MotorStorm: Apocalypse Hands-On Preview

What sort of racing tracks can you expect from the end of the world? We've got your answer, plus some bonus multiplayer details.

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As you've probably gathered from the title, MotorStorm: Apocalypse takes place at that very moment when Earth has decided it would very much like to just call it a day. It's not exactly what you would call an uplifting setting. Buildings are falling apart, the sky is choking on smoke, and the streets are filled with rubble and crazed lunatics running around with no shirts on. No, it's not a happy place…at least if you're not a racecar driver.

But as luck would have it, the apocalypse is a pretty all-right place if you're into racing overpowered super cars for sport. That's what developer Evolution Studios is out to prove with this latest entry in this PlayStation-exclusive off-road racing franchise. The game was first introduced back at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, giving us a quick taste of what sort of mayhem is in store for the game. But tonight Sony has been kind enough to give us a look at a truckload of new tracks as well as the chance to go hands-on with the online multiplayer component.

The big theme with the tracks is that they're all inspired by locations on the West Coast of the United States, particularly the San Francisco Bay Area. In other words, right near the San Andreas fault line that will one day pull GameSpot's San Francisco offices right into the ocean. So that's a cheery thought. At any rate, here are the five tracks we played tonight:

Mainline: This track shows off the subterranean racing potential in Apocalypse, giving you the chance to tear through drainage canals, subway tunnels, and underground metro stations. It's a track on which you can go from tight tunnels right into an expansive outdoor plaza where a building is about to topple down right on top of you. In other words, nice and varied.

Upper Bohemia: This track recalls San Francisco's scenic residential neighborhoods with its abundance of Victorian houses and green parks. The only problem is that the streets are filled with fiery wreckage, and crazed loons are darting in front of your cars at random.

Docklands: This is the gritty industrial track of the bunch, taking place in a flooded shipping yard filled with oil spills and overturned freighters. Clearly the burning oil hasn't done the sky any favors, because it's a brown and gloomy ceiling above you.

Boardwalk: You'd think this would be the lone cheery track in the game, since it's set in a seaside resort town complete with a titular boardwalk and various amusement park rides. But when you add in the torrential downpour, flooding, and demolished docks, suddenly it's not such a pleasant vacation destination. At least it makes for fun racing, though.

Downtown: This is perhaps the most straightforward track of the lot. It's a relatively short circuit with fewer branching paths than the others we played, meaning pileups and collisions are a much more frequent occurrence. It's set in the skyscraper-filled financial district section of the game's San Francisco-inspired city.

As you can tell, the move to an urban environment has hardly produced a collection of tracks that feel like "City Streets A," "City Streets B," and so on. It's a nice, varied collection of circuits that manage to feel pretty distinct from one another.

Now, on to the multiplayer. The game offers four-player split-screen local play, as well as 16-player online. One of the more interesting parts of online racing is the inclusion of perks custom loadouts. No, you haven't suddenly found yourself reading a Call of Duty article--we're still talking about MotorStorm here. Before an online race, you can equip up to three perks that affect your performance in various ways. There's one that cuts your reset time in half after a crash, one that increases your tire grip levels, one that lets your boost cool down much faster, and one that lets you ram players with a smaller boost penalty--just to name a few.

Don't worry, that bridge was just for decoration anyway.

In our experience, we found the perk that cuts your reset time in half especially useful the first few times we raced a track, but as we got to know its ins and outs, we found it less necessary and began to favor perks that had a more aggressive approach. No matter your perks of choice, though, it's definitely a neat feature.

MotorStorm: Apocalypse is looking like a worthy successor to what has thus far been a critically acclaimed series of off-road racers. Even though the franchise is now moving onto roads--and rooftops, and docks, and more--it looks like that pedigree is still holding up. You can expect to see the game released on April 12.

Discussion

53 comments
reputated
reputated

i am buying a new ps3 bundled with this game. hope its awesome

REALpyrodark
REALpyrodark

Motorstorm: PR was the reason I got a PS3, and I've never regretted it, for awhile it was my only game for it. I foresee an even mixture of fun and frustration, but that's usually the formula for Motorstorm. Absolutely owning this ASAP.

Aderdunn_3
Aderdunn_3

@parkurtommo But Artic Edge didn't released on PS3...maybe that's why I forgot it....

discusthrower
discusthrower

@DaneGamer it would be a great world if all of that happened

parkurtommo
parkurtommo

@Aderdunn_3 It's actually the fourth installment, dont forget about arctic edge

parkurtommo
parkurtommo

Does this mean that you will be running over lunatics? That sounds fun! :P It looks a bit more cinamatic, in the gameplay that was shown shows a part where the camera zooms in on an area of the tunnel that is collapsing, that sounds alot like split second. I hope they can keep it similiar to the previous games, especially pr, that was really fun. BTW: How many classes are there?

DEATH775
DEATH775

I hope this one is the best one in the series

franzito
franzito

I liked race games better when I was a teen. Today, I prefer to watch than play it.

Deathstalker83
Deathstalker83

I'm going to pre-order this. It's looking Totally Awesome !!!!!!!

