TGS 06: MotorStorm Hands-On

In the middle of the much-sought-out PlayStation 3 stand, a demo of Sony's forthcoming dirt racer, MotorStorm, was on show. We played through a couple of races to see how it handled.

TOKYO--Right from the start the game is easy to get into. The controls are simple--right trigger is the gas, left trigger is the brake, and X gives you a nitro boost. The rest is just an adrenaline rush of dust, jumps, and wildly bouncing suspension, with the action seen from behind and slightly above the vehicle you're racing.

The level we played was situated atop a rocky outcrop, and although the track was pretty wide, with plenty of scope to choose your own favourite racing line, if you ran out of road you'd fall a long way. There were actually several ways to wipe out--falling off the side was just one. Flipping your vehicle is another, and that can be pretty easy as the terrain gets fairly wild, but your opponents get pretty aggressive, too. It's also possible to overheat your engine and explode that way. Each time you use some boost, your temperature gauge rises. Leave the nitro alone for a while and it'll decrease, but the longer you hold it down, the more effective it is. Let the gauge go all the way to the top, though, and you're in trouble.

Thankfully, if you do wipe out it's not too bad, as you're set back on the track fairly quickly, and while you will lose time to your rivals, you should be able to make that up again within a lap or so. If you crash more than once or twice, though, you'll definitely struggle to win, so it's a race of attrition as much as pure speed.

There are three types of vehicles to choose from, and there were 12 racers involved in the demo level. You can drive dune buggies, 4x4s, or dirt bikes. Each type of vehicle has its own handling characteristics, and these can be both good and bad. For example, the dune buggies are low to the ground and can corner fairly nicely, but they don't seem to take the bumps as well as a 4x4. Bikes are generally quicker, but they're lighter, so they jump higher and tend to slide further, which can be dangerous at times. The 4x4s, on the other hand, take the terrain well and are harder to flip, but don't seem as fast over the ground. The overall effect is that no vehicle type seems to have a big advantage, and you can choose the style that you most enjoy.

Certainly for the four-wheeled vehicles, suspension plays a big part, and you'll find that the direction you take a jump at can have serious repercussions for the next corner. In a way, the racing line becomes three-dimensional, and the bouncing around you'll do as you hit bumps is pretty realistic. It feels like some hard work has gone into the physics engine for this game, and the result is a lot of fun.

As well as having destructible vehicles, some of the scenery can also be taken out. At one point we managed to drive a bike pretty hard into a fence, and of course we wiped out. But the wooden panel also slowly collapsed after the impact, making it possible from then on to take a slightly different line into the corner. This opens up the potential for smashing your opponents into sections of scenery, and then reaping the subsequent benefits, but how far that goes wasn't possible to test.

At one point in the lap there was a choice of routes, and while they didn't diverge massively, the variety was interesting. On the one hand you could take the high road, which demanded a tighter angle but looked safer, while the normal route meant jumping across a chasm. Most of the time it wasn't a problem, but lose momentum or get blocked at a crucial time and you're in some trouble.

Visually, the game is fairly impressive, as you'd expect from a next-generation title. It doesn't have the clean lines of Project Gotham Racing 3, but the motion blurring, dustiness, and shaky camera effects certainly give the game a good sensation of speed, especially when you hit the boost button. The screen always seems pretty busy, and the scenery is fairly detailed, but the frame rate was consistently high with no discernable slowdown.

Because of the noisy conditions of the show it wasn't really possible to hear if there was any music in the game, and while we could hear some of the louder sound effects, that was only for crashes and explosions. We'll fill in more details on Motorstorm nearer its release date; in the meantime, check out our previous coverage of the game.

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Discussion

67 comments
J0rg0
J0rg0

cant wait to try this game, aight!! looks very najs!!:P

Heavenly_King
Heavenly_King

THE GRAPHICS ARE AMAZING, IT LOOKS A LOT BETTER THAN PGR3 !!!!

xbox360istruth
xbox360istruth

Visually, the game is fairly impressive, as you'd expect from a next-generation title. It doesn't have the clean lines of Project Gotham Racing 3 WELL thats just sad.

chiefmegadeth
chiefmegadeth

if it doesn't look as good as pgr3 then thats pretty sad i think

standcm12
standcm12

i cant wait to play thissss =)

Turisman4
Turisman4

Mainly, I'd say MotorStorm is beginning to sag from it's strong first presentations. The graphics have been degraded, and the gameplay looks too Smuggler's Run / MX vs. ATV / ATV Offroad Fury / etc. sort of thing. I can see why people would really like this game, and I'm not saying I hate it, but I'm not a huge fan.

GuitarristAa
GuitarristAa

This is the reason i don`t like PCs. They don`t have fun racing games like this one... only good FPS!

jokinjosh73
jokinjosh73

K1LLSWITCH MotorStorm = Smugglers Run clone? No. The only thing they have in common are some of the vehicles. Other than that they are nothing alike.

Murpheus007
Murpheus007

This one has always been near the top of my list, and this only solidifies it for me. I think this is going to be a launch title, seeing as how it is one of the games listed at 59.99 at the Sony Store. I don't think there is a comprehensive list of definitive launch titles yet, but I'm fairly certain that Motorstorm is one of them.

foxbait95
foxbait95

This game has really come far, this is a must buy for me!

ledgic_13
ledgic_13

i liked smugglers run, especially the open ended world...and yes this does have the smugglers run feel to it, except much much larger.

psymon_05
psymon_05

This is a contender for my #1 PS3, currently running alongside Killzone 2. Or maybe I'll just get both : P Roll on March! Or whenever it's being released..

mark_unix
mark_unix

and Evolution Studios is owned by Sony.

