MotorStorm - hands-on

While its showing at E3 in May was roundly proclaimed less than stellar, the muddy racer MotorStorm has come a long way since then. Once derided as boring, it's quickly shaping up to be the dirtbike-and-dune-buggy answer to Burnout, with spectacular crashes, aggressive opponents and plenty of balls-out mayhem in the middle of a desert.

Thanks to the Tokyo Game Show, we've had another crack at taking on MotorStorm's thuggish racers, and we came away laughing. In a good way, though - MotorStorm 's slow-motion crash porn is hilariously entertaining. At one point, we got knocked off our bike into the air, only to have a car fly off a jump from behind and slam into our rider in midair. Another time, we watched helplessly as two or three passing opponents juggled our rider before he was crunched under the wheels of yet another car.

It's a good thing the crashes are fun to watch, because you'll be seeing them a lot. Motorcycles get the worst of it - anything from slamming into a wall to enduring a long drop can knock you off - but the dune buggies and rally cars aren't immune, either. If anything, they blow up even more spectacularly, dropping parts that stay littered across the track until the whole car goes ka-boom. After that, the car will quickly and magically re-form around your rider as a wireframe before it's ready to be smashed up again.