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MotorStorm - updated hands-on

We've seen hundreds of off-road racers before, but we've never seen one with the realism and high-speed intensity of MotorStorm, which keeps looking better and better as it moves closer to release. We've been ripping through an unfinished version of the full game for a little while now, and we're more impressed with it - and the PS3 - than ever.

When it hits in spring, MotorStorm will enable players to tear their way through a muddy, incredibly dangerous racing festival in the mesa-studded desert of Monument Valley - think of it as Burning Man for speed freaks. The demo, which you might have played already, limits players to trucks and dirt bikes, but the full version of MotorStorm will let you rip it up in everything from ATVs and dune buggies to rally cars and big rigs. All the vehicle types have at least two variants to start with (more are unlockable later), and each makes for a radically different experience.

They're so different, in fact, that tackling the same track with a dirt bike, a rally car or a mud plugger almost makes it feel like a new course. Flying across the high, narrow ridges of the Rockhopper track feels a lot safer when you're doing it in a tiny dirtbike, for example, although the bikes are so unstable that you're far more likely to fly into a ravine or crash into a rock if you hit a jump at the wrong angle. Hitting the same ridges in a steel-frame buggy feels a little more precarious, but its ground-hugging stability means you can focus on pure speed.

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