The game takes place in an apocalyptic urban area called The City where buildings crumble and people run for their lives as the Motorstorm Festival nonchalantly rolls into town. The end of the world is nigh, but these racers just don't care. The pre-alpha code we played took place on one unnamed level that was set right in the heart of the city. The action was hypnotically chaotic, with sky-scrapers crashing to the ground all around us leaving clouds of smoke smearing our view, darkened subways crumbling as we zipped under them sending debris tumbling toward our windscreens and vehicles flying through the air in our peripheral vision as if they'd been hurled by King Kong himself. And all this while an earthquake tears through the streets encouraging us to ride faster and harder in fear of being swallowed up by the Earth. Visually, it was nothing short of spectacular.
This course showed off the simple game mechanics. You can boost with the ‘X’ button at any time during the race, making sure you don’t over-heat, and you can smash other riders out of the way with the bumpers which makes for an aggressive race. It's accessible, the controls are tight and the feeling of speed is emphasised incredibly by the chaotic scenes around you. This particular map lasted about 1 minute 50 seconds and was a straight race from A to B through the city streets, with a few multiple paths that you could follow.
There's a few scripted set-pieces to look out for, including a lorry that lands smack back the middle of the road making you swerve out the way mid-race, so on our second lap we were already able to shave quite a few seconds of our lap time by knowing what was coming up. Nevertheless, this is a busy environment with plenty going on to try and put you off your race and one lapse of concentration saw us clipping the edge of building or spiralling out of control. You can see the chaos in your peripheral vision, but you’re concentrating so intensely on your driving and avoiding debris and obstacles that it's hard to take it all in. When we sat back to watch other people play, the crumbling city really is a sight to behold. Based on this one level, it's already clear to see that Motorstorm Apocalypse is going to be one of the most intense, cinematic and exciting racing games for have ever graced Sony's console.
Update - It's currently unknown whether MotorStorm: Apocalypse will be delayed due to the tsunami in Japan. PlayStation Universe has this fresh gameplay footage showing a level called 'Waves of Mutilation' which shows a race through a tsunami.