Microsoft's Xbox ONE still doesn't have one
As expected, Sony revealed the release date for their hotly anticipated next generation console, the Playstation 4 at Gamescom this week. And, as predict by most commentators, it falls in November 2013. North America will get it on November 15th, while it hits Europe November 29th.
Announced in June, the PlayStation 4 marks the next phase in video gaming after the Playstation 3 and XBOX 360 dominated console gaming in this one. Going against Sony’s effort will be Microsoft’s Xbox One – a product designed to offer an all round entertainment package.
Continue reading: PS4 Release Date Revealed, So When Are You Getting Yours?
Until recently it has been the case that successful sports games are effectively a license to print money. Releasing new editions of a great game on a yearly basis, often with little more than an updated team list and a few cosmetic changes, yet charging full price has not been uncommon practice for publishers in the past. However, these days gamers have wised up and are demanding more, no longer content with buying the same game as last year but with different packaging. For this reason NHL 12, the latest in EA's long running ice hockey simulator par excellence, boasts improved defensive AI, a 'full contact physics engine' and a whole new 'Be a Legend' mode to improve upon last year's already universally adored version of Canada's national sport. The question is then, is this enough to justify shelling out full price for?
Continue reading: NHL 12 Ice Hockey, Review Sony PS3
EA's FIFA series is the best footballing game on the market, a market that it has dominated for around a decade and a half. And it's back with a new and improved version, FIFA 12, coming 30th September to shops near you.
Continue reading: FIFA 12 Preview, Xbox 360, PS3, PC, Wii, Nintendo DS, PSP
The Ape Escape franchise has been somewhat absent of late. Like Sony's other successful platformers of yesteryear, it has been demoted to spinoffs and remakes on the PSP for the past half decade. However the advent of the Playstation Move has provided the perfect output for family-friendly games like this: the first instalment in the Ape Escape franchise on a home console for over six years.
Continue reading: Ape Escape, Review Sony PS3
Crossovers between franchises are generally a big gamble for studios and there tends to be no real formula for what makes them good. Crossovers that you would imagine to be terrible can sometimes really prove themselves (see the Kingdom Hearts franchise) and ones that you would imagine to play really interestingly can be rather poor (see Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe).
Continue reading: Playstation Move Heroes, Review Sony PS3
Motorstorm, the byword for no holds barred, adrenaline filled, off-road racing, has been a PlayStation favourite since it powerslid onto the PS3 as one of the console's launch titles. Although lacking a multiplayer, its combination of extreme stunts, multiple routed tracks and selection of varied vehicles ensured both critical and commercial success and spawned two equally successful sequels (Pacific Rift and Arctic Edge for the PSP). Now in its 4th iteration and feeling the heat from newer arcade racers like Blur and Split/Second, Motorstorm has shifted gears. Gone are the rough wilds of canyons and mountains, quarries and dirt tracks that made up the previous games, replaced instead with the smooth concrete of a west coast US city. So how is this off-roading? Well I forgot to mention that the city is in the middle of a spectacularly catastrophic earthquake.
Continue reading: Motorstorm Apocalypse, Review Sony PS3
In a world where we are seeing the third Killzone title, seventh Call of Duty and fifth Gran Turismo, it is really refreshing to see new IPs being launched. However it is hard to play Bulletstorm without feeling that we've seen it all before. There are elements taken from Far Cry, Borderlands, Gears of War and many other big names that we are all familiar with (in its defence, it shares a developer with the latter). It is also hard to play Bulletstorm without a bloody great big grin spreading across your face. This game is an absolute blast and fans of unrealistic shooters should definitely give this a whirl.
Continue reading: Bulletstorm, Review PS3
The Killzone franchise as a Playstation exclusive has often been compared (perhaps unfairly) to the unfathomably popular Xbox exclusive Halo franchise. Since the last Killzone game, there have been two Halo instalments; each one increasingly more celebrated than the last. Killzone 3 has a lot to live up to. But can it cut the mustard? You could be forgiven for assuming that it can't given the history of the franchise. Released in the twilight years of the Playstation 2's life, the original Killzone game was plagued with bugs, repetitive gameplay and bland environments so was not widely played. The second instalment managed to iron out some of the gameplay issues but added a bizarrely slow, lethargic and cumbersome control system. Additionally it suffered from possibly the longest release delay in videogame history (conveniently disregarding Duke Nukem Forever and Gran Turismo 5 of course).
