MotorStorm Preview (PS3)

Imagine you're in an off-road racing tournament with no rules other than to be the first to cross the finish line. Now imagine flying 50-60 feet in the air for each jump, flying off of cliffs and respawning after watching your vehicle get totally trashed. That is MotorStorm.

Developer Evolution Studios has created a violent, gritty racing game, but without the guns or rocket launchers. And though racing is not really a violent sport, if your opponents throw their cars at you and force you into a wall at 75 mph, you will explode in a fiery death. In fact, not dying in this game would be miraculous, if at all possible.

But in MotorStorm, due out in February, that isn't a problem. The respawn system is set so that during your slow motion demise, you are given a point to start again, other than where you actually were prior to flying off a cliff. In many cases, I've ended up far ahead of where I was, and even ahead of those who drove by, laughing at my crash. Strategically committing suicide will boost your performance in MotorStorm. Is this what we need to teach out children?

One of the coolest features of the demo though was the ability to use the SIXAXIS controller without the buttons or analog sticks, but rather by turning it. Though it took some getting used to, there is much more immersion when you have to turn the controller like a wheel.

However, there was no sensitivity setting for it, and though driving the car wasn't too hard, the motorcycle was incredibly difficult to control at slow speeds. A slight turn after starting a race or respawning will bounce you hard in that direction, and the more you try to gain control, the worse it gets. Of course, switching between the two is no hassle.

Something else with using the SIXAXIS was that it occasionally hiccupped. Driving straight until suddenly turning in a random direction without having turned. Recovering is nearly impossible too, so expect to crash. This same problem occurred several times playing the Wii, and was easily corrected by readjusting the sensitivity. Which, of course, is not possible here.

One thing that was claimed during the showing was that each terrain type would have a different driving experience. If this is true, then playing different maps would be a great experience. Unfortunately, it is still only a claim as only one map is available.

There wasn't much to see from the demo at all. The map looked generic and wasn't necessarily the most graphically stunning for a racing game. PGR3 was almost equal in that respect, and Need for Speed: Carbon is equal. MotorStorm does not represent the PS3 as strong as it should for what the console is capable for, but itís questionable whether they are able to do better at the moment.
Something else very annoying was not being able to skip the Ďcinematicí sequences, a la explosions. If you fall off a cliff, crash your car, or blow up in some other way, thereíll be a 3-5 second delay in the race, which isnít so bad at first. But after doing 3-5 consecutive cliff jumpings, it gets very annoying. With no way to skip it, after the third time it gets old very fast.

This is not the type of game that can be expected to sell well. It simply is not that fun, and has so many flaws that itís difficult to even take the game seriously. On top of that, the graphics, which have been downgraded since E3,  are nothing special. Whatever happened to that spectacular demo at E3 didnít come back as anything worthwhile.