MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Hands-On

We go split-screen in a monster truck, as Sony shows off a playable version of its MotorStorm sequel for the first time.


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MotorStorm may have been a brand-new franchise for Sony's PlayStation 3, but developer Evolution managed to make a flat-out success of its simple formula for destruction. In another bold move, the developer has decided to ditch the dusty environment that made the first game so iconic, in favour of a brand-new tropical island setting. This time, Evolution has taken inspiration from the islands of Hawaii, where volcanoes, waterfalls, and crumbling cliffs will act as all-new hazards for the vehicles, which now include monster trucks. We grabbed the development team at the London PlayStation Day to talk more about the game and to take our first hands-on with it in solo and multiplayer modes.

Still early in development, the version of MotorStorm: Pacific Rift that we played was purportedly around 40 percent complete. That means it was a little rough around the edges. But the basic elements of the game were in place, and the proposed third-quarter 2008 release date allows plenty of time for polish. The two tracks we got to play were Beachcomber, which is a single-player level, and Ringod Spires, which is a multiplayer level loosely based on a track from the first game. Both circuits showed off the new environmental additions to the game, such as vines and branches that can take out players on bikes and buggies. Another new addition is water, which can both slow you down and help you cool down your engine. Just like in the first MotorStorm, you can use a boost button to speed up, but if overuse it, your engine will explode. If you take a little dip in the water, though, you can cool your engine down quickly.

Although the first game offered online play, many owners complained about the lack of a split-screen mode. This has been addressed in Pacific Rift, and the developers have been almost overzealous by allowing up to four players to share a screen. Of course, there will still be online multiplayer for those who are connected to the Internet, and all of the 16 tracks in the finished product will be playable in multiplayer. Since new tracks were released for the first MotorStorm, there's a good chance the sequel will also be expanded upon, but with 16 in total, that's double the number that shipped with the debut MotorStorm.

Also new to the game is the action button, which has been mapped to the square button on the Sixaxis and the DualShock 3. By pressing square and pushing left or right on the analogue stick, you can jerk suddenly to one side and knock an opponent into whatever object lies at the side of the track. This is beneficial if you're in a big vehicle, such as the monster truck we were playing in, and you're attacking a smaller opponent on a bike. However, this move uses up boost, and its sudden jerky movement can cause you to overcompensate when righting yourself on the track. The bikes, ATVs, rear-wheel-drive buggies, rally cars, racing trucks, and mudpluggers will all make a return, and those who want to go on a bike will have a whole new selection of insults to choose from on the triangle button.

Developer Evolution has stuck to the proven sound from the original MotorStorm and has included a Pendulum track in the sequel, this time in the form of a track called "Tarantula." However, you can also now create custom soundtracks and import them into the game, allowing for the first time the possibility of smashing opponents off the road while accompanied by a soothing jazz mix. Evolution also promises to emphasise hero and villain characteristics in some of your opponents. Some will be more aggressive and forgo such necessities as helmets and padding. The developers have also incorporated new animations into racing, so you'll see opponents abandoning their vehicles and scrambling across the track or getting visibly frustrated if you knock them off their bikes.

It looks as though Evolution has really listened to the fans of the first game when building MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, and it has done well to incorporate split-screen, custom soundtracks, and double the number of tracks for the sequel. We're sure to see more of the game in the run up to the Q3 2008 release, so keep an eye on GameSpot to find out more news as we get it.

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Avatar image for Sherwinb

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

Avatar image for bustap949

This has one crucial thing the first lacked...multiplayer! thats gonna be the bomb. I hope they shorten the maps and the number of race cards. The first game was too long and each race took like 20 minutes for the longer courses.

Avatar image for Shadowdog42684

I'm really looking forward to this game! I loved the first one, and this one seems like it could be much better!

Avatar image for Aven9186

Can't wait to go online and bash my friends into the wall.

Avatar image for bringndaheat08

looks pretty nice. ambulcous, mass effect can easily rival this hands down. wait for gears 2 as well. the graphics in the trailer are much richer and it doesnt consist of gray and dark gray, like the first one.

Avatar image for jackrocks123

suppose gonna have to stretch my bank account but nopt before i get Metal Gear Solid 4!! a lot of games are becoming ps3 exclusive and taken off 360.

Avatar image for amulbocus

360 has nothing to compete with this, not graphically anyway.

Avatar image for robje15

who dis looks good and fun to play with my friends ill definitely going to buy this one

Avatar image for razgriz_101

looking good lets hope they make it an even better game even though the first one is really good.

Avatar image for pride_of_84

sony has got almost TOO many awsome games coming out this year. oh well, i guess i'll just quit my job..

Avatar image for Generic_Dude

Motorstorm was a pretty cool game, but I found that I got bored of it really quickly due to all the levels having the same theme. I'm not sure why we can just have a Monument Valley level, a Pacific Rift level, maybe an ice level, whatever... there's more to a well-rounded track selection than the shape of the curves IMO... and that's why I traded my copy of Motorstorm in.

Avatar image for Gameboy2k

Radddddddd. I just hope that woman doesnt get crushed by the bigfoot at the end of the official trailer for this game.

Avatar image for pepsiboy987

graphics are just WOW.. ps3 is really coming on-top!

Avatar image for muscled_arbiter

FINALLY! Sony is listening to us (well, guys like me) who like to not only PLAY ONLINE but when a friend or brother comes by the house they get to play with me again... FINALLY! I guess the Nintendo Wii did manage to make the other two wake up and not forget that gamers have real live friends too!