Continue reading: Killzone 3, Review Playstation 3
As one of the most innovative and stylish games to have ever been released on the PlayStation 3, Media Molecule's LittleBigPlanet captured the hearts and creative minds of thousands of gamers. Set in a colourful DIY world of crayons, stickers and fabrics, players controlled the lovable canvas-clad Sackboy in a family friendly platforming adventure. But it was the creative tools included in the game that really stood out. They allowed players to create their own levels that could be shared over PlayStation Network, resulting in over 3 million user creations to date, along with a passionate and dedicated community. It's no wonder then that Sackboy's new adventure has been eagerly anticipated, but is LittleBigPlanet 2 another creative revolution, or does it feel like just more of the same?
Continue reading: LittleBigPlanet 2, Review Sony PS3
When asked to name 3D platform games most people would name Mario. Then possibly Ratchet and Clank or Jak and Daxter, maybe a few might even mention Crash Bandicoot. A name that probably won't get raised is Sly Cooper, the swift and cunning racoon, whose beautiful cel-shaded adventures illuminated the PS2 with a combination of taut controls, varied gameplay and entertaining stories. The relative obscurity of the Sly games is a real pity but along with rumours of a Sly 4 on the horizon, Sony has rereleased all three of the PS2 games with enhanced visuals, new mini games and all on one disc. But does the old school charm of Sly's cartoon capers carry well on to a next-gen console dominated by slick shooters and action titles?
Continue reading: The Sly Trilogy, Review Sony PS3
The Marvel Super Hero Squad franchise consists of tiny action figures, a Saturday morning cartoon and a couple of videogames. This is the second one, following a first game which was critically torn apart and left for dead. Unfortunately this follow up doesn't address any of the problems that were present in the original.
Continue reading: Marvel Super Hero Squad - The Infinity Gauntle, Review Sony PS3
Megamind is one of this year's most successful family movies featuring an entertaining premise and some really big names voicing characters. The tie-in videogame features neither of these things. Is this enough to dismiss it entirely? Certainly not. Megamind is a surprisingly entertaining action platformer featuring inventive puzzles and imaginative weapons. Although not without its flaws, you could certainly do a lot worse than this if looking for something to entertain your children.
Continue reading: Megamind: Ultimate Showdown, Review Sony PS3
I was never into wrestling as a child. Even in the golden era of Hulk Hogans and Hitman Harts I found all the costumes and soap opera spats slightly farcical and vaguely embarrassing. Plenty of my friends fell under the spell however, spending hours recreating fights with the action figures, even finding excuses to take their plastic combatants round to the rich kid's house as his parents had bought him the official wrestling ring toy set which emitted realistic (muffled) crowd sounds and commentary at the press of a button. These days computer games are the new action figures and in this arena WWE games have always struggled to compete against other, more exciting fighting games. Smackdown vs. Raw 2010 hopes to readdress the balance by providing an unparalleled level of choice of game modes, match customizability and with an impressive roster of baby oiled brutes and beauties with which to do battle.
Continue reading: WWE Smackdown vs Raw 2010, Review PS3
Bringing a collection of arcade favourites and an all new FPS mode together on one disc, Time Crisis: Razing Storm attempts to capture all the joy and excitement of the undisputed "king of arcade on-rails shooters" into your living room. Included are faithful recreations of the original Time Crisis 4 arcade game, Deadstorm Pirates and the more recent Razing Storm, each with their own unique styles and gameplay components. On top of this is the all new first person shooter based around the events in the Razing Storm arcade game, unfortunately it is this component that lets the collection down, sitting uncomfortably somewhere between an on-rails shooter and a more modern FPS. Still, with a huge wealth of content and PlayStation Move compatibility, there is plenty here to get excited about.
Continue reading: Time Crisis: Razing Storm, Review Sony PS3
Remember when games were tough? When you'd spend hours trying to master the split second timing to complete a jump on Manic Miner or days building up your skills and knowledge of a dizzy egg game so that you could get closer to completing it? No? Don't remember? Well not to worry as Namco have finally made the decision to bring the brutally brilliant Demon's Souls to the UK, so now we can all relive the sanity wrecking difficulty of old school gaming but along with the glitzy graphics of the PlayStation 3. Demon's Souls is a thunderously audacious game that demands a lot from the modern player, but those patient and brave enough to take it on will be rewarded with a gaming experience unlike any other available. But be warned, it won't make it easy for you.
Continue reading: Demon's Soul, Review Sony PS3
By the beard of Zeus! Perseus is on the PS3! A movie tie-in of epic proportions, Clash of the Titans mines the ever reliable depths of Greek mythology to bring a cornucopia of classical creatures to life and then swiftly to death. Encompassing a basic combat system that tries to emulate the hack-n-slash excitement of fellow Grecian Kratos, but falls short by lacking enough variety to make it more than casually engaging, Clash of the Titans is an entertaining but repetitive romp that'll certainly keep fans of the film happy.
Continue reading: Clash of the Titans, Review Sony PS3
The undeniable success of Beatles Rock Band and Metallica Guitar Hero has shown that rhythm action games that celebrate the works of one band can be fun, entertaining and profitable. I mean, who wouldn't want to breeze through a rendition of 'Here Comes the Sun' with a few friends or to rip it up with a run through of the heavy metal stormer 'Battery' with some boozed up buddies. So when Activision announced they were bringing out a Guitar Hero dedicated to Van Halen, I couldn't help but wonder why?
Do people even listen to Van Halen anymore? Their brand of stadium filling 80s 'cock-rock' seems about as irrelevant to today's musical climate as you can get. Even at their heyday they only had a handful of decent tunes, surely not enough to dedicate an entire game to on the already bloated Guitar Hero franchise. So why does this game exist at all? Can there really be enough die-hard Van Halen fans in the world to financially support this release? Even with the vast amounts of non-Halen filler songs that litter this game (tenuously chosen by the young 17 year old Wolfgang Van Halen and consisting mainly of awful pop-punk and middle of the road American rock) it is hard to imagine anyone caring enough to pay full whack for what, content wise, would have been better suited as a download pack rather than a full release.
Continue reading: Van Halen Guitar Hero, Review Sony PS3
Review of MAG on Sony PS3
MAG, standing for Massive Action Game, is a game based around a single, very impressive idea. 256 players online, fighting at any one time. This sounds genuinely fantastic- a console has never seen this number of players going at the same time, and it shows a lot of ambition to even attempt it.It goes against what has been somewhat of a paradigm shift in the industry over the past few years, what with Microsoft announcing Natal and Nintendo's continued success with the Wii, it seems like bigger is no longer better; people don't care about polygon counts quite as much as they used to. The AAA titles, the Modern Warfares and the Halos are no longer judged on frame rates or even length, they're judged on script, on gameplay, on replayability.
Continue reading: MAG, Review PS3
Read Daniel Howard's Review of Lego Rock Band. Reviewed on Sony PS3.
I've never understood the recent trend for 'legoifying' popular franchises. We've had Star Wars Lego games, Indiana Jones Lego game and soon Harry Potter will succumb to the Danish blocks, and it has always seemed to me to be an exercise in combining two great things together to make something rather mediocre, if briefly entertaining. But I guess until the popularity for Lego branded video games ends and the money stops coming in, we're gonna see a lot more of them. Cue Lego Rock Band, a game that attempts to combine the 'fun for all the family' ethic and iconic aesthetic of the Lego brand with the hugely successful rhythm action of Rock Band but ultimately (you guessed it) creates something not quite as good as either.
As a rhythm action game it plays pretty much identically to its more mature cousin, allowing up to 4 players to strum, bash and wail their way through a varied medley of well known (and lesser known) songs. To do this, a cavalcade of colourful blocks fall down a fret board and players must tap and strum the same coloured buttons when the blocks hits the bottom. It's a beautifully simple idea and one I'm sure most people are familiar with due to the meteoric success of Rock Band and its nemesis Guitar Hero. The winning formula remains the same here although somehow feels a lot less satisfying than its predecessors. Button patterns generally seem to correspond less to the audio you are hearing and feel slightly unresponsive at times (even after a calibration), which sullies the 'rock star' feeling found in other games. The visuals also fall too far on the side of cutesy to ever be described as spectacular, giving the whole experience a much tamer feel than the similar titles. Though I guess for a family oriented title, it's to be expected.
