North American box art
|Publisher(s)||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Engine||MotorStorm Engine, Havok|
MotorStorm is a 2006 racing video game developed by Evolution Studios and published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the Sony PlayStation 3 computer entertainment system. First announced at E3 2005, the game was released in Japan on 14 December 2006 and the rest of the world in March 2007. MotorStorm has achieved global sales of over 3 million copies. Two sequels were made, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift in 2008, and MotorStorm: Apocalypse in 2011. Another game was also created, MotorStorm: Arctic Edge. As of January 2012, the online servers for the game have been permanently shut down.
The events of the game take place at the fictional MotorStorm Festival in Monument Valley. The objective of the game is to win a series of off-road races and to be the overall winner of the Festival. MotorStorm holds the Guinness World Record for the biggest variety of vehicles in a racing game - players are in control of seven different types of vehicles throughout the game: bikes, ATVs, buggies, rally cars, racing trucks, mudpluggers and big rigs. Each vehicle has its own strengths and weaknesses. For example, dirt bikes are capable of accelerating very fast and capable of maneuvering through tight spaces, but they are also easily damaged, and only reach mediocre top speeds. On the other hand, big rigs have great durability, medium speed, but poor acceleration and handling.
Each race requires the player to choose a particular vehicle type and often race against many of the other vehicles. Every track has many different ways of getting through it, each catering to a specific class of vehicle thereby making the racing field more even. The events in the game occur in real-time, such as the mud effects, tire marks, and crashes (for example, if a car loses a wheel, it will remain where it lands for the duration of the race). Each track is filled with a variety of jumps, bumps, cliffs, ledges, mud pits, parts from other cars, and other obstacles. Races are generally three-lap events with two to fifteen racers. There are nine playable tracks in the game with a further four are available to purchase as downloadable content through the PlayStation Store.
Tracks experience real-time deformation, which means each lap is different from the last; obstacles and other elements that are displaced from their original position will remain that way unless disturbed again. Larger vehicles can create large holes or leave ruts that can easily upset smaller, lighter vehicles, and every vehicle responds differently to different track environments. Vehicles like big rigs and mudpluggers get excellent traction in mud, whereas lighter vehicles like dirt bikes and ATVs will slip and slide.
Nitrous boost plays a large part in MotorStorm and is used to either catch up to opponents or pull away from them. Players must keep an eye on their boost meter, which shows how hot the car's engine is. The longer the boost is held, the hotter the engine becomes. If the boost is held when the engine reaches its critical temperature, it will explode. Since explosions resulting from the boost typically rocket the player's vehicle forward, they can be used to edge out another racer across the finish line. This can be very useful when behind, although this does not work all of the time if the AI opponent gains the upper hand.
In online play, Catch-up mode can be enabled. This means the leader of a race has less boost than everyone else, allowing players further back in the field to "catch-up". If the leader changes, so does the racer with less boost. This makes using boost for the leader a technical task, in theory they should only use it when necessary, and relying on their individual driving skills to win them the race.
E3 video footage
Early details released by Sony and Evolution Studios show extremely high-quality rendered video sequences. Many gaming enthusiasts and members of the press became sceptical as to the source of the material shown, with most people suspecting the footage to be pre-rendered as opposed to real-time in-game footage.
In March 2006, shortly following the Game Developers Conference, leaked footage of a tech demo was spread across the Internet on sites such as YouTube. The demo shows a yellow buggy and a motorbike both cutting through mud, as well as splashing the mud onto a white truck, and then shows violent crashes, such as a bike landing on a purple rally car, causing it to spin out, and a white mud plugger ramming through the yellow buggy, causing it to get crushed by rolling over and crossing through flames and crashing into the guardrail. Being a technical demo, it did not show any gameplay aspects or whether the final game would reach the standard of the E3 2005 video. However, Sony representative Phil Harrison mentioned it would make an appearance at E3 2006.
The game appeared at E3 2006, although it missed the first day of the expo due to the show versions being completed and uploaded to LA that day. The build at the show was only 50% complete but still showed some effects such as motion blur and track deformation.
Two demo versions of the game have been made available to the public. The first is only available on PlayStation 3 retail kiosks, while the second is only available for download from the PlayStation Store. While both demos feature the same track, the kiosk demo allows the player to switch vehicles on the grid before the race starts, which means that the player is able to race in approximately twenty different vehicles, while the downloadable demo restricts players to two vehicles. However, the downloadable demo has a smoother frame rate and extra visual detail.
Both demos allow the player to steer using Sixaxis motion-sensing.
