It’s not every day you play a game so amazing that it forces you to run out and buy a new £1000 TV, but such a thing happened to me last week when I went hands-on with Motorstorm: Apocalypse. For over a decade the Burnout series has had a stranglehold on the destructible racing genre; however I can officially announce that their reign is over thanks to Evolution Studios.
Seeing Motorstorm Apocalypse run in stereoscopic 3D is a breath-taking experience. Evolution has somehow managed to craft a racing game that is more thrilling than most action/adventure titles. The two-track demo that I played was packed to the brim with destructible environments and jaw dropping set pieces. The first track was absolute chaos and had me tearing down the street with explosions and carnage happening right in front me. The ground soon gave way from underneath my vehicle, forcing me in to a dimly lit underground parking lot and before long I was driving through collapsing office buildings and subway tunnels. The second track which was shown to the public for the first time was a slightly less crazy but perfectly demonstrated how courses can alter from lap to lap.
The games amazing graphics serves to intensify the experience as both the vehicles and the ever-changing environments look gorgeous. Many consider games like Forza 3 and Gran Turismo 5 to be the graphical pinnacle for racers but I’m going to go out on a limb and say Motorstorm Apocalypse is more visually appealing than them both. There is just so much awesomeness on display here which makes all other racers seem sterile in comparison. Each lap introduces additional hazards as the terrain changes and new paths open up so there is never a dull moment. Those who own 3D TVs will certainly get the most out of the game as the extra dimension allows players to fully immerse themselves in the game world. Natural instincts will have you moving your head to avoid rubble, dirt clouds, pedestrians and other objects which frequently fly towards to screen. The 3D effects also increase the sense of scale in the game world and make the already stunning graphics look even better.
As with the previous Motorstorm games, the driving mechanics in Apocalypse centers around boosting. Boosting is the key to success however doing so too much will cause your vehicles to overheat and explode. Driving across water will help to cool your engine down, as will letting go of the accelerator whilst airborne. In terms of handling the folks at Evolution Studios clearly went for “fun” rather than “realism”, making Apocalypse accessible to both new comers and racing vets. Almost any competent gamer will be able to compete at the head of the pack after just a few minutes of practice. The Motorstorm series is known for having multiple branching paths and Apocalypse is no different. Finding the most efficient route to take requires a bit of practice but nothing too strenuous.
As you may have gathered I absolutely love Motorstorm Apocalypse. In my opinion the Burnout flame has started to burn out and Evolution Studios now holds the flaming torch. Apocalypse is shaping up to be the best racing game of this generation; I will be counting down the days until its February release.