Ultimately however, the relative success and failure of any Rock Band game is always going to come down to the actual songs chosen by the creators for you to play. If no one likes the songs, no one is going to want to play the game. Here the selection is limited to forty five 'family friendly' tunes and to be fair it's a pretty mixed bag. There are some absolute classics (Let's Dance by David Bowie anyone?) and some real stinkers (KT Tunstall) as well as a worrying prevalence of pop-punk and middle of the road rock which, although not appealing to me, will definitely appeal to younger players and stays well within the acceptability of mum and dad. Not all the songs are actually great to play on the guitar however, a lot of the more modern songs are pretty repetitive, especially on lower difficulty levels, and the songs I wanted to play never really felt as good as I thought they would in theory. The addition of a 'super easy' difficult level also opens the game open to the younger market as successful completion of the songs only requires a few abstractly timed strums and no button presses. But bear in mind however that expert still remains extremely difficult.
Keeping in theme with the rest of the franchise, Lego Rock Band is choc-a-block with customizability options, unlocks, upgrades and collectables. You can customize your own rock den, tour bus and the appearance of every band member in your motley crew (no pun intended, they've no place in a family game). Unlocking new instruments as well as artist likenesses such as Iggy Pop and David Bowie add a nice collectable element and make for a good step for introducing your youngsters into 'real music'.
It worries me how much I sound like my dad in this review, but I think that's the point. As a game for adults who are fans of Rock Band and want to play it with their kids in a more accessible way, it succeeds hands down. As a game to be played on its own for its own merits, it is just above average due its limited scope and small set list. Quite simply, it's not as much fun as real Lego or real Rock Band
6.5 out of 10
Brutal Legend Screenshots
Preview of 'rockin' new game from EA Brutal Legend
For Those About to Rock (We Salute You)!!
Continue reading: Brutal Legend Preview - PlayStation 3, Xbox 360
Read our Sony Playstation 3 Review of New Horror Shooter F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin
Continue reading: F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Review PS3
A preview of Fracture from Lucas Arts
LucasArts has partnered with Day 1 Studios of Chicago to bring you Fracture a third person shooter set in 2161 in a dystopian USA.
Continue reading: Fracture preview, Lucas Arts
Read our review of Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots on the Sony PS3
Continue reading: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots, Review, PS3
Watch videos for Kung Fu Panda, The Game - From Activision Continue reading: Kung Fu Panda, The Game, Activision
Watch videos for Kung Fu Panda, The Game - From Activision
Continue reading: Kung Fu Panda, The Game, Activision
Dark Sector is a first person shooter that lands you in the role of `Hayden Tenno' a secret, yet elite, agent operative sent out into the Eastern Bloc in the wake of the Cold War. Unfortunately this mission seems to have been a one way trip as a dark secret has been swept under the old Cold War rug. You are attacked by a mysterious enemy having neutralised a diseased member of previously deployed unit. However, death does not come and you awaken alone and altered. Whatever the mysterious assailant has infected you with, it has mutated to give you inhuman skills and abilities. Throughout the game these powers get stronger and Tenno must learn to assimilate them, not only to survive, but to avenge his abandoning.
You start with a brief yet good looking cut scene and move into a prologue that lets you get to grips with the controls. The learning curve is just about right, with the basics given in prompts and other features (such as picking up ammo and reloading) left to you to work out for yourself. Learning by doing as they say. The controls, specifically the camera and first person, over-the-shoulder view initially seem overly sensitive but you will quickly get to grips with this and once you have done, the controls seem pretty tight and smooth. A plus, in my eyes at least, is that the initial cut scene doesn't explain every single aspect of what is going on. Quite the opposite, you are not treated like a recently lobotomised squirrel instead you are left to figure out what is going on and therefore the plot is left to develop like any decent feature film, giving you more of a chance of being hooked.
Once infected you are left to fend off many a mutated creature and random Russian soldiers. (Pesky Russians, its always them.) Dark Sector is brilliantly gory and thoroughly deserving of its 18+ rating. The main reason for this resolves around the source of your attack. Once infected, your primary weapon is the `Glaive', a three pronged boomerang type blade which is razor sharp. The camera zooms in on the Glaive as soon as it is thrown which allows you to control the direction of its attack as it lops of heads, limbs, extremities and anything else it finds in its path. What follows is bloody, very bloody. However, its not all good. The Glaive is controlled by the PS3 pad motion sensor, which is inaccurate at best. This can be quite frustrating at best and completely anger inducing annoying at worst. Worst still, I persevered with this before realising after a good couple of hours in that you could change this control to the d-pad. That pretty much hacked me off too. You might say that is my own fault for not paying attention to detail. don't. Whilst you have a vast area of weaponry to choose from, I can't see any reason to use them once in possession of the Glaive. This weaponry can only be carried in small numbers, say two guns and a handful of grenades, which may be realistic but certainly isn't fun.
