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September 3 2008
MotorStorm: Pacific Rift - PS3 Preview
Release Date Distributer Publisher Developer
13/11/2008SonySonyEvolution Studios
Offline Players Online players Price Anticipation
1-42-16$109.95
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Racing along the beach.
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Getting some air on the quad bike.

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Not the best looking screen, admittedly.
When the PS3 launched there were two must have titles. Insomniac's shooter Resistance: Fall of Man and Evolution Studios' racer MotorStorm. The latter title has proven to be the most popular with 3.44 million units sold to date (it is currently the third biggest seller on PS3 behind Grand Theft Auto IV and Call of Duty 4). Eighteen months on and the sequel, MotorStorm Pacific Rift, is set to be unleashed with more vehicles, more tracks and an entirely new setting.

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Vehicles in MotorStorm 2 look great.
Certainly the biggest change from the original title is the change in setting for Pacific Rift. As the title suggests tracks are no longer located around the deserts and massive rock formations in Monument Valley but races now take place on a jungle filled tropical island in the Pacific. Pacific Rift includes 16 tracks in total (double the number from the first game) with each track containing obstacles which may include things such as thick swamps, fast flowing rivers, dense jungle, towering peaks, steaming volcanoes and searing hot lava pools.

This sequel includes 8 vehicle classes in total including Bikes, ATVs, Buggies, Rally Cars, Racing trucks, Mud Pluggers and Big Rigs from the first game and the all new Monster Trucks for this sequel. Monster Trucks are fast and can easily drive over smaller vehicles causing much mayhem, but due to their top-heavy nature are also prone to easily roll over.

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Check out the tyre track.
There are several other new features in this game. An all new rating system is being implemented so that it's no longer all about winning the race, but how you perform during them. It will also be possible to take a snapshot using the photo mode to show off your biggest crashes to the world. A Free Play mode allows you to create your own race tickets to race how you want to. Finally Pacific Rift includes improved actions with new controls to punch, duck and ram the opposition during races.

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Taunting the opposition...
While the single player game is well and goo it's the multi-player modes where MotorStorm: Pacific Rift comes into its own with a heavy focus on the online multi-player component of the game. This was one of the most impressive aspects of the original title, and this game aims to repeat that success with 16-player online races.

But what happens if you have some friends around and want something to do. Well Evolution Studios have that covered as well with the inclusion of a 4-player split-screen mode.

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Destruction in Motorstorm Pacific Rift.
Visually it's hard to say how well this game is progressing. Videos seen to date are mostly either target renders or so early that many effects still aren't in place. Still, seeing what Evolution Studios did with the first game we don't have any doubt that this game should be one of the best seen on the console to date. Let's hope the most important aspect - the frame rate - holds steady.

Motorstorm: Pacific Rift will have a hard time this Christmas. EA's Burnout Revenge is still proving itself with long legs and very impressive updates from Criterion, Disney's Pure looks very entertaining, and there are a host of other games ready to capture our gaming dollars as well. Still, the first game proved what Evolution Studios were capable of, and this game should redefine that this November.