GrimBee
GrimBee

"but the motion blurring, dustiness, and shaky camera effects" Ya see, its prrof that high def doesnt make a game great. Its how the graphics are used. Im excited that this game used realistic effects that work, rather than just go for all out REALISM. For one reason, realism makes a game LESS exciting, if it was real, it would be boring. But its all how the game feels, is presented, and the atmosphere which it brings you in which makes it great. Mostly, from TGS all im hearing is "it looks great, its looking really great, the backgrounds look great". Thats all ..great.. and all, but i want to hear something less predictable. Its nice to hear that this game will give us a challenge rather than perfect high def visuals. Gameplay rules, and its the overall package which makes it worthwhile. And i think that this game will get a higher review than ridge racer 7.

Kn0w0ne
Kn0w0ne

Smugglers bum was kinda amuzing. lol. Lost all amuzment within a couple of days tho. Yes this looks like a version of said title, but aren't all games just newer versions of an older theme. There are really not many new ideas out there at all. The most new ideas i've seen in a game in a long time was Prey (albeit it was really easy). Other than that the list is short. So put some thought into some of these comments. The graphics look great, too bad it's on the PS3. Won't buy one till they work.

Pablo620
Pablo620

jd14 its published by Sony so no, its exclusive

Pablo620
Pablo620

I want. So many games i want. How will i fit it into my life with stupid college. Stupid college. Christmas Break is going to be one in front of the HD TV and my PS3. Now how to take care of the girlfriend

bongsyas_23
bongsyas_23

This game might be considered a rental. It just doesn't live up to the excitement of what the first E3 trailer brought.

SolidFear
SolidFear

Just get the damn $500 version, or wait a little for it. If you want to play it, get it. Simple as that. If you are complaining about the price, which you shouldn't be if you are a true gamer, then suck it up and wait, or get the cheap model.

jd14
jd14

i want this game bt im not gonna buy the ps3 is it gonna m in any other nsole i dont think so

_Sam_
_Sam_

seems enjoyable

K1LLSWITCH
K1LLSWITCH

MotorStorm = Smugglers Run clone?

lewti27
lewti27

This looks like an average game that you could play on the ps2. The physics of the body seem similer to flatout. This is not sparking my need for a ps3.

mrjasler
mrjasler

What a disappointment!! oh man.. this game just looks terrible in comparison to the preview movie they showed at E3 when PS3 was first revealed.. how can you be excited about this??? seriously.... what was innovative about the motorstorm teaser movie was that the camera's made you feel a part of the action.. currently the camera is fixed behind the motorbike which is useless... making the game feel just the same as any other motorbike game? dull and boring.....

joeamis
joeamis

This game is all about the physics and strategy. This is my most wanted PS3 title, I hope it turns out awesome. Anyone remember the original Rally Cross on PS1? (Not the crappy sequel). That game was amazing for it's time, and Motorstorm looks like Rally Cross x 1000!

4esth
4esth

It looks decent but honestly I would expect more from a "super computing next gen HD console". Graphics similar to the Killzone vid and original Motorstorm video that everyone was claiming to be gameplay. If it is all about the gameplay, save some money and just buy a Wii. Otherwise if you are like me and will probably buy a PS3 anyway, I would expect the games to be at the level Sony says it is capable of outputting.

shasam712
shasam712

Motorstorm looks frantice, which is a pretty good quality for a game to have.

grimzeus
grimzeus

Holy Crap, did you see that video of real gameplay footage? I didn't think it was true, but I guess I've got to buy a PS3 too!!

amplizine
amplizine

kamicolo - "An arcade racer with multiple vehicles and a Burnout - ish feel to it...that's my synopsis. Hooray Speed" As long as it's not a Burning Road-ish feel, we should be good. Hardly a functional racing game has come along that has sucked as mush as that one. But this one does look pretty fun, can't wait till I have money!

jokinjosh73
jokinjosh73

DingDongChavez "oh dear sony. Those gameplay videos look nothing like the trailer released when the game was announced. Anyone remember Smugglers Run? It was a similar PS2 launch title and it was crap. Looks like Motorstorm is gonna be the Smugglers Run of the PS3. " Oh dear DingDong. Those comments sound nothing like someone who knows anything. Anyone remember the truth? Smuggler's Run was a fun game and good enough to warrant a sequel and a lot of people enjoyed it. Looks like DingDong is gonna be the retard of the Gamespot boards.

DingDongChavez
DingDongChavez

oh dear sony. Those gameplay videos look nothing like the trailer released when the game was announced. Anyone remember Smugglers Run? It was a similar PS2 launch title and it was crap. Looks like Motorstorm is gonna be the Smugglers Run of the PS3.

WolfSkill5544
WolfSkill5544

Excellent man, bring the game out already Sony.

GMAN32X
GMAN32X

Graphics are nice, but I'm really glad they made an effort to improve the physics.

ricksann
ricksann

thiss game look's nice o-o must buy ! ;D~

TintedChimes
TintedChimes

bike games, hopefully the guy will be black and bruised when I make him fall off on purpose.

amd_fan
amd_fan

Looks like it could be a very good title.

kamicolo
kamicolo

An arcade racer with multiple vehicles and a Burnout - ish feel to it...that's my synopsis. Hooray Speed

jokinjosh73
jokinjosh73

comthitnuong i dont like bike games It isn't a "bike" game.

jokinjosh73
jokinjosh73

Check out the new trailer on the official gamesite! Looks fantastic and it's only 60% done.