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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Evolution Studios
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-12
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: March 6, 2007
Written By: Matthew Prunty
Screenshots: Link
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One of the first titles to show off the visual and computing power of the Playstation 3 console was a high-impact racing title known t the world as MotorStorm. Within the pre-rendered video clip shown off at E3 2005, gamers and fellow developers got a chance to see mud-crusted racers flooring it through a desert terrain. This video clip was meant to show people what next-generation consoles were capable of, and what Evolution Studios wanted in an intense racer.

It wasn’t until a demo was made available for download after the Playstation 3 console was released last November, when gamers got a real taste of what they can expect from the next-gen title. Media critics downplayed the title at E3 due to the video being pre-rendered and not actual gameplay, but once the demo was made available, all those doubts were silenced.



When I first played MotorStorm, I’ll admit, I thought it was an “ok” game, not really worth my time. The reason why is because most f my life, I have been use to placing racing titles similar to Formula One and Gran Turismo, so I didn’t really see anything interesting about the title beyond its amazing visuals. Once I got my hands on the final build, I had to sit through the game and play it several times before I understand the perspective of Evolution Studios.

To master MotorStorm, you have to spend a good amount of time racing the various tracks and trying out the different vehicles there is to choose from. Within just a couple races, you find out different aspects that determine whether you are a winner or a looser. For myself, I am all about speed, so it took me awhile to realize that I have to know when to slowdown, and when to “push the pedal to the metal”. You will also realize that your vehicle choice is a huge factor in what position you place at the end of the race. An example of this would be if you chose a heavy vehicle for a track with sharp and quick turns. These types of vehicles are harder to slowdown and the handling is poor compared to the ladder, so you run the risk of slipping of the track and landing in a ditch. But there’s no need to worry, you vehicle will be placed back on the track, but you probably just lost a few spots.
Seeing how not everyone likes the same type of vehicles, Evolution incorporated seven styles to choose from. Gamers can choose between BMX Bikes, Rally Cars, ATVs, and my favorite, the Big Rigs. The reason why I love the big rig is because when other drivers are annoying you by not letting you pass; you can simply run them over and just keep on trucking.



I will give it up to Evolution Studios in the since that you will have to invest a lot of time into MotorStorm before you are able to take advantage of everything this title has to offer. In order to play through the various tracks, you must unlock the individual race tickets. Within each race ticket, you will compete within a certain number of races, with a total of 8 tracks to choose from. There are varying routes within each track, to offer a bit of variety to each course, but at the end of the day, trying to acquire 1300+ points within these 8 tracks would try many people’s patience.

Overall, MotorStorm is a rather easy game, which is all about speed and chaos. The only gripe I have with the gameplay mechanics is the lack of extra modes to make this title seem to have more depth and the inclusion of very few tracks.

Evolution, with the help of the Havoc engine, pushes the console to its limits in trying to create a visual immersive environment worthy of the next generation platform. Each and every course within MotorStorm is based on realistic environments filled with vistas, mesas, and dangerous cliffs. While I’m sure many would argue that the landscaping of the various tracks are indeed a big draw, but what it comes down to is the interaction the environment has with the vehicles. Depending on the weather conditions, the dirt and mud can prove to a dangerous alley against your competition. As you drive around tracks, the dirt/mud will fly up, which can obstruct the view of your opponents. But at the same time, the landscaping can work against you. If you loose control of your vehicle, you could wind up rolling your vehicle, causing all types of damage to its body, while at the same time, have various parts fly off.



Similar to San Francisco Rush titles, you have to know when you need to floor the throttle, but know when to ease off the gas. If you push the vehicle to its limits, you will cause a matrix-like sequence to take place. Another small gripe with the cosmetic look of MotorStorm is that no matter how damaged or dirty your vehicle gets, they still have sort of a shining, glazed-covered look to them.

Not every game gets full access to all the resources that Sony has to offer, so Evolution Studios took full advantage of Sony and their music brand, BMG. Since the game is full of fast-paced action, the musical score is packed full of rock music to keep your heart pumping and the action high-paced. You will get a taste of several tracks from artists including the likes of Curve, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Slipknot, Wolfmother, etc. For those gamers who listen to radio stations like K-ROC, which plays predominantly all rock music, a lot of these tracks seem very familiar.

To go along with the intense musical score, the sound effects are over the top. You hear the ferocious roar and rumbling of the engines as you race through the different off-road tracks. Seeing how the vehicles are made to crumble within accidents; when you hit another car or mountain, you seem to share in the intense damage of your vehicles as they give off booming and crunching sounds.



When Japanese gamers got their hands on MotorStorm, they were left without a solid online mode, but SCEA sought to rectify the situation for North American gamers. Though there is are only 8 courses to drive through, Evolution made sure to make full use of the terrain. Just like in the single-player mode, gamers can take part in a 12-man race to see who the best of the best is. The only problem I have with the online setup is the inclusion of the catch-up logic, which when activated, can all allow racers in the back of the pack a chance to catch up, and still have a shot at winning the race.

In the age of internal console storage, you think developers would take advantage of game loading via the hard drive. With MotorStorm, the entire game is loaded from the Blue-Ray disc, thus causing some long load times when you are trying to pick your vehicles and hit the tracks.

Overall
There is no denying the fact that this is one of the most beautiful looking titles to grace the Playstation 3 console since its release last November. For those gamers looking for intense, over-the-top action, you will find it within this title. For those gamers who are looking for an in-depth racing title, full of unlockables, racing tracks, etc., this title falls a bit short. Since this is the age of downloads, maybe Evolution and SCEA can add to the overall experience in the future, but only time will tell.



For racing enthusiasts, they will spend most of their time within the online multiplayer primarily because this title’s fun factor is increased ten fold when competing against some other than the A.I. That’s not a bad thing though, racing titles are generally multiplayer heavens, but one thing is clear; if you do indeed get your hand son this title, you will enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

8.7/10

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