November 16, 2006 - To be prepared for the official launch of the PlayStation 3 tomorrow, Sony has finally unleashed its PlayStation Network on countries outside of Japan. Aside from being able to snatch up a handful of cool usernames, we've been able to hit up the PlayStation Store to see what demos, trailers and more await us.
One of the demos ready to go for Day 1 is http://ps3.ign.com/objects/748/748488.html, Sony's much hyped and ballyhooed off-road racer. The game initially made its debut in the form of a concept trailer during the E3 2005 unveiling of the PlayStation 3. Many questioned whether or not the real game would ever look anything even close to said trailer, but amazingly enough the team is coming damn close.
There aren't as many bits of mud and such flying around, and the super-sweet behind-the-windshield camera view isn't present, but the visuals look pretty close otherwise. The lighting is fantastic, as smooth and realistic as we've seen of any next-gen game to date and the physics system is chaotic goodness.
Happily, the biggest improvement that we've seen in the latest demo is that the game runs at a smooth framerate now. The downloadable demo contains nearly the same content that you'll find playable at PlayStation 3 kiosks today, but it runs much better. We'd always been hopeful that Sony would be able to get the game running at a nice clip, and it's finally reached that point.
The game still isn't quite as fast as we hope the final version will be, or at least we hope that some of the later vehicles are quicker than what's in the demo. It's not that they feel altogether slow, but in the days of Burnout, speed is king and we're not quite ready to pledge our allegiance yet. The first-person or close-up views certainly help, but the far-away camera is great for viewing every bit of a crash.
The level in the demo, Raingod Mesa, is the same track that we'd played in Tokyo (check out our hands-on http://ps3.ign.com/articles/740/740632p1.html). It's brutal and difficult if you aren't careful, punishing you for taking turns too quickly by throwing you off the edge of a cliff. The track is good fun, but we're itching to try something new.
The MotorStorm demo is currently available for download on the PlayStation Store, so if you manage to snag yourself a PS3 then be sure to check it out.
Thanks to http://ps3.ign.com/articles/746/746523p1.html for sharing the news with us!