|System: PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Evolution Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: October 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (20 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
July 17, 2008 - Fantasizing about a tropical, Pacific island paradise conjures up many thoughts in one's mind. Clear blue skies, crystal clear waters, warm weather, and oh yeah, off road racing! Well, maybe not the last one, but maybe that will change with this fall's release of the newest iteration of MotorStorm, which takes gamers on an island vacation with lots and lots of vehicles!
In most aspects, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift is going to be a lot like its predecessor. Players will take part in off-road races where you not only face competition from the other drivers, but from the elements as well. The original MotorStorm did a great job of keeping the gameplay challenging through the elements on the track.
However, the best way to describe these tracks was...muddy. MotorStorm: Pacific Rift looks to trade in this dirty look for a more tropical one. Elements this time will still include the standard water and mud, but now players will be able to look forward to lush jungle environments and harsh rock formations.
But if you are thinking that all this sounds very pretty, the fact is that it gets ugly really quickly. Cars will have an extensive, physics-based damage system that will have several individual destructible parts. Best of all, it won't only be our vehicle that will be destructible.
Let's say you crash into a tree. Generally, in most titles, you'll wreck your car, but the tree will come away from the accident unscathed (my hypothesis is that all in-game foliage is made of iron.) But in MotorStorm, the tracks are destructible, so you can literally tear up the track.
In addition to the new track elements, MotorStorm Pacific Rift also promises more challenging opponent A.I. Of course, most people would hardly call the A.I. in the previous MotorStorm a pushover, but developers have said that this time around A.I.opponents will be a lot more aggressive. Players will have to employ a little bit of strategy in their racing to beat these meaner (and smarter) opponents, and if you've never employed an offensive or defensive strategy, you'd better learn how!
But, as it is with most games involving vehicles, the focus tends not to rest on strategy or level design, but on the vehicles themselves. In this aspect, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift definitely does not disappoint. All the usual vehicle classes will be here including buggies, ATVs, bikes, and trucks. But, there will also be a new vehicle class this time around, which may appeal to your inner redneck: the monster trucks class. And yes, this excites me, so I too may be a redneck.
As far as online modes go, it looks like MotorStorm: Pacific Rift will follow in its predecessor's footsteps. It will utilize the PSN to offer intricate matchmaking options that support up to 20 online competitors. There is also an online stat capability where you can track your personal progress as well as compare it to others. MotorStorm: Pacific Rift will also have downloadable content in the form of tracks, vehicles, and even additional game modes. Unfortunately, specifics are sparse as to what exactly will be offered in these "extra" modes, but hopefully we'll know more soon.
Aside from these fairly large upgrades, MotorStorm: Pacific Realm also has some relatively minor upgrades in store as well. Chief among these is the ability to take pictures and save them to your hard drive. This makes for relatively broad, gloating possibilities, as you can send your photo finish to friends via e-mail, upload them to your favorite social networking site, or just make it your desktop background. Either way, it's a pretty cool feature.
We were able to catch a few glimpses of the way MotorStorm will look during Sony's press conference during E3, and it seems that the look is going to be quite similar to the look of the original title, with a little bit more of a tropical color palate.
MotorStorm is definitely shaping up to be a fun-looking title, with lots of features to draw you into its lush island paradise, and who could forget the monster trucks? This title looks to be a lot of fun, and along with next year's release of Gran Turismo 5, could help solidify Sony's current stranglehold on the automotive genre, and do it in style!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor