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Monday, 20 October 2008

MotorStorm: Pacific Rift Demo: Impressions

Title: MotorStorm: Pacific Rift
Publisher: SCEA
Developer: Evolution Studios
Demo Release Date: October 16th (Non Qore)
Release Date of final game: October 28th (NA), November 7th (EU)
Size: 617 MB

Introduction: Following up on the flawed (but generally positively received) launch title "MotorStorm", Evolution Studios return to the racing genre with the inevitable sequel, MotorStorm: Pacific Rift. Once again, rather than discussing the virtues of the game itself, we focus on the demo; noting its specific qualities in an attempt to gauge whether or not it has served the collective purpose of not only driving interest in the final product, but being a self-contained unit to be enjoyed and deleted when finished.

Of course this demo is not necessarily something new, considering it was originally available for Qore subscribers back in September but us mere Outer Qore members however now get our chance to race around a tropical setting avoiding pit-falls and the hyper-competitive nature of our fellow racers.

Initial impressions: Of course you can't judge a demo without commenting on the quality of the final game its representing so let's just say that the MotorStorm 2 (easier that writing Pacific Rift all the time) gameplay presented is polished, fun and mighty purty. The graphics have received a noticeable upgrade with frame-rates and effects all appearing smoother and in greater detail respectively. Speaking of upgrades, this author also noticed some considerable tweaks to the bike handling with driving at lower speeds now no longer akin to almost getting trapped in a perpetual circle due to over sensitive controls. It's a small point but it's worth noting as it was a personal peeve from the first game.

From a gameplay perspective we get one track (Rain God Spires) which actually harks back to the original demo course with the twists, turns and dead-falls not a million miles away from how the Mesa track played. We get eight vehicles comprising of a bike, a monster truck, two buggys, two racing trucks and a couple of rally cars for good measure. Most importantly (for some), we get two-player split screen action; a mode long maligned as being painfully absent from the original game. Quite sizeable for a demo but, considering it's just one track, the balance is kept in check. It should be noted however that two laps is noticably short when it comes to actual race-time.

A final nod is given to the music selected for the demo as, once again, the developers have chosen some excellent pounding tracks to keep the adrenaline pulsing. With Pendulum's "Slam" featuring heavily in the first demo, I definitely noticed the heavy riffs of Ministry permeating this outing.

Who's Going To Like This: Fans of the first MotorStorm obviously but also those who enjoy fast-paced racing fun in a bite-sized format. In fact, fans of Burnout should also give it a whirl considering the crashes (to us at least) appear more cinematic in nature than before. Let us know if you agree with this assessment in the comments.

Interest Radar: The MotorStorm 2 demo excels where the Mercenaries 2 demo crashed and burned. There is just enough content here to pique your interest, it shows off the game's qualities without muddying the waters (pun intended) with superfluous game modes, vehicles or objectives and delivers with the "fun" element. Once again, size shouldn't be an issue, but it's nice to note that the moderate download shouldn't cause many people to wait for hours in order to check it out.

The MotorStorm: Pacific Rift demo is rated as a Category 4 storm, missing out on the ultimate classification of a Cat 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale purely because the actual time presented per race is quite short and the track doesn't show off much of the often reported destructive environment factor. Considering a Category 4 will still pick up your house and relocate it to a different country, this demo is highly recommended.

Remember: demo impressions are based on the demo and not on the game. Great games have been known to have lousy demos, with the opposite also holding true.

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