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MotorStorm: Apocalypse Hands-On Preview

Ever been driving along an apocalyptic-ravaged street and had the floor you are racing on collapse from underneath your very wheels? How about racing on the downtown streets only to have two huge skyscraper office blocks come crumbling down to the sides of you and as the dust cloud engulfs your car, you come roaring out the other side unscathed? Yeah thought not.
Well I have and it’s all down to the latest MotorStorm title from the guys at Evolution Studios. The studio’s latest racer mixes the breakneck speeds of previous MotorStorm titles with the city-based locations that would look more at home in the likes of Burnout and Split/Second and by god is it good.
There was a reason the queues to play the game at the recent Beta Rooms event in Birmingham were growing, yes it may have been down to the chance of winning a 3DTV, but it was obvious MotorStorm was one of the surprise winners amongst the community. It was an impressive feat especially when you consider it was up against the likes of Gran Turismo 5 and Killzone 3.
This isn’t a deserted city though; created for you and the other budding racers to use as a playground, this earthquake is real time event and pedestrians run in all directions are trying to escape the carnage. This in-turn can prove quite the distraction for you the driver, obviously the majority of us out there are going to plough through the masses in a bid of winning the race, however certain times you will show some signs of compassion and try to swerve around them but on more than one occasion your heroic deeds will subsequently result in you crashing into a piece of debris on the track.
As we head down into the subway we find military units having a gunfight with looters who are intent of ransacking the city, and if your car is in middle of it you will take damage from both sides. Honestly though you’re going too fast to really take in the little bits of action like this and before you even realise what is happening they are nothing but a speck in your wing-mirror.
The speed is all down the return of the Nitrous boost in your car. Once again you will find it mapped to the X button and that extra bit of oomph can be the difference between 1st and 2nd, it’s just down to you and when you decide to use it. Like previous titles a temperature gauge in the bottom left corner dictates how often you can use the nitrous boost, holding down for too long and you can expect your car to be blown to smithereens.
Hell even if your car isn’t blown to pieces you’re still going to be experiencing the car damage system that featured in the previous titles. After being rammed by one of the trucks near the beginning of the level my sports car’s bumper was hanging on and dragging along the track for the whole race. It was interesting to see it still clinging onto the car by a couple of bolts rather than just seeing the you’ve been hit in the back, it now snaps off scenario what arises in other racers.
It wasn’t until another nudge when mid-air that it finally decided to snap off, flying off and smashing into the bonnet of the vehicle behind me. Marvelling at that I never noticed the track had changed and there was now a pile of debris in my path, until it was too late that is and my slender lead was instantly revoked as I could only watch in slow motion as my car crumpled into the heap.
As you race around the track the environment is ever changing due to the destruction of the on-going earthquake. Little prompts pop up on screen when something truly momentous happens however apart from slowing down the action to truly marvel at the artistic nature of what destruction is being caused it doesn’t really offer anything unique. Another downfall of the destruction is that in the numerous races that we participated in, the same events seemed to occur in each race, after the third or fourth play-through we could time exactly when the floor would subside or when the building would collapse.
Speaking at the event with members of the community it was obvious they wanted to see something taken from the pages of Split/Second; where you could use the QTEs to your advantage by taking out opponents as well as adapting the racetracks in a variety of ways.
From what we played of MotorStorm the game is shaping up fantastically, it would’ve been nice to have a choice of vehicles and play a couple more tracks than the one on offer but overall it’s exactly what you can imagine a MotorStorm title to be. Fast-paced mayhem with a wide variety of vehicles involved in the races and rest assure they are ready to ram you out of first place at any given time. Never has an earthquake been so exciting to experience.


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