Motorstorm: Apocalypse Hands-On

By Jamie Feltham on September 23, 2010, 8:04AM EDT

You know for a racing game, MotorStorm: Apocalypse is pretty topical; we're bored of the post-apocalyptic setting, so here's a game that's happening during the apocalypse itself. And just how is this freak event occurring? Well global warming of course! The guys at Evolution Studios obviously wanted to tackle some very deep issues while you rip through buildings and fly off the rooftops of Apocalypse's new urban setting.

So after muddy deserts, tropical forests, and snowy mountains we find ourselves here, in a crumbling, evacuated city, filled with hazards that only the most insane of people would try and drive through. So why not bring a festival there?

If you're not familiar with MotorStorm by now, think Burnout meets extreme environments and well you pretty much have it. Your mission is to win the race while avoiding getting blown up by your opponents or anything else. Simple really, but it paves the way for some great fun.

We got to sit down for a lap at GamesCom this year, sporting a rally car as we charged down the empty streets, our engine roars slicing through the silence. The first and most basic thing to get out of the way is that the handling is still easy and fun; I've played all the MotorStorm games and found myself right at home with this sequel. It's not especially deep as all you have to do is watch you don't overheat from boosting and break in time for turns, but then it's not meant to be a Gran Turismo style sim.

Actually, there wasn't much in the way of corners for this map, it was more or less a straight line to the end, but oh how we got there. Within 5 seconds of starting a huge lorry rips in front of our path, forcing us to swerve aside and marvel at an explosion.

Take that and rinse and repeat; this one race threw everything but the kitchen sink at us with the very floor crumbling from beneath the wheels at one point. Apocalypse clearly takes inspiration from the heart-pumping moments of Modern Warfare or Uncharted 2. We barely had time to breathe before something else came our way, like a building falling over our heads or a helicopter smacking into a brick wall. And the maps stay like this too, giving each and every race the potential to be different from the last.

Plus there's the mind-numbing sense of speed. It feels like a mile a minute; rocketing down a street is a thrill all in itself and it doesn't give much time for "ooohs" and "aaahs". The race even headed underground through sewage pipes, batting down crates and throwing water high into the air.

After all the chaos, I left MotorStorm filled with excitement about the potential this sequel had; the whole game is looking smooth and when we think about what it could look like in 3D, well that gets us tingling even more.

If we had any reservations at this point in time, it would come in the form of track variety. As mentioned at the start, this race was just a straight line, feeling more like a tech demo for all the destruction than a competitive racer. We're hoping later tracks will flesh things out a bit more, especially when we get to see a few more vehicles.

Apocalypse is one of the many, many games slated for an early 2011 release. We guess that's because Sony have racing fans covered this Christmas with a certain other racing title.

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