by Chris Scott
previewed on PS3
When Motorstorm hit the Playstation 3 in March of 2007 it was generally regarded as a technological marvel that was a blast to play but far too shallow for a full retail product. Despite the shallow experience, Playstation gamers were so starved for gameplay of any kind that Motorstorm became a runaway success. It is surely no surprise that Sony and developer Evolution Studios would want to make a sequel. However, unlike when Motorstorm was released the Playstation isn’t flourishing as a console anymore and has more than a few racing options available. Motorstorm: Pacific Rift will have to offer more than a fun, yet shallow gaming experience.
Fortunately it seems like Evolution Studios have taken almost all of the complaints of the original game as constructive criticism. They refined the model for a much more expansive experience while sticking to the arcade formula of both speed and destruction. One of the biggest changes is the game’s location. Moving from the desert setting of the first game to an all new lush Pacific island in this one. Each track will have multiple terrains that are best suited for different types of vehicles and tracks. Like the volcano are sure to challenge problems for boost fiends as the added heat of the lava will force your car to overheat quicker. The new setting should certainly pose challenges for all players, even the most hardened of Motorstorm veterans.
Ready to race?
In addition to the new scenery, an all new car class has also been added to the game, bringing the total to eight. The new one is big, it is bad and it is an Monster Truck. They add an entirely new gameplay dynamic to the scene, although just like all the other vehicles in Motorstorm, it is balanced almost perfectly. The Monster Truck has terrible acceleration and a wretched top speed but it is all put into balance by the sheer brute force of it. Nothing is going to stand in the way of this monster as it can plow through everything, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.
While taking out computer controlled opponents is fun, it is always more fun to be destroying real live human opponents. Pacific Rift offers a couple of ways for players to take on friends (or complete strangers for that matter). One of them is a four-player split screen. It is nice to see that even in this age of online gaming some developers are still looking out for advocates of local multiplayer and still including the option for split screen play. Despite the split screen play it cannot be denied that the game truly excels in the area of online play. The original game featured 12 player online races, Pacific Rift doubles the ante, promising 24. The game was pure mayhem with 12 players, so it is going to be interesting to see how 24 player races pan out.
With all the big improvements to the game it wouldn’t be hard to imagine that the fine details and minor features would get the short end of the stick but Evolution Studios is adding a host of little things that they hope will make Pacific Rift an entirely more enjoyable experience. They are adding in Free Play, a mode where you can race however you want by creating your own ticket, an all new photo mode where players will be able to take screenshots of their favorite moments and share them online, and they have also refined the Rating System and Leaderboards to have a greater emphasis on performance, rather than pure wins.
Motorstorm: Pacific Rift has a whole lot to live up to but it looks like Evolution Studios have taken everything into account. They are set to deliver another hit. Playstation 3 owners will be able to hit the rift on the 28th of October.