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PS3 early adopters found little to satisfy their gaming urges in the system's youth. There were a few standouts, Resistance certainly comes to mind, but for the most part the dearth of system exclusives and quality games overall left many gamers wondering if they'd mistakenly dropped six hundred bucks on a Blu Ray player that sometimes also played games.
Relief came in early 2007, when Sony delivered the first true post-launch exclusive for the system, Motorstorm. Early videos and demos had gamers talking. The graphics were amazing and the sense of speed conveyed even when simply watching the game was enough to get any racing fan's heart racing.
The final game was not without its problems, though. Some who saw Motorstorm as a ray of light in the PS3’s post-launch darkness were dismayed to find it didn’t quite measure up their high expectations.
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Graphically, Motorstorm is mind-blowingly beautiful. The monument valley-esque setting is truly gorgeous and Motorstorm was one of the first games to truly showcase the graphic power of the Playstation 3. It’s one of those games that causes one to occasionally just stop and say, “wow.” It’s that gorgeous.
The deforming terrain is another amazing graphical aspect. Multiple trips through the same mud bog cause it to become more and more unstable, and the effects of each individual pass are visible. Traction deteriorates realistically, as well.
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Unfortunately, gorgeous visuals do not necessarily equate to a great gaming experience. Sliding around in the mud, completing ridiculous jumps, and seeing your car explode when you hold down the turbo button just a few seconds too long are all amazing at first, but as the game goes on, the experience begins to lose its luster.
Motorstorm is a game that gets hard very quickly, too quickly for most people. One second you’re having a great time, sailing through the air across the finish line way ahead of the pack, and the next you’re in last place, constantly struggling to keep your big rig pointed in the right direction.
Some of the race requirements quickly come to seem a bit unreasonable. You’re forced to use an ATV while the rest of the pack is free to choose a rally car or big rig and drive over you pretty much every chance they get. Don't get me wrong, I like a challenge, but when you fail the same race over and over due to overly-aggressive A.I. rather than poor driving skills, it can get a bit frustrating.
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Motorstorm has only eight tracks. Sure, the switch from daytime to evening or different vehicle requirements keep them fresh for awhile, but it doesn’t take long for a player to become disgruntled when they realize they’re being forced to play “that” track once again.
Online play livens up the package a bit, and the various additions to the game since launch add some replay value, but overall Motorstorm is far from the amazing title it was initially prophesied to be.
If you can pick up a copy of the game cheap, it’s definitely worth checking out. As budget titles go, Motorstorm is definitely better than most of the shovelware you're likely to see in the bargain bin. I cannot recommend that anyone pay full retail for it though.
Fortunately the sequel Motorstorm: Pacific Rift appears to have fixed many of it’s predecessor’s problems. It's a far better choice for those seeking their off-road racing fix.