MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Hands-On: Monster Trucks and Split-Screen

We kicked up dust in a brand new version of the PlayStation 3 racing game.

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While MotorStorm may have been a brand new franchise for Sony, it became one of the PlayStation 3's first big sellers and effectively set itself up as the PS3's premier arcade racing series. The inevitable sequel is now nearly with us, and it's shaping up well since we first saw it a few months ago. As the Pacific Rift subtitle indicates, this is a fundamental shift from the dusty canyons of the original to the more foliage-covered landscape of a tropical island. We recently managed to get an extensive play of the build shown at E3, which allowed us to sample the new two-player mode, as well as race the game's monster trucks for the first time.

The E3 demo came with two tracks, one that could be played in single-player and one in split-screen two-player. The single-player track was called Cascade Falls, which took place through a lush green forest and featured three vehicles--a bike, a jeep and the all-new monster truck. Like its predecessor, Pacific Rift features winding, multiroute tracks, with different terrain that suits certain vehicles over others. Players of the first game will know that larger vehicles tend to fare better in mud than bikes and buggies, so while the monster truck handles quite sluggishly, it can more than cope as long as you take the right course through the track.

So how is the new monster truck to race? Well, it's annoyingly sluggish to begin with, offering poor acceleration and a low top speed. But as with the previous MotorStorm, all of the vehicles are balanced, and the monster truck excels at being able to destroy pretty much anything that gets in its way. Bikes, buggies, and jeeps become playthings next to the pure muscle of the monster truck; thus, a simple flick will send anything else flying off into whatever obstacle lies at the side of the track. As for the bike--it may still be as painfully vulnerable as before, but it's fast and easy to maneuver. The buggy is perhaps the perfect mix of skills for the beginner because it's tough enough to survive small impacts but small and light enough to reach a high speed.

MotorStorm's still a very tough game, and we failed to finish in a podium position the majority of times we played. Developer Evolution Studios has always been proud of its AI, so the computer-controlled opponents are just as cunning and ruthless as they were before. Occasionally, the game creates the sort of mayhem that's shown in the game's many trailers, with bikes, buggies, and trucks fighting it out all around as you attempt to navigate safe passage. Unfortunately, though, it's incredibly easy to crash your vehicle into a number of different roadside obstacles, such as rocks, cliffs and trees, as well as such new ones as vines that slow you down.

Pacific Rift will feature four-player split-screen in the finished game, and the demo allowed us to try the two-player split-screen mode. Technically, the game doesn't struggle to run two players at full speed while retaining the detail, and we certainly didn't encounter any slowdown or drops in the 30 frames per second frame rate. The two-player track was less vegetated than the single-player track and feels more man-made than Cascade Falls. This is thanks to a number of ramps and jumps that join the mountains and cliff tops. It's a challenging little track, with plenty of opportunities to drop off a cliff and fall into oblivion. In fact, some of the jumps are so big that you'll stay in midair for three seconds at a time.

Like its predecessor, Pacific Rift is all about speed and destructibility. The game might not have fundamentally changed, but the environments and new vehicles do a lot to add to the great racing engine underneath. MotorStorm has also progressed incredibly well in the few months since we saw it at the London PlayStation Day, with a much smoother frame rate, as well as more detail on both the vehicles and the environment. The game is tantalisingly close to its October 7 release date, and we hold out hope that we'll see more of it before release. We'll bring you more news and impressions as we get them. In the meantime, be sure to check out the video footage taken from our E3 demo.

Discussion

108 comments
powerframe8
powerframe8

split screen may be old school, but if my friends are over id like to have a game to play with them, thanks.

gummy_joe
gummy_joe

The first motorstorm featured True Next generation Graphics no matter what you play it on, and second of all apart from the fact that the split screen was on the other end of the block The original was just plain fun with the degree of destruction you can inflict on racers, enviroment and self. Long story short, this is going to be great

jacky531
jacky531

[This message was deleted at the request of the original poster]

jacky531
jacky531

can't wait till this game comes out... So tempted to play it!!!

koneko1991
koneko1991

chad giac, you'r such a n00b, what are they suposed to do?? And yeah, this game is a buy for me!!:D

daniel_maharaj
daniel_maharaj

i hope this this game is not as disappointing when it comes to split screen racing. i loved the first game and would have loved it more if it had this feature. look'in forward to this game. LONG LIVE THE PS3 for all u haters

chad_giac
chad_giac

lol split screen is oldschool

ps3wizard45
ps3wizard45

loved the first one definetly gonna get the sequel .

maddogcollins
maddogcollins

Pacific Rift will feature four-player split-screen in the finished game, and the demo allowed us to try the two-player split-screen mode. If it comes out w/4 player split screen it is a definate buy. They promised 4 person on Unreal and not even 2 player split acreen came out. I would go out and buy the first one if it had a patch for split screen.

other44
other44

finally a 4p game...

Generalmojo
Generalmojo

ur right there im looking forward to the 4 player mode so my bros can chill at the same time lol

Alpha-Foxtrot
Alpha-Foxtrot

One of the things that annoyed me about the first one was there wasn't a splitscreen mode. I hope that the splitscreen mode is good.

bandarman
bandarman

This game just keeps getting better and better. I still wonder how come SONY never created much hype for the sequel to their # 1 seller (until MGS4 came). It was just that I woke up one morning and found out that MOTORSTORM 2 is coming in October. Whoa, I would be glad if SONY doesn't delay this one.