Avatar image for FrankenLife

One thing that I would really like to see done with DLC and sequels is the use of maps. The map pack downloaded for the first game can easily be recognized by the sequel, therefore allowing for more maps to be used, and for the company to sell more map packs. Does this not make sense?

Avatar image for splodge200

obikka practice makes perfect.

Avatar image for ObiKKa

I played the demo, and it was impossibly difficult to win a race, let alone to try to get a good place above last place, and I've seen EVERY other guy try to race faster yet they lag seriously behind! It was an unfair learning curve. I did made copious use of the nitrous boost, but it didn't help much. Are they going to fix this this time, well,... let's see...

Avatar image for westsiderz28

not sure about the change to a paradise island, racing on those massive cliffs in the 1st game was very appealing plus thers more emphasis on destruction which changes the gameplay dramaticaly. i will have to wait and see how this one turns out. unsure!!

Avatar image for ZEX7589

2 ArguZ: Split-screen is vertical. You can check it out at the second last paragraph here: << LINK REMOVED >> I'm counting the days now.

Avatar image for ArguZ

SPLIT-SCREEN FTW ! But I really really hope it will be vertical. Horizontal is so 80s and really not suited for modern 16:9 displays

Avatar image for Maersyndel

I liked the first, but found it was a bit of a shallow efort in some ways....this looks to remedy that quite nicely. I'm actually looking forward to this game now. :)

Avatar image for patrickkkk

there will be plenty of dirt and mud to drive through, but instead of a desert theme you got a pretty tropical theme =D

Avatar image for woofie13

more tracks and multi!!!!!!!!! the 2 things I wanted! :) YAY, I feel loved!

Avatar image for maggamuffin

These titles are looking pretty sweet seems like I'll be getting motorstorm, gt5, metal gear, resistance, killzone 2 and little big planet. Seriously how can people say 360 has better exclusives?

Avatar image for ResEvilFreak

Don't worry mate I'm sure there will be plenty of mud and dirt in MotorStorm:Pacific Rift[MotorStorm 2]just as the first one had as well as double the amount of chaos. I'm deeply looking forward to the second MotorStorm as the first is still my favourite racing car game and trust me I've played tons of them over the past ten years. :]

Avatar image for cod4frk

Man......I had come to love the dust flying up in your face like the sands of time hitting agaist the very bowels of your time traveling ship........sorry fantasy moment, but I swear they shoulda stuck with dirt

Avatar image for markx2475

I Can't wait!! i loved teh first one, but after i finished it and got bored with Online it wasn't more fun.. dunno why :P i hope it is a good game Let the Demo come!! :D

Avatar image for nextgenisps3

OMG amazing, best destrctible racing game ever!! :D cant wait!!

Avatar image for silence790

Oh my goodness! I want a demo! :D

Avatar image for heaven_weapon

Motor Storm Donkey Kong's Jungle, coming soon

Avatar image for NanoElite666

The whole "drive through the water to cool down the engine" thing seems like a neat idea, and I'm glad that they're adding local multiplayer to this game. But I am extremely excited about the custom soundtrack feature. I always thought that driving through the desert like a maniac in the first game would be a little better with some Slayer blasting in the background, and now it looks like I'll be able to tear up the jungle to it instead. :D

Avatar image for killpop13

every time i hear something about this game it makes me want it more and more because i did not just rush out and buy the last one it makes me want to rush out and buy this one

Avatar image for OatmealKing

omg cant wait....1080p is a must for these luscious tropical islands.....question is....will i ever go back to the dessert in the 1st one??

Avatar image for Josepiphus

Looks cool. I loved the first one...

Avatar image for iamabonana120

looks great. I hated that the first one didnt have splitscreen. good theyve fixed that up like dwmorrow said

Avatar image for Cyry88

First one was awesome but this will certainly make it the definite version to buy... All is included, what you we ask more? I'm getting a PS3 for this game... ;)

Avatar image for killzone_gamer

Going on my Christmas List!!!

Avatar image for JamesSoprano


Avatar image for dwmorrow

Lack of local multiplayer is what killed the first Motorstorm for me. Glad to see they're fixing that in the sequel.

Avatar image for ColdfireTrilogy

freaking awesome cant wait to buy my PS3 this summer a lot of good titles coming out :D

Avatar image for Puckhog04

First one was awesome. Biggest reason it wasn't AAA though was that there just wasn't enough content. They did add a ton through PSN however and that fixed that but Split screen is far from the thing that kept it from AAA.

Avatar image for chickenfeed9

cant wait, the fiurst one was brilliant but there were mejor flaws, such as the lack of spolit screen. im just glad these have been addressed. I really like the new direction too. Cant wait to hit the sands in my monster truck!

Avatar image for NinjaMunkey01

Totalwarlover the awnser is NO. :) 4 player split screen! wow I thought that maybe they could not do split screen but i guess I was wrong! This looks to be great. the big reason the first one never got AAA was no split screen, but I am sure this one will get it, especially with more players online, and with more ways to kill others.

Avatar image for Chaos_Eagle

@thegame1980: Have you actually played Motorstorm? Same old, same old? I beg to differ.

Avatar image for totalwarlover

will it ever come to the 360 ?

Avatar image for BigDaddy973


Avatar image for jackrocks123

its good its getting custom soundtracks but btw isn't there gonna be a update for in game xmb>? ooo monster trucks get in!

Avatar image for thegame1980

Another racing game! Same old, same old. Not looking forward to this game at all.

Avatar image for Paul_TheGreat

This game will be mine.

Avatar image for deactivated-57bac25e99ee3

Yes It will have split screen. I was well annoyed when I could not play with a friend round their house