The phrase "downloadable content" can send shivers of fear and anger down the spines of many gamers, as visions of cash-gouging publishers dance before their eyes wearing horse armour. One game that seems to have found a pleasing balance between worthwhile additional content and wallet pangs is MotorStorm, still receiving new material and gameplay updates over a year after its release. This, then, is a critical recap of what's been added, what's been tweaked and what the MotorStorm fanbase has made of it all.
For us Eurofolk, MotorStorm started getting its innards twanged in June 2007, with the enticingly titled Update 1.2. As well as the expected bug fixes and exploit-smashing, this update also made it possible to add a free Time Trial mode to the game. Yes, that's the sort of feature that most people were expecting to find in the game already, but hush you. As an example of how Evolution Studios have been quick to patch and alter the game in fairly dramatic ways, it sets a good example.
The first major content addition came in September, with the release of the Coyote Revenge Weekend Pass. Centred around an all-new imaginary race event, containing three new race tickets, the centrepiece was the Coyote Revenge track, a reversed and reworked version of the Coyote Rage course. The download also added a new online game mode - Eliminator - and some new vehicles, including the secret Lunar Tec Rollcage which only unlocks when you win gold in every race.
Not everyone was happy though, particularly eagle-eyed UK gamers who noticed that Americans were getting more cars as part of their USD 5.99 Coyote Revenge download, which European punters had to purchase in separate vehicle packs for GBP 1.49 each. Along with the GBP 3.49 track download, the combined purchase cost considerably more than what those whooping yanks were paying. Oops.
On the plus side, to even up the numbers for the two-vehicle packs, we Euro slobs did get the Patriot '85, a car that left many US gamers green with envy. Why? It's a bit like a DeLorean, you see, just like in Back to the Future. Which was released in 1985. Hence the name. Jumping gigawatts! That wasn't the only '80s retro nod in this first batch of MotorStorm downloadables, as the Atlas Varjack mud-plugger bore a suspicious resemblance to the van used by a certain team of Vietnam veterans, sent to a military prison for a crime they didn't commit. The Wakazashi Razor motorbike, meanwhile, couldn't have been more blatantly Street Hawk if they'd had Rex Smith sitting on it.
October brought the next notable software updates. 2.0 was mostly concerned with lobby tweaks, but version 3.0 added DualShock 3 rumble fun, the Gloating Index for online willy-waving and also allowed players to carry across their finishing position to the starting grid of the next race in multiplayer. And just before Halloween, a spooky new livery was made available - free of charge - for the Castro Robusto.
Devil's Weekend was the ooh-scary title of November's cauldron of downloadables, and it revolved around Devil's Crossing, an extensively revised mirror version of Dust Devil. European customers got four vehicles for their GBP 3.49 this time, with another secret bonus vehicle for those who aced their way through the single-player events. It was Batman's turn to have his copyright almost infringed, as the Humbler Diablo buggy looked a bit like the "Tumbler" Batmobile from Batman Begins. But not too much like it, just in case any Batlawyers are reading.