Videowsgames
Videowsgames

Game looks tight...This game looks like alot of fun I can't wait to get my hands on this game...

wars45
wars45

loved 1 2 was rock but i cant wait for this

RAMDAS_666
RAMDAS_666

Let the Earth Quake, let the tires burn, let the chaos unfurl, Bit(h here i come... I Push, i stride, i drift, i glide... Bit(h wen i come out to play, the Apocalypse is nigh.... This game's gonna be fun...

julgamespot1
julgamespot1

Pacific Rift was great. Loveeed it. Was much better then Burnout: Paradise (which was a good game). Haven't played the original. But i'm really looking forward to this one.

gokuofheaven
gokuofheaven

Should be worth every penny, love the first 2!

Aderdunn_3
Aderdunn_3

The 3rd game of the Motorstorm series looks very promising...

napoleon357
napoleon357

I wasn't even thinking about this game until I got a 3D TV.

Kaneticut
Kaneticut

I really like the first one, i don't have Pacific Rift. This one looks really good! have to get it!

warhawk-geeby
warhawk-geeby

Motorstorm 1 was brilliant, my favourite launch title for the PS3, Motorstorm 2 always seemed to punish you for choosing the motorbikes which annoyed me.. This however I am now definately getting. After seeing the trailers a while back I thought it looked a bit too hectic and was 'steering' away from the whole racing thing.. However after seeing actual gameplay I am sold. Hot dang day 1 :D

EbeneezerGoode
EbeneezerGoode

What's an 'uthquake' ;) anyway, these are my favourite racers on PS3 and reason alone to own one. Nothing on 360 came close (before it died).

Rajiv_psn
Rajiv_psn

I'm geting surprises ever since I bought my PS3 .

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

nice....look forward to this one! ^_^

IdolConverge
IdolConverge

I love how this series keeps evolving (no pun intended), it's really nice seeing sequels that are actually different from past games.

ClevBeast
ClevBeast

I found Motorstorm 1 & 2 a bit tough, so don't know if i'm willing to go through it all again. Like the sound of it though so 50/50 at the mo

jodudeit
jodudeit

It is times like this where I really loathe platform exclusives. Regardless, a combination of over the top arcade and off-road racing is a sure sign of a good time! Better than Bud-Lite!

Redhand7
Redhand7

well to bad PGR just closed their WHOLE company...so now its just forza :P

Toplinkar
Toplinkar

I foresee mayhem and destruction. And I like what I'm seeing!

Ex-DarkBlade
Ex-DarkBlade

@trywizard, please don't troll in the wrong place.

dsfl
dsfl

The best thing to do instead of being a fanboy is own both consoles (like me) and enjoy all the best games

trywizard
trywizard

any way forza is better than gran and i think project gotham is really good so 360 is good at racing 2 :P

Amir29
Amir29

Is it just me or do these cars all look like they're made by Tyco? :P

Gamebit257
Gamebit257

@stealth2142 @chtgamer - orly??I would lose my Killzone 3,InFamous 2,Motorstom Apocalypse,Uncharted 3 by a broken 3RL'ed console??? FORGET...PS3 TILL MY DEATH!

benboz
benboz

This looks fun and better than the past motorstorm games.

Sablicious
Sablicious

Good, casual, substance-devoid, arcade racing fun.

Sablicious
Sablicious

Good, casual, substance-devoid, arcade racing fun.

willpak
willpak

Xbots don't deserve this game. MWAHAHAHAHA

Johny_47
Johny_47

I'm looking forward to this very much, looks brilliant and I hope you can do a jump or something and smash into a helicopter bringing it out of the sky =) 'Don't worry, that bridge was just for decoration anyways' hahaha, I'm sure alot of stuff will just be for decoration when you race through it, poor architects and builders =/ @stealth2142 & chtgamer NO! get a PS3 =P

Kratos_Kills
Kratos_Kills

I'll wait for this one. Unless the game wont be glitched, Evolution should say they will fix the glitches especially in online races. MS: PR is beyond terrible, I enjoyed its single player alot but online is not fun because of glitches/cheats whatever you call...

blancobo
blancobo

Every iteration of the series has done something to improve on the variety and feel. The first one was all about the pretty mud and the demanding AI. Only seven racing circuits with various routes that would result successful or not depending on the vehicle used. The second one put the pretty into the series and the tropical as well. I do think Arctic Edge could have been a great PS3 hit but still played it in my PSP for quite a while. This third installment though not really off road... still keeps the offroad feel, there are no rules principle due to the apocalypse environments. awesome!

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

I thought Pacific rift was a huge improvement over the original PS3 Motorstorm. Besides the essential addition of split-screen, the handling was MUCH better. It was still floaty, which is intentional, to give it the sliding/crashing/crazy jumping Motorstorm feel (because let's face it, cool as it is, semi-trucks just can't get that much air). However, the first one was like racing a pogo-stick on the moon. In Pacific Rift, you could still jump a buggy hundreds of feet, but it didn't keep bouncing hundreds of feet after that. I'd love it if they continued to tweak the physics in that direction, crazy, but more realistic and controllable.

ElFlechero
ElFlechero

@kiraburu There are no weapons/powerups, so, hopefully that answers your question. You can ram the other players with boost, or if you're on a bike/ATV, you can give other bikers a nice punch to the face, which is awesome, but it takes really good timing to pull off.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@kiraburu It seemed pretty racing-focused when I played, but then again I didn't really play much Pacific Rift so I can only compare it to the original game.

shaunmc
shaunmc moderator staff

@gamenerd15 But there are two Ls in llama!

yxw
yxw

This will be my next purchase for sure .... Hope the online is as good as the first one