You get the best graphics possible, but almost no courses to play. Like Gran Turismo 5 Prologue -- pricey, no substance

User Rating: 7 | MotorStorm: Pacific Rift PS3
MotorStorm Pacific Rift has roared it's way into stores in perhaps one of the most crowed points in gaming in recent memory. Huge titles like Resistance 2, Gears of War 2, Little Big Planet, Fable 2 and many others all released around the same time as MS:PR. Sadly because of poor timing many will probably delay purchasing this game or end up skipping it altogether. Don't be one of those people and miss out on a terrific game!

MS:PR is a true sequel to the original breakout smash success. Capitalizing on all the experience from the first game, Evolution Studios returns with a bigger, better experience in MS:PR. Everything about the original MotorStorm has been improved, polished and soiled with mud.

The game features a more varied landscape than the simple desert setting of the original MotorStorm. Now players can select from 16 levels broken across four zones: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. As you can guess from the names, each features tracks dealing with the respective element. Levels vary from lush tropical jungles to simmering calderas to edge of your seat racing on the lip of a mountainous course. The track designs are amazing and conducive to white knuckle racing the series is known for.

Graphically few racing games shine as bright as MS:PR. Sure it may not be a photo realistic journey like GT5 Prologue. But then again GT5P doesn't have half the personality MS:PR has. The graphics in MS:PR are amazing. From levels which are both beautiful and grimy at the same time to detailed vehicles and impressive particle effects, the game has it covered.

Speaking of vehicles, MS:PR maintains the selection of Motorcycles, ATVs, Buggies, Rally Cars, Racing Trucks, Mudpluggers, Trucks and adds Monster Trucks to the fold. Somehow Evolution has managed to maintain balance throughout the classes and a slow moving Monster Trucks can (if raced correctly) maintain and beat a rally car. The game just works.

Major improvements to the single player offline mode feature a more diverse level set that spans 8 difficulty levels - or tickets as they're known in MotorStorm. As you progress through the tickets you'll unlock in game rewards such as vehicles paint schemes, driver skins and extras like concept drawings and behind the scenes movies. The game also fully takes advantage of Sony's trophy system and features 50 trophies to earn.

Anyone who played the original MS will probably recall the soundtrack that featured bands like Queens of the Stone Age, Wolfmother and Monster Magnet. While somewhat limited in song count the songs in the game fit the gritty racing perfectly. MS:PR continues the hard rock trend the original set and thankfully expands the track listing. While I found the selection of songs to be good, I can't help but miss hearing classic songs from the original game.

If I had to pick one element of MS:PR that is a bit disappointing I would pick the online racing portion. While certainly not bad, a few bad design choices keep the online mode from being great. The primary problem is that user options are extremely limited. You're allowed to select either a ranked or unranked match. After each race you're booted back out to the lobby to receive rank points and then have to select either a ranked or unranked match again. You can create a custom match and select your favorite tracks and vehicles, however, the matches are unranked and will not count toward your online rank. The online portion of the game is just a bit cumbersome and should give users the ability to create custom ranked races. To it's credit the game does implement a buddy system that will pair you with friends playing the game. Hopefully Evolution will hear the fans and patch the game to improve the online racing.

-30 points for low track amounts.