MotorStorm: Apocalypse Preview
It’s the apocalypse. Sh** is happening. No city can withstand the upheaval and everything is coming down. This is the setting for your latest MotorStorm excursion; the atmosphere alone should be more than enough to pique your interest. We’ll also get a few new vehicles – including a superbike – and the coup de grace: destructible environments that lead to constantly shifting racetracks. The latter will require continual adaptation and should keep the game from getting repetitive. After debuting some gameplay at E3 last year, developer Evolution Studios has been working to deliver a singularly over-the-top racing experience that grabs you from the start and never lets go. With a heavy amount of flash and panache, MotorStorm: Apocalypse looks to be highly entertaining.
Most of the tracks were inspired by real-world locations on the West Coast, and especially the San Francisco Bay Area. Therefore, if you’re familiar with that spot, you might notice some similarities when trying to survive the harrowing circuits. Some of you might be thinking: “but won’t it all be urban? Won’t all the tracks just blend together like a maze of city streets?” To answer, it’s not a good idea to think of this game as “urban” – that word has Need for Speed implications – but more of an “urban off-roader,” where there likely won’t be a stretch of solid road for more than a few hundred feet. With so much rubble and debris, it won’t be that much different than flying around dirt paths in random forests. On top of which, you’ll absolutely need vehicles that can handle the task; i.e., hummers, dirt bikes, ATVs, etc.
And don’t worry about variety when it comes to tracks. A crumbling metropolis has a lot to offer, you know. You might be racing through subway tunnels or sewers, or you might be blasting through what used to be quaint little residential neighborhoods. You’ve got shipping yards – it’s a coastal city, after all – that will tax you to the limit, rooftops that are about as unstable as can be, and the downtown area, where all that remains is an endless stream of junk and debris. In addition to 3D support that will make this dynamic atmosphere all the more effective, Evolution is tossing in a few other fresh features as well: there’s the new Photo Mode, which can “capture gameplay images in high resolution,” and a whole new assortment of taunts and gestures. See, you have to have a bit of an attitude to fit in with the crazy crowd. They have also stated that we can expect a slew of post-release content so our experience never gets old.
As for the multiplayer, the game will boast four-player split-screen local play as well as an invigorating 16-player online mode. Custom loadouts will even be included; we’re quite familiar with the concept in shooters but in racers…? You’ll be able to equip up to three perks before you head out to battle your human opponents, and those perks will have a direct impact on your performance. There’s one that speeds up resurrection time after a crash, and another that allows boost to recharge faster. The bottom line is that MotorStorm: Apocalypse should be a darn fine title that’s worthy of your attention. Some may not like the new setting but we just gotta say: it looks totally intense, and you might change your mind once you give it a whirl. You’ll get your chance when the game arrives on April 12…or maybe earlier when/if they produce a demo.
2/22/2011 Ben Dutka