The Average Gamer

Celebrating MotorStorm

BAFTA recently have been pushing their video gaming agenda further and one of the events in March was the BAFTA Celebrating Video Games event, showcasing MotorStorm Apocalypse. This took place at the VUE Cinema in Westfield shopping mall. The night started off with a very interesting show and tell from the developers Evolution Studios. This really highlighted the thought that goes into a game, especially when you are entering the third in a series.

The main design challenge the developers faced was how to top their first two MotorStorm games without just making yet another racing game. There are still tracks but, to take it another stage further, the world is falling apart. In a break from the previous games, you are actually racing in a city for a change. The twist is that this city is slowly being destroyed by natural disasters. These cause roads to drop, buildings to collapse and general mayhem while you are trying to beat other players. As you can imagine this makes for interesting racing and directly influences your play style. Rather unfortunately, the original release date was the same week as the well-known Japanese earthquake. You can see why Sony chose to postpone the release, hey?

Besides the environmental changes, there was also an interesting addition for multiplayer gameplay. While there’s the usual 4-player split-screen and online playing, they have also introduced the ability to bet on the outcome of races. You can bet against others, but also yourself. So if you know you are outclassed, you can still get ahead by betting that another player will win.

During the night, the main cinema screen was open for anyone to try the game out, with the highest scores being entered into a competition. Now, there’s something amazing about seeing any game on a screen the size of 4 double-decker buses however, MotorStorm suited this even more than I expected. With the massive screen and the amazing sound system, it was hard not to swerve in your seat trying to dodge the virtual cars.

To ensure people were not left out, Sony provided some more consoles to try the game on, but this time in 3D. I’ve always wondered if 3D would actually bring anything to a game and in this case it definitely does. The perspective gives far more visibility of the obstacles ahead of you, helping you plan where you are going to go. Since the whole environment is falling apart around you, this really does help avoid the collapsing city.

Getting in on the act was Nintendo as well; they had a large area marked off to demonstrate the new 3DS. This proved to be more popular than the Sony area, with a queue outside to get in. Once inside, there were plenty of 3DS handheld consoles to try out. I only spent some time playing Star Wars, and will admit the 3D did work quite well. The problem I have is that I can’t see a use for purpose built handhelds in this day and age. Sony have at least thought this through and released the Xperia PLAY.

The event as a whole was a good night, but it did lead to a thought: what are the best games suited to the cinema screen? Clearly racers are pretty good, but what else would work? I know a lot of people would suggest first person shooters, but I’m not so sure if a game like Call of Duty would work very well on a screen that size. Now, survival horrors strike me as a really good game to play on this type of screen. Imagine playing Dead Space 2, or even the original Silent Hill games on a dark, large screen and very good surround sound to freak you out.

If you could rent out a cinema screen for gaming, what would you want to play?