OMGitsZAL
OMGitsZAL

I can get Gears on my PC and for Halo? After hearing my friends complaining about it, I would give it a miss. :/ This looks awesome, MotorStorm online was excellent and fun and I can't wait to play this!

foggy08
foggy08

looks better than the first

ejstrup
ejstrup

Man, I love Motorstorm. With splitscreen this should be awesome :D

RaiKageRyu
RaiKageRyu

I wonder if Gamespot will host a tournament of this? And if they do, will it be as controversial as before?

NinjaMunkey01
NinjaMunkey01

wow. 4 player splitscreen!!! not many racers can do that. This is the one racer I can enjoy, its brilliant. And whenever a friend comes round they cant get enough of the game. The only problem with it was the lack of splitscreen and now that had been fixed this game will be awsome!

mastiffchild
mastiffchild

Motorstorm is one of those games you take for granted(possibly cos the first came in so many of our bundles)but I still fire up the disc and head online to look for the best races, even now. The sequel looks like being just as mad andestructive as before but is a really pretty environmant. More 'Storm-huzzah!

rachkovsky
rachkovsky

I played the original at my friend's house! This one will have an updated engine! Looking forward to my friend getting it!

Thewbacca
Thewbacca

I'm not ussually a fan of racing games, but if you pass up a chance for monster trucks crushing smaller ones in a race, and exploding cars then you have obviously lost all touch with whats awesome.

itwiz90
itwiz90

This one will be a rental, not much of a fan. I like off-road racers :p

Shinedown220
Shinedown220

Looking very promising. I hope after release they take the time to patch Trophies into the original Motorstorm.

kingdavid92
kingdavid92

i didnt liked the first motorstorm as it only had 8 tracks and was a bit "samey" so im renting it

king-of-blades
king-of-blades

I'm glad split screen is finally being brought in. I'm tired of racing games that don't integrate this, as for me, it's the most fun part of any racing game. I may be a computer geek (though i prefer the term enthusiast lol), but I have friends round too sometimes! so thanks for split-screen SCEE. Oh, and PaulDVS, ever heard of Gears Of War on PC? Because only playing it on your, ahem, Xbox (three CPU cores and DVD technology is just funny now), you're missing out- "All of that great stuff is now available on the PC, on which the game looks better than it ever did on the Xbox 360, and without sacrificing anything in the process. If you've never played Gears of War, or if you just haven't played it in a while, do yourself a favor and try this new version of the game." PC over XBOX. And bring on Motorstorm for my PS3, which I go nowhere without :).

Temple-C
Temple-C

I hope towers and stuff can get knocked down.

tiamat555
tiamat555

I was going to buy the original but I think I will save my pennies for this one. I hope they give the Monster Truck a little more speed before it comes out and put in a lot of different modes and tracks. Between this, Little Big Planet and Resistance 2 I'll be broke before Christmas. Better start eating less.

Soul-gamer
Soul-gamer

Four Player split screen cool, Now all i need is three more Gamepads

Dualmask
Dualmask

There are plenty of great games on PS3 that aren't on 360 also. Folklore, Heavenly Sword, Uncharted, MGS4, just to name a few. It's a double edged sword, picking one console or the other...but it shouldn't be. Personally, I don't care much about exclusivity. The three games I currently own for PS3...Skate, Soul Calibur IV and Lost Planet, are all multi-plat. On topic, it looks like the game is coming along nicely. I liked the original enough, but without offline multiplayer, the fun was limited (especially since I'm not a big fan of online gaming anyway). Glad to know this one's going to rectify that problem...with four players no less. And here I thought 4-player split screen was a dying breed in today's game industry.

PaulDVS
PaulDVS

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

shaun_mcwayne
shaun_mcwayne

why do people always say "great its a ps3 excusive" who cares just as long as the game is good. i hate people who want excusive games, it just sounds selfish to me. i feel sorry for ps3 cos its missed out in some of the best games, gears and halo, i wish ps3 fanboys got the chance to play these games to have as much fun as i have playing them.

compugraphic
compugraphic

This should sell amazingly well, as the original was a fantastic game but only laking local multiplayer as it's one major flaw, other then that the dynamic is very origanal and fun!

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

You had me at "Four Player Split Screen" *faint*

TXMostWanted
TXMostWanted

You had me at "Four Player Split Screen" *faint*

malachi_27
malachi_27

MotorStorm wasn't really all that different from other racers in the genre, but it was fun, challenging, and exciting. The thing is, it was short, and you couldn't race your friends. Hopefully the sequel with fix those shortcomings.

Guljigit92
Guljigit92

Nice Pacific Rift is going to be a great game from what i read and saw.

blancobo
blancobo

I am very psyched about this game. I found the original a great challenge and an awesome experience. The game has plenty of replay value and the AI makes for a great tough challenge. Drivers are reallistically harder every other new challenge and the environments are awesome. The combination of alternatives in every new circuit makes it an original reallistic challenge between various types of vehicles. I hope this one exceeds the previous game's awesome scenery and muddy environments.

Dernholm
Dernholm

The first game was actually one of the best Racing games I've tried. Even though it were few levels, the gameplay was so great that it didn't matter. Best racing games: Top Gear - Gran Turismo 2 - SEGA Rally 2 - Motorstorm

KING_KEV_321
KING_KEV_321

it looks betta than pure an more vehicles, seems 2 have more tracks 2

Red_26
Red_26

its either this or pure Both look incredible