We've been awe-stricken for quite some time now, drooling at the idea of a vehicle smashing into hundreds of different parts after being swept off the road (or cliff) by another vehicle, that which could be possibly classed with fewer wheels than your current rig. SCEA has teamed up with Evolution studios to produce just that, and its proving to be the most promising action racer to be coming to the market. We recently had a chance to play a well polished demo of MotorStorm at the Sony PlayStation 3 Launch event in Toronto, and it was more than enough to reiterate the feeling behind watching the trailers.
This brutal, no-holds-barred off-road racer is a PS3 exclusive, and while racing through the desert lands of "Monument Valley", you'll have to jump and dodge, slide and cringe as you compete against dirt bikes, ATV's, cars, and trucks not only in a race to win, but also to survive. MotorStorm uses the PS3's power to its advantage, boasting 360 degree damage and crashes that not only show the body of the car crinkling and separating, but the brake pads, springs, tires, and windows all playing along in a frenzy of airborne parts. Tracks will vary in depth on each lap, based on how much your opponents rip up the track, making the racing experience fresh on every go. Real time audio effects will place you in the driver seat, having reverbs and echoing based on your location. They've ultimately thought of everything, and it shows.
The playable demo featured the same track as that in the trailer, a short cliff side wasteland filled with metal scraps and wood piles, creating an awesome atmosphere out of very little. The A.I. was quite smart, and the physics engine was incredible, slowing the crashes down (always the possibility of skipping it) for you to see it in its glory, different every time based on the variables of impact. The controls were simple to pick up and play, but the game was still fun and challenging even with only a single short level. I simply stood back and watched as others took stage, giving the demo a shot. There was always something to look at, whether it be the amazing desert environment, the spray of the sand (on the screen in first person view), or of course the amazingly detailed models of each vehicle, each handling, reacting, and crashing in different ways. The environment itself wasn't all that destructible, but as it was situated on a cliff side and was very short, I'm sure the levels to ensue beyond the demo will produce a better crop to reap. Although taking out your opponents will never lose its glamour and multiplayer racing will surely be a hit, especially if we end up seeing additional mini-games.
Being able to switch between the vehicles in the final build will surely separate the men from the boys in MotorStorm, but I'm sure they'll achieve it well. With such a solid physics engine in place, there's little room for error. The story, if any, will bring some additive, but content is the real concern; hopefully which Evolution is hard to work on, getting it ready for its release in the first quarter of 2007.
MotorStorm is the definition of next-gen arcade racing, and I'll be sure to be checking in on it regularly, thus persuading me to get you to do the same. Drool over the trailer some more, and be sure to check out our review upon its release.