The graphics and sound are good and definitely what we have come to expect from the PS3 as a rule. The title looks well and the sounds & score add to the suspense of the game, but nothing here is ground breaking or new. You can apply this to the game-play as well. This is, in general, a run of the mill first person suspense shooter, with a cool boomerang knife weapon thrown in to mix things up a little within a standard plot structure that features inhuman creatures and those damn pesky Russians.
7.5 out of 10
Army of Two does exactly what it says on the tin. You are part of a two-man cell acting on behalf of the private sector military, guns for hire if you will. You begin the title as you finish your army career in the US Rangers before being picked up by the corporate militia as mercenaries available to the highest bidder. You can choose to play as either Tyson Rios or Elliott Salem as you are sent to many of the World's hotspots to search and destroy or rescue targets. It soon appears that plans are afoot to discredit the armed forces in order for private security firms to provide protection to the world. This mirrors certain real world accusations, `Blackwater' immediately springs to mind and it is to EA's credit that they create such a topical and believable storyline.
Continue reading: Army of Two - Review PS3, Ea Games
In Burnout Paradise we see an evolutionary step on the Burnout franchise. In place of your standard linear pre defined races, we see `Paradise City', a sprawling urban conurbation just waiting for you to explore it. Think Grand Theft Auto if it was solely about the cars and not the random maiming.
Rather than collecting medals are we saw in previous Burnout titles, the aim of the game is to complete various tasks in order to build up your current driving license before advancing to the next license in due course. Paradise City itself is split up into eight separate sectors of roads, shortcuts, underpasses, bridges and rail tracks and could take a fair while to explore in its entirety. This said, it is worth doing as if you enter into a task or struggle to read the map properly, it is quite easy to make a wrong turning or end of embedded in bridge support. Task over. Your tasks will vary from `Showtime' [a variation of `Crash Mode' from previous Burnout incarnations] which entails you stringing together stunts, jumps and crashes over any course you find and can blast your way through; `Marked Man' [See a variation of Pursuit mode previously] where you attempt to get from point 'a' to point `b' whilst other vehicles do their utmost to derail you; standard races; `Road rage' see you attempting to create as much carnage as possible before your own vehicle and a few others too. You are also responsible for unlocking your own new vehicles, not in the normal manner via attaining a certain level of competition, but by seeing the car drive past you, chasing it and destroying it. This is thoroughly fun and has you changing from wandering nomad to bloodthirsty predator in a split second. If you are one crash away from wiping out or out of nitro, then pop into the repair shop or gas station for a tune up-slash-refill which will have you as good as new.
So how well do the in-games fit into the free roaming environment? Being hyper critical and a fan of previous Burnout titles, whilst the level of destruction is satisfying you don't get the multi car pile ups that you used to get particularly in Crash mode. The pile ups are mainly gone but the linking of stunts and crashes is highly appealing. Maybe I am being slightly nostalgic then, but perhaps there was room for both? On top of this, because the city is theoretically split into three vertical levels [the top level may include highways, bridges, etc whilst the middle tier may be street level, whilst the lower tier could be subways or the like] it can be rather difficult to make head-nor-tail of the map, specifically at high speed. Speaking of high speed, we are talking `uber' velocity with 60 frames per second which is almost flawlessly incorporated into online gaming as well. Having digressed, my last beef is that you will have to wait for any event you start to finish before you can restart it again. This can be particularly frustrating id you wipe out half way through a race meaning that you have little to no chance of winning and you have to travel a couple of miles back to the start line.
Negatives aside, let's have some more things to be positive about. Though about as a appealing as all DJ's, Paradise City's `DJ Attomica' joins you on your car stereo, however in a nice change from the norm he actually gives you some useful hints on gameplay and finding your way around. The online facility is excellent not only because it maintain the frame-rate, not because you can custom race a fair few of your friends online, not because you can also compare stats with your mate, but mainly because the integration of your off-line game and online game is seamless. If you turn on your t'internet connection the stats and links to `friends' online is automatic. As the game is free-roaming, you can challenge and be challenged at any time.