Five updates have been released for MotorStorm in North America and Europe.
|1.1||Update 1.1 was made available for download on 23 March 2007, in addition to the European and Australian release. It added one feature: a buddy list, to allow users to compete with online friends.|
|1.2||Update 1.2 is an update that was scheduled for release on 11 June 2007. The update improves online play, is compatible with a time-trial mode add-on, removes a popular boost exploit, and fixes several bugs. The update was released in Europe on 15 June 2007 and on 21 June in North America.|
|2.0||Update 2.0 enhanced vehicle selection and player colours in the lobby and also fixed bugs with headset and voice communications support.|
|3.0||Update 3.0 added vibration support for the DualShock 3 controller. Finishing positions in a player's last race now determine their starting grid position in the next race within the same online lobby. A Gloating Index to give guidance as to a racer’s online prowess. Plus fixes to various bugs and exploits. The update was released in Europe on 25 October 2007 and in North America on 8 November 2007.|
|3.1||Update 3.1 adds a 2D vehicle selection screen, mirrored tracks for online multiplayer games, a new proximity meter for MotorStorm mode and two additional songs to the soundtrack - "Devil's Crossing" by Elite Force and "Beat The Devil" by Jiffster. The update is about 253MB in size. The update was released in Europe on 13 December 2007 and in North America on 19 December 2007.|
On 15 June 2007 in Europe and 21 June in North America, an add-on was made available on the PlayStation Network. This free download, when used in conjunction with the 1.2 update, unlocks a time-trial mode. In this mode, players are able to select a track and vehicle to race around and achieve the best time. When online, players can upload their best times to see where they rank in a global leaderboard. There is also the ability to download the "ghosts" of best laps of other players—including the creators—and race against them.
On 6 September 2007 in Europe, a second add-on was made available for purchase on the PlayStation Network, called the Coyote Revenge Weekend VIP Pass (named Revenge Weekend in North America). This download, when used in conjunction with the 2.0 update, unlocks the Coyote Weekend mode. This allows players to access an additional three tickets, combining nine races (four races each in the first and second tickets and one final race in the third ticket). The races unlock sequentially and are unlocked via player success in preceding races. The mode is called Coyote Weekend because the track Coyote Revenge features predominantly, and the races are presented as happening over a weekend festival over Saturday and Sunday. Out of the nine races, the Coyote Revenge track features five times, with various new routes and short-cuts. Four other tracks also feature in the Coyote Weekend festival. The download also includes two new vehicles, a bike, an ATV and a bonus vehicle that can be accessed on successful completion of the races. There is also a vehicle pack available on the PlayStation Network, that includes a rally car which looks very similar to a De Lorean DMC-12 and a Big Rig which is based on a prison bus, and new livery skins known as Numskull Helmets and Big Blue Bunny.
On 27 September 2007 in USA, a third add-on was made available which included a truck (known as the Castro Capitano, preceded by the Castro Robusto) with three styles. On 25 October 2007 in Europe, a new Halloween livery was made available for download, on the Castro Robusto racing truck. Downloading this livery will automatically unlock the truck. The Devil's Weekend pack was released in Europe and North America on 8 November 2007 it contains The Devil's Crossing track, nine new races, four new vehicles and new liveries such as Crazy Samurai and QuickFoot liveries. On 20 December 2007 in USA, it features a new downloadable holiday skin for Castro Varadero (a big rig). An additional two tracks were announced on 7 January 2008. Eagle's Nest & Diamondback Speedway were released in Europe on 11 January 2008 and in North America on 17 January 2008. On 7 February 2008 in North America and Europe, a Chinese New Year skin becomes available for download for the Wulff Revo rally car.
In PlayStation Home on 9 October 2009, a MotorStorm themed personal apartment was released to all four versions of Home, being Asia, Europe, Japan, and North America. The apartment is called the "MotorStorm Monument Valley Campsite" and can be purchased from the Home Estates store in Home's shopping complex. There are also sixteen MotorStorm themed furniture items that can be purchased to go along with the apartment, including a sofa constructed from a mangled skateboard, the clapped out car seat from one of the original MotorStorm vehicles and a smouldering barbecue cunningly fashioned from an old oil-drum and other nondescript pieces of junk. These can be purchased from the Furniture store in Home's shopping complex.
MotorStorm was featured at E3 2007 as fully supporting game launching in PlayStation Home, but was released without this feature. Its successor, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift, however, does fully support game launching in Home. Although it does not fully support the feature, it can still be game launched through the Universal Game Launching method which does not have all of the features of a game that would have full support for game launching.
MotorStorm was officially released in Japan on 14 December 2006, where it became the best-selling PlayStation 3 game; in North America on 6 March 2007; and in Europe as part of the European PlayStation 3 launch on 23 March 2007. Both the North American and European versions include online play, which was not included in the Japanese version at the time of its release. Online play for Japan was released in an update on 20 June 2007.
MotorStorm has received mostly positive reviews, it holds an average rating of 84/100 on Metacritic as of September 2007 and 83% on Game Rankings. The game was selected as one of Gaming Target's "52 Games We'll Still Be Playing From 2007. On the 11th annual interactive achievement award MotorStorm won racing game of the year. GameSpot praised the games online aspect saying "Motorstorm's rampageous brand of racing is a great deal of fun" as well as the graphics and soundtrack of the game while criticizing its lack of offline multiplayer and its single-player mode.
IGN summed up its review by saying "It may be shallow, but it's also the most engaging racing experience you'll find anywhere", but expressed its excitement in the potential of its sequel due to the strong foundations the original laid out. However, GameTrailers criticized the AI of the game saying it was based on a "rubber-band" principle which allowed computer drivers to easily catch up with the player regardless of the player's performance, but it praised the online gameplay of MotorStorm as well as its gameplay physics.
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