Every console launch sees its share of rushed titles. And while MotorStorm is a success and a blast to play, it is a bit on the anemic side when it comes to modes. If there ever was a game with untapped potential, this is it.
The setup for the game is simple, if not a bit off the wall. The MotorStorm Festival is in Monument Valley, and your job is conquering every race (of course). The single player mode is comprised of tickets; each with one to four races a piece, each requiring different car classes. There are seven car classes in all, including rally cars, big rigs, dirt bikes, ATVs, racing trucks, buggies, and mud pluggers. Think of it as rally racing with loads more mayhem.
In one race, you may be able to use any vehicle that is available to you, while you will be required to race a big rig in another ticket. It forces you to figure out how to play as each class, and they all handle very differently.
There are only eight tracks, but they are all pretty long, and packed full of cliffs, ramps, and many other dangerous obstacles. Each track has multiple paths, which are suited for the different vehicle classes.
Once you complete this career mode, you have one other option: online multiplayer. There is no split-screen multiplayer, and no time trial mode, Venturing online also felt a little empty, as there was no form of buddy list whatsoever.
Thanks to the PC model of "release first, patch later" that I loath so much, MotorStorm now has an online buddy list, and will be getting a Time Attack mode, plus some premium content in the form of tracks and vehicles. There has been no word yet on split screen, only a tease from the developers, alluding to the fact that they might add it if enough people want it. Yes, I want split-screen in MotorStorm because when I have friends over, we like to play racing games against one another.
Maybe the high graphical detail makes split-screen difficult, but if other racing games can muster it, MotorStorm should too. Online multiplayer is it for now, and its pretty solid. With little lag, and up to 12 people per match, online races are the meat of this racer. The lobby system works well, and match options allow for a few details you do not get to choose from in the single player game.
By now we all know that Evolution Studios did not hit the "target render" that hit the Internet a couple years ago, but the game is gorgeous to look at. There are some ugly ground textures, but the overall quality is through the roof. The lighting is also a feat. The sun-drenched canyons are just as impressive as early morning or evening atmosphere. The real-time deformation of the mud, and the dirt and mud splattered "camera" are also a visual treat.
As in the Burnout series, the crashes in MotorStorm are the main attraction. Pieces and parts fly everywhere. Rag doll physics take over as your driver is hurtled out of his seat – it is all great fun, and never gets old.
With artists such as Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Reverend Horton Heat, Slipknot, and others, the 21 tracks picked for this game fit wonderfully as your soundtrack for chaotic dirt racing. Engines and explosions sound great. The crunch of vehicles has an impact. The audio is as polished as the visuals.
One of the biggest annoyances in the game comes in the form of loading times. Long loading times. For everything from choosing a vehicle to starting a race, you are going to spend a lot of time watching the spinning MotorStorm logo.
MotorStorm is one of the few PS3 launch games that I am still playing now. It has tight, responsive controls, and a well built online multiplayer mode. While the disc was missing features, I applaud the developers to updating and adding to the titles months after the release. The MotorStorm 1.2 update should be out soon, which will bring a number of important enhancements and bug fixes.
MotorStorm is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Language, Violence.