beautifully crafted from the wheel nuts to the roll cages and it shows just what the PS3 can do even now with its FIRST-Generation titles. As mentioned earlier the tracks are made to perfection, every turn, every abandoned shack, every mud slide all look awe-inspiring. Even looking into the distance the games background looks pretty damn remarkable. The only slight fault with the graphics is the shadows do seem a tad fuzzy and also I noticed on a couple of occasions that when you crash your lifeless body looks like it has no anti-aliasing.

The games animation is another part of the game that will leave you gob smacked. This is best seen when you crash. Not only do the explosions look remarkably intense but watching your body flying through the air and hitting the nearest rock almost makes you want to crash again and again and again. Also the vehicle parts, once they break off, don’t simply fade through the map, if you watch with say a bike crash you can sometimes see in the screen one of the destroyed wheels carry on rolling over the bumps and potholes in the track..

Of course it doesn’t stop there as the games audio adds to the non-stop action. The various vehicle sounds are all unique, from the grumbling bikes to the moaning and groaning Big Rigs – it all comes out just right. Also the various track textures are perfectly resembled on the game including the slippy mud through to the hard gravel.

Overall this is one hell of a game for the PS3 to begin with. Sure it’s not got a huge selection of tracks or game modes but its £10 cheaper than a full price PS3 game and the online portion of the game is simply to die for. It looks stunning, the vehicles, the maps, the backgrounds – just about everything – look perfect and considering this is only a first-generation game it really is amazing to see just how graphically superior this game is compared to other racing titles. If you don’t have PSN then you may fare better spending your money on another game, but if you have online capabilities, Motorstorm is an absolute must.

Originally Written By: Lee Matthews

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