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Under pressure to provide a launch title, Evolution Studios managed to pull an innovative racing experience out of the bag. Although initially a little light on options, subsequent downloadable content (some free and some at additional cost) has made this an exhilarating racing experience.
Racing games, although sometimes seen as a sporting sub category, are a well established video game genre in their own right. They can feature a variety of driving styles ranging from the fantastical arcade racing focusing on thrills and spills, to the super realistic simulations that recreate every aspect of real life driving.
Motorstorm sits towards the more fantastical end of the racing spectrum, although delivers this with realistic racing physics. It impresses by pitting motorbikes, cars, jeeps, trucks and big rigs against each other on the same track. But these tracks have been cleverly designed to provide an optimal route for each type of vehicle.
To this variety is added a deformable environment that responds to the cars as they travel over it - basically, a track that gets muddy. Big rigs can plough through these deep bogs, but bikes and cars will struggle needing to stick to the higher ground.
This is all set within an environment that has a good sense of place. Racing through the tracks you are aware that these are all created in a geographic location with limitations and a common palette of materials and colours.
Maybe due to it being a lunch title for the PS3, and slightly rushed, there is no local split screen multiplayer option - something of a staple on driving games. Although there is a solid online multiplayer option.
Racing off in a pack of vehicles - bikes, cars and trucks - recreates that cross country Paris to Dakar feel. You are part of a rag tag bunch up against not only each other but the land itself. This is most evident as you hare along sheer cliff faces or take a low line around a disappearing banked curve.
This is a game that needs a little more time to properly enjoy. When you first play you are likely to need a good hour or two to adjust to the tactics and courses involved. To do well relies on your ability to learn each track in detail for each type of vehicle.
A good two hour session will enable you to get the most out of the game, and you should have to put in a good ten to fifteen of these before you start to complete the game.
Beginner gamers should be impressed with the setting and impressive array of vehicle types. The simple thrills and spills controls also enable most people to pick them up and get going without a problem.
Other less aggressive and less navigation dependant racing games would suit very young gamers better than Motorstorm, although our three year old still seems to have fun doing donuts in the muddy sections, or watching daddy race.
Expert players will rise to the challenge of learning each course in detail. This, the impressive setting and array of vehicular options make it something of a watershed for racing games
With so many different perspectives it can be hard to know where to start - a little like walking into a crowded pub. Sorry about that.
But so far we've not found a way to streamline our review output - there's basically too much of it. So, rather than dilute things for newcomers we have decided to live with the hubbub while helping new readers find the columnists they will enjoy.
Our columnists each focus on a particular perspective and fall into one of the following types of gamers: