MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Preview
MotorStorm made a big impact for the PlayStation 3, as it ended up becoming one of the best selling PlayStation 3 games of 2007. It's been over a year since we saw the first game, but it continues to impress with its stunning visuals, great physics, and active online fanbase. While MotorStorm debuted with a few shortcomings, feeling a bit barren in gameplay modes, Sony has made up for all of that overtime with a variety of patches that truly made the game a package worthy of its $60 price-tag. Now, Sony and Evolution Studios are gearing up to complete and release the follow-up later this year, and it's looking amazing.
The MotorStorm festival returns, but this time has taken shape in an all new locale in the Pacific. This locale is an island, and that means lush greens, crystal-clear waters, and an overall color palette that'll really deliver the eye-candy. This locale is a stark difference to that of the original game's sandy-brown racing environment, so the visuals of MotorStorm 2 definitely have me excited.
Arguably MotorStorm's biggest appeal has been its online component, as it continues to bring in a considerable amount of gamers day in and day out. For this follow-up, expect nothing less. MotorStorm 2 will boast online that is capable of holding 20-player matches, in addition to four-player split-screen racing. Races can be separated by class, or mixed with all class of vehicles playable. PlayStation Network features will include matchmaking, detailed statistics, and leaderboards. Furthermore, downloadable content such as tracks, vehicles, game modes, themes, and tickets will be made available in the future, as well.
Gameplay will take place across 16 of the island's tracks, all complete with multiple routes for the gamer to take advantage of. Track deformation will return as a staple of each race, as vehicles will carve up the terrain with various depths, largely pending on the size and weight of the vehicle. Carved roads will affect how the gamer handles the track with each lap, as smaller vehicles (such as bikes) will have a harder time driving through the carve-out of a big rig. On the subject of physics, the damage model will allow for the destruction of your vehicle's parts and panel.
A monster truck class will be made available to MotorStorm 2, in addition to the existing classes of ATVs, rally cars, buggies, motorbikes, race trucks, mudpluggers, and big rigs. Racing the A.I., no matter which class you're a part of, will require skill and a bit of fury, as their artificial intelligence has been tweaked. The A.I. will now react to the situation of the race, by rationally choosing the best route, and adjusting their level of aggression based on the gamer's advances. For example, if an A.I. player is in the lead, it is far less likely to take a daring time-saving route and will instead play it safe to maintain the lead. Aggression will come into play when the A.I. feels threatened, and they will not hold back when it comes down to start playing bumper cars.
Finally, Evolution has implemented a pair of features for everyone to toy around with; first there's the Photo Mode, you'll be able to snap gameplay pictures, save them, and use as wallpaper for your PC or PlayStation 3. Second, and best of all, we get custom soundtracks! So stock up on adrenaline pumping metal on your PS3's HDD and then listen to it during gameplay.
Unless something goes horrifically wrong, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift is bound to please. With an enhanced graphics engine that's already looking to treat the eyes, expect only great things from the second MotorStorm game when it launches in Fall of 2008.
6/19/2008 Arnold Katayev