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Playback: Motorstorm

The original.

Just over five years ago, I was standing in the now defunct Woolworth’s getting very annoyed with the staff as my launch day PlayStation 3 was nowhere to be seen. It eventually made an appearance just as the store was about close and with it were two games, Resistance: Fall Of Man and Motorstorm.

I rushed home (handily just a few hundred metres), plugged in the console and fired up Motorstorm. A menacing voice over intoned that a new breed of warrior had been born and the Motorstorm festival has begun! Look at those gorgeous HD intro graphics, it looks so real! Woohoo!

It doesn't quite have the visual impact of the latest sequels but it still looks okay.
So I played a few races, then fired up Resistance and… well, that was it. I never went back to Motorstorm and spent every waking hour playing Resistance and Warhawk.

As I am writing this Playback on Easter Sunday, and I have a day to myself, I have decided to go back and play all those games I never finished, or in Motorstorm’s case, never really started. For five years the case has remained on the shelf, unloved and never touched Insert your own joke here

The first thing that strikes me about the game is that it requires an update – fair enough – but rather than quitting the title, the update occurs in game and only after it has downloaded will the system require a reboot. Obviously Motorstorm was completed before Sony had finalised how patches were to be delivered via the PSN.

The second thing that strikes me is that the intro graphics which looked so photo-realistic back in the day are photo realistic as it’s video footage with a few vehicles imposed on top. No wonder I was so impressed in 2007.

As the 102mb patch downloads, the thumping dance soundtrack of Motorstorm begins, at this very moment Krafty Kuts & Tim Deluxe’s ‘Bass Phenomenon’ is playing and it’s setting the mood perfectly. The Motorstorm sequels concentrated on the racing and the idea of the festival has became and more of an after thought, a shame as it was a new and invigorating idea for the racing genre and helped set the game apart from other racers.

For the first race I will be driving a ‘mud plugger’, an off-road buggy. The countdown reaches one and we’re off, I smoothly accelerate past the pack and then smash into a wall. Something is wrong, my buggy is not responding. I remember this is a launch title and by default (and strict instructions from Sony to use the damn thing) control is via the motion sensors in the sixaxis.

For me, the Motorstorm series has got progressively worse rather than better, culminating with the incomprehensible controls in Motorstorm:RC and the explode-if-you-so-much-as-graze the scenery Motorstorm: Apocalypse. Once the controls are configured in original Motorstorm, the vehicles handle perfectly – huzzah!

Original Motorstorm still bounces the vehicles across the screen but with the muddy tracks rather than concrete roads of Apocalypse the vehicles are much easier to handle.

Look at that arty blur!
Graphically, the game has stood the ravages of time quite well. The models are perhaps slightly less detailed than what we are used to today but the tracks still look good and the mud deforms as the vehicles drive across the track. As previously mentioned, the soundtrack is perfect, flitting between thumping dance tracks and guitar lead indie tunes. Vehicles sound throaty and – praise the heavens – there is no annoying DJ shouting between races.

What the game does have is fun, and by the bucket load. The wide tracks offer plenty of opportunity to skid past the A.I. vehicles and boosting across a jump – and several opponents – is an exhilarating experience.

Sadly Sony turned off the servers for online play at the start of the year and trophy hunters will find the game was never patched so it remains a trinket free experience.

Nevertheless, you can grab the game for a couple of pounds now and for a quiet Sunday afternoon you could do a whole lot worse (Yes, I’m talking about you, terrible racers that have been plaguing the PSN recently.)

Five years on and Motorstorm is still one of the best racers on PlayStation, if you are a recent convert to the Church Of Sony then I highly recommend spending a few quid on the game.

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  1. Pitcher-T
    Since: Jan 2009

    It’s a bit depressing hearing that so many servers have been shut down. I know it has to happen, but it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s a case of ‘What, I can’t go online with Motorstorm 1? That’s all I want to do now!’
    Motorstorm was my first ps3 game too along with resistance (and genji). I was astounded at how good the graphics were at the time. I agree with you the next 2 (or 3) games that followed were just never as good as the original. They lost the festival feel sadly.

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 09:11.
  2. cc_star
    Team TSA: Writer
    Since: Forever

    Nice one,

    Loved Motorstorm, yes slightly annoying how your vehicle could smash through some obstacles but explode on contact with something so small you can hardly see it, something which continues in the series even now

    But the handling model worked in the original unlike its sequels, the courses were brilliant and they nailed the Festival vibe perfectly, and something which felt fake in the later games.

    Motorstorm has a special place in my heart & one of the few games I haven’t traded even though I’ve long since said goodbye to the sequels

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 09:33.
  3. Forrest_01
    Since: Jun 2009

    My experience differs somewhat in terms of what’s hot & what’s not; I found the first Motorstorm really good, but felt that it was missing something but couldn’t put my finger on what it was (& no, it wasn’t trophies as I played it before trophies were a ‘thing’).

    Pacific Rift seemed to grab what it was that the first title was missing, but I actually found it a little on the tough side at the higher levels & online races were a joke with me often being at the back of the pack within the first lap.

    Apocalypse was the pinnacle of the series for me – Best handling, concrete roads to drive on & a city that tears itself apart in front of you. Of course there is the ‘pebble effect’ that TC referred to in the article, but it doesn’t happen too often & barely happens at all once you know your favoured route around the tracks.

    Motorstorm RC is just a different beast & can’t really be compared to other titles in the series, as it is so wildly different. It is better to compare that to something like micro machines, but seeing as there hasn’t been a MM game since around 2006, that’s kinda hard!

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 09:36.
  4. Origami Killer
    Since: May 2010

    My PSN name originated from motorstorm so you can probably tell I loved the game. Best of the three in my opinion, with pacific rift coming a very close second.
    I found the original had the best tracks, was more brutal and generally just a joy to play. Once you got to rank 8 though the final levels became very tough and the last one would cause you to have anger issues.
    What the hell did they go and do with Apocalypse though?!

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:00.
    • Eldave0
      Since: Aug 2008

      “What the hell did they go and do with Apocalypse though?!”
      I know :( Aside from the 4-player split screen support and the wager idea, ‘Apocalypse’ was just plain bad.

      Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:17.
      • Origami Killer
        Since: May 2010

        Lost all what motorstorm was about in my opinion. Shame, hopefully next one they can go back to the brutal off road festival.

        Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:20.
      • Forrest_01
        Since: Jun 2009

        Personally, i really enjoyed it – But that just probably means it actually went more ‘arcadey’, as those are the racers i tend to enjoy the most.

        After absolutely loving Split Second, Apocalypse was a no-brainer for me.

        Oh & the meets for Apocalypse were a real good laugh too – Can’t really compare that aspect though, as i was never involved in meets for the other titles.

        Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:31.
      • Origami Killer
        Since: May 2010

        thats what I didn’t like about it. it’s switch to arcade.

        Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:35.
  5. Eldave0
    Since: Aug 2008

    Original and best. This and Resistance:FOM provided hundreds of hours of entertainment :)

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:16.
  6. colmshan1990
    Since: Apr 2009

    Motorstorm was the game that made me really want a PS3. When I got it, it was the first that I played, and it was great.
    The only flaw was the utterly ridiculous loading times. Especially for things as simple as choosing your car.

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:20.
  7. nofi
    One for all.
    Since: Forever

    Spent ages driving about in the mud, crashing into things and generally causing mayhem.

    And then I played MotorStorm.

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 10:27.
    • Tuffcub
      On the naughty step.
      Since: Dec 2008

      He’s here all week! Try the fish!

      Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 11:31.
  8. tatoemonkey
    Since: Apr 2009

    Also bought motorstorm in woolies

    Comment posted on 12/04/2012 at 14:22.

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