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Hands-on: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift


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Unsurprisingly, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift plays much like its predecessor. The build running at Sony's E3 booth was incredibly stable, feeling nearly ready for release at any time. Simply watching the trailers should give you a good idea of what to expect: it's just like MotorStorm, with branching paths through each track. However, the new jungle environments offer a bit more detail than the PS3 launch title. While there will be a few other things to think about while driving through the lush green, such as how flora and water will affect the cars, Pacific Rift is still instantly accessible.

Key to successful racing in Pacific Rift is to think about the environment and the vehicle you're in. Obviously, motorcycles will have great manueverability through the world, but it will be unable to break through dense clusters of green. Decisions must be made with split-second reflexes. Granted, had we more time with the game, we'd be able to start learning the tracks and the varied branches throughout. Choosing a random turn to be greeted with an unexpected jump certainly gave us a number of thrills.

Boosting is an even more vital part of the game as environmental factors will now affect your boost meter. As you hold down the turbo, your engine will begin to overheat. However, if you go into shallow water, you'll be able to cool down your engine, giving you a few more seconds of precious boost. However, if you encounter lava, the engine will heat up almost instantly. Figuring out the balance between boosting and choosing shortcuts adds an appreciable amount of depth to the franchise.


The two key features new to MotorStorm that will have everyone talking is the split-screen multiplayer and the new vehicle class: the monster truck. We're glad to report that split-screen multiplayer runs incredibly smoothly. We were able to do multiple races and we never experienced a drop in the framerate. Finally, MotorStorm is becoming the party game it was always meant to be!

Playing as the monster truck is an absolute blast. Although it may not be as speedy as the other vehicles, we cannot deny the fun of simply running over other hapless vehicles. It works just you'd imagine (really, just imagine being in a monster truck). We weren't able to win our race, but we were impressed at how well the monster truck was able to keep up. Had we known of better paths through the level, we may have been able to place a bit higher with the monster truck.

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift adds everything players have asked for in the original game. It is a vastly improved experience from the first game, and with new multiplayer modes, we have a feeling this will be an excellent addition to any racing fan's collection.

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