Burnout Paradise has a raw intensity to it that will get your pulse racing, the graphics are top notch and the selection of tunes for your radio, are not annoying as in similar titles. For these reasons as well as for all those mentioned earlier, Burnout Paradise makes it into the slowly growing bang of `must have' PS3 titles.
8.5 out of 10
Tiger Woods PGA Tour
Ridge Racer 7
Review Platstation 3
The last version of the Ridge Racer series I played was the PSP version and I thoroughly enjoyed it. However, the last release of Ridge Racer was version 6 which was released on the Xbox 360. Playstation 3 has also been released (as are all Sony consoles) with a new version of Ridge Racer. The drift style of racing is unique to the series, while everyone else strives for realistic handling you can always depend on Ridge Racer for an authentic and fun arcade experience.
It's worth mentioning from the start that most of the tracks in Ridge Racer 7 are the same as those in version 6 on the 360. But I doubt this will cause much of a problem for the Sony faithful as anyone looking to buy this game will have held out for the PS3 or bought both consoles, but not necessarily bought the 360 version of the game and held out for the PS3 version. Whatever the case Ridge Racer 7 has quite a few immediately noticeable changes such as slipstreaming and car customisation which will give players of Ridge Racer 6 something new, but you may get a feeling of déjà vu. For everyone else it's a great new addition to the Ridge Racer family.
If for some reason you have never played Ridge Racer before you may find the handling completely uncontrollable or very old fashioned as the game insists on a certain style of driving, take your foot off the gas, turn into the corner, put your foot on the gas and drift through the corner. If you make the slightest mistake in timing or have your car pointing slightly out of direction on the way out of the corner you are likely to end in a spin or just find yourself sliding hopelessly all over the track.
Cars come in a number of different guises. For the beginner there are the cars with mild drift, they are pretty well stuck to the road and don't take too much control to get them back on the straight and narrow. On the other end of the scale are the dynamic drift cars which turn in incredibly quickly and require more skill to bring the car out of the slide. These cars can even catch out the best of Ridge Racer drivers at times.
Drifting has a very good side effect, so long as you drift at high speed your boost meter will start to fill up. There are three levels of boost, you can choose to use the boost straight away or save up for a double or triple. Ridge Racer 7's new trick is slip streaming which is very effective and can help you spread out those boosts. To slip stream you have to get right behind another car (this can be from quite a distance initially) you will start to accelerate faster and get a higher top speed. The closer you get to the car in front of you, the more effective the slip stream becomes and the faster you will go.
A new addition to Ridge Racer 7 is the customisation of cars. Now you can take your car and buy a whole host of extras to improve its performance. Body kits make your car look good, engine upgrades increase top speed, nitrous upgrades changes the way your nitrous meter works. Other upgrades that relate to the cars handling such as tyres and suspension don't have such an effect and can be left out.
The Ridge State Gran Prix is the main mode. Here you will have to try out for a team. First you will be offered a number of try outs, then go for the one you would most like to drive for and try to finish first. Once accepted you will be given a car. Now you have to establish relationships with parts makers. To do this you need you take part in the races and start winning events, as you progress you will unlock races that will unlock the ability to buy new car parts. Then you need to start trying to use a specific maker's parts and earn points with them. These points can be used for discount on the additional parts.
In usual Ridge Racer fashion the number of tracks available is fairly limited, but by Ridge Racer standards it's pretty good at 21. To stretch the number all tracks are available in reverse which is a given for Ridge Racer. The real longevity comes with the online game which supports up to 14 players.
Graphically Ridge Racer isn't a slouch by any means but it is best viewed in HD, where as MotorStorm looks fantastic in both standard and hi def formats. You can expect a similar look to Ridge Racer 6 on the 360 except the PS3's graphics are sharper and clearer. Best view in the house is the in car view, the worst is probably the replay as you see cars move in an unnatural and awkward way around corners.
Ridge Racer 7 is another great addition to the family and the first "proper" racing game for the PS3. At the end of the day it is another Ridge Racer that has been overhauled for another console release, it's not perfect but it is fun and a great pick up and play game. A great formula and surely the reason it has kept going for all these years.
8 out of 10
Review Playstation 3
Paris Dakar meets Mad Max meets Demolition Derby is probably the best way to describe what MotorStorm is all about. If you don't know anything about the Paris Dakar you should look it up now. In a nut shell it's a whole variety of vehicles ranging in size from a motor bike to gargantuan trucks tearing through the dessert attempting to cross the finish line first.
Certainly one of the most anticipated releases for the Sony Playstation 3 probably in no small part due to the way it looks. It demonstrates what the PS3 is capable of even in these early days of development and I have to say it looks awesome, certainly the best next generation game I have seen graphically.
MotorStorm's concept is a great number of different types of vehicles racing around huge areas of dessert with a spattering of dirt and mud. All the tracks feature a multitude of different routes; some favour the larger vehicles while others favour the smaller vehicles like the bikes and ATV's. In simple terms, higher ground is good for the smaller vehicles which cope best with fairly smooth ground and large jumps and drops, while the lowest and usually muddiest routes favour the largest vehicles.
The ability to finely tune the route you take for your vehicle adds another dimension to the racing. Generally its easier to use the larger vehicles to start with as they are best suited to the lowest areas of the course, you don't have to worry about falling off the edge of the road, whereas racing along a narrow ridge in a fast vehicle requires far more skill. You are not penalised heavily for falling off, you may just get slowed down by the mud, but at the next available opportunity you will be able to make your way up to higher ground again.
As if this wasn't enough to be dealing with you will have to negotiate your competitors as they try to ram you off the road. You've really got to stay clear of the big trucks that will act first and ask questions later. You have to be a bit more careful with the small more delicate cars and bikes, if you ram someone too hard you will not just make their vehicle a wreck, you will also wreck your own and risk turn into a huge fireball.
The last thing worth mentioning is the boost. MotorStorm deals with boost in a slightly different way to most games. The boost is always available, but if you boost too much and force the boost meter into the red you run a very high risk of blowing up your engine. There are sections of all tracks where the boost will be more advantageous than others, by the time you have been through the most technical areas of a track your boost meter will have dropped right back to normal. Of course there are some tracks where you would boost all the time, if you could.
MotorStorm is graphically the most impressive console game I have ever seen running. Usually when consoles are released the standard of graphics is pretty shabby, for a first effort MotorStorm lets you see what is possible on the PS3 and only makes you think of what games will be looking like 12 months down the road when programmers are more comfortable with the PS3 architecture.
However, MotorStorm is not without problems. The frame rate has a tendency to dip slightly when the action gets particularly crowded, this is probably why split screen racing have been omitted from the menu. You do get the kind of nasty texture appear or very occasionally a small black hole. This doesn't have an effect the game play at all, and any minor blemish is only visible for a fraction of a second.
The rest of the game looks stunning throughout. The vehicles have a massive amount of detail and even the drivers are extremely well detailed even though you don't see them most of the time, unless you select motor bike or ATV to use. Even more stunning than the vehicles themselves are the crashes and the way cars and bikes explode on impact with standing obstacles. Each crash and explosion is totally unique, but for me one the most amazing effects is the fire, it's so realistic in opaqueness, movement and colour. If you have a crash with less force you will see damage from bent axles, to deformed bumpers and chipped paint. By the end of the race your car will be hardly recognisable due to the huge amount of dirt collected on every inch of the bodywork.
While the tracks aren't quiet as exciting to look at as the vehicles they are impressive all the same. The background scenery is like a photographic masterpiece, but what makes the tracks so realistic are all the colourful lighting effects. When you drive through the mud you will leave tracks which will glisten in the sun light through the smog like dust storm left by the rest of the field. Wherever you look you will see something new and beautiful looking.
Sound is pretty good, personally I think they could have given the vehicles a slightly louder and rougher note but they sound great all the same. The smashing, crunching and booming noises are all very realistic and put you right in the action. Motorstorm features lots of heavy rock music from the likes or Nirvana, Slipknot, Wolfmother and Queens of the Stone Age.
For me MotorStorm was a great surprise, it looks far better than I ever thought it would, it plays far better than I expected and it's a great "pick up and play" game that we don't see enough of these days. If you want another game for your PS3 this definitely should be it if you haven't already got it, as in my opinion it is one of the must own games for the PS3 along with Resistance.
8 out of 10