ModNation Racers Review
- Posted May 15th, 2010 at 16:54 EDT by Steven Williamson
- 36 Comments
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Every kart racer from this point forth needs a track editor, enough said.
- The intoxicating, chaotic kart racing formula
- The incredibly deep track editing tools
- Taking the race online
- Pimping our avatar and kart for no other reason than to look good
- Not having enough options to tweak the performance of our kart
- Long loading times, particularly in career mode
If you’ve played LittleBigPlanet you’ll instantly feel a home with ModNation Racers. Not only does the humour and colourful design mimic the customisable platform game, but your avatar in ModNation Racers is pretty much a SackBoy clone, a blank canvas on which you can sticker, layer, colour and accessorise to personalise and customise before sending him whizzing off around courses to compete in chaotic Mario Kart-style races.
However, being artistically creative with your avatar doesn’t affect your skills on the track at all. Just like the kart customisation tool in ModNation Racers, pimping your character is probably going to appeal to the type of person who enjoys dressing up their avatar in PlayStation Home and buying stuff for their pad, or someone who spent hours on Nintendo Wii trying to create a Mii that looks identical to Hitler, rather than those people who just want to get on with the racing.
Nevertheless, avatar and kart customisation is very deep and accessible thanks to the excellent tutorials. You can randomly generate a character, spend a few minutes creating one, or spend hours really delving into the tool-set to create works of art. You can create intricate patterns by layering, and with skill and time the only limits imposed on you are those by your own imagination, or lack of. Already there have been dozens of impressive avatars created in the beta phase that look like famous people, so there's obviously fun to be had out of what others may deem to be a pointless process.
These customisation tools are here if you want them and if that’s what floats your boat you can’t fail to be impressed by how simple they are to use, yet how incredibly in-depth they are. But quite frankly, this stuff is really just a side dish. It complements ModNation Racer’s main course quite nicely, but you’re just as likely to leave it on the side as you are to indulge in it. The good news is that the serious kart racers out there, those who will spend ridiculous amounts of time trying to shave seconds off their lap records, are also catered for extremely well.
ModNation Racers uses a genre-standard blueprint. You’ll be speed boosting down straights, drifting around hairpin bends and picking up power-ups and launching them at competitors, but the meat of this latest kart racer lies in its hefty online, community and customisation features. ModNation Racers is no Super Mario Kart, the accolade of being the best kart racing game is probably going to remain with Nintendo for many years to come, but it does lays down a new benchmark for the genre in terms of this new feature set.
With that in mind, it’s fair to say that the weakest aspect of ModNation Racers is when you play it offline, yet still the 28 tracks and the lengthy career mode offers variety and challenge - that’s despite none of the pre-built tracks really having the same sort of appeal and magic as the likes of Moo Moo Farm or the iconic Rainbow Road had in Super Mario Kart. Quite simply, they're just not as creative or innovative aesthetically speaking, yet the actual track layouts still provide plenty of thrills and spills.
The creativity in the career mode comes mainly from the cast of characters and the storyline that runs adjacent to it. This has been jazzed up LittleBigPlanet style with colourful and quirky presenters that make wise cracks, some funny and some quite irritating, and do a decent job at building up the history and culture of the Mod Racing Championships (MRC.) You start off as a rookie and enter the Mod Racing Tournament and as you win races you unlock rewards and gain access to more challenging tracks, taking on elite racers from each course that you visit.
Despite there being some enjoyable and well-designed tracks to race around, working your way through career mode can feel like a bit of a drag due to the long load times between courses and the irritating jabber of the presenters. The bonus challenges and unlockables are therefore a welcome inclusion. You might be tasked with firing a weapon a certain number of times, for example, or pulling off as many stunts as ... (continued on next page)
- 11:57am EDT - May 15th, 2010
- 12:26pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
LAST................................. great game and i love it.
- 12:47pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
For the complaint about load times, they are releasing a patch for that. As for the options to tweak performance, I don't think the intent is to be that hardcore about it. The game is for casual/arcade racing fans. And I don't see how pimping your character or car can be a complaint.
- 12:58pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
"Pimping our avatar and kart for no other reason than to look good" Why would that be dislike?
All the people when their avatar be cool... seriously that doesnt make sense at all..
- 1:14pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
i dont hav this game, but i thought it would hav been given a 9
- 1:39pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
"Pimping our avatar and kart for no other reason than to look good"
isnt that one of the main points in the game...create mods, karts and tracks and share them with ppl...
- 1:57pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Not really a complaint about pimping the car and avatar, just a preference. If you like that sort of stuff you'll enjoy it, but it doesn't affect the gameplay. Track editor is a different matter. I got bored customising Miis in about 2 hours.
- 2:20pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Isn't that the meaning of pimping? to look flashy and cool. I mean, if i paint my car a different color is not going to make it go faster or make taking turns easier, it just makes it look cooler. i'm baffled by this. . @_@
newf_52 | newf_52
- 2:45pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
yeah...really reaching for dislikes there....the reviews here are pretty much useless...it's like saying "writing our review for no other reason than people reading it."
- 3:00pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
I think the dislikes are nitpicky (except for the load times of course) I think that's the only time I've heard someone complain about customization. If they were to make it where every change affected your karts performance or aerodynamics etc. there wouldn't be nearly as many customization options and how creative you could be with your designs would take a hit. This is a kart racer not a racing simulator. Not your best review PSU
lordAlucard | sympozium_666
- 3:35pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Terrible dislikes as always why bother, like whats the point pimping Sackboy?! oh thats right "TO LOOK DIFFERENT" from the world. Tweak the performance of the car W T F?!!
- 3:52pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
@11 My thoughts exactly. Who's the sad sap that played this game, honestly.
- 4:59pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Good review PSU. I'm glad you didn't just give a PS3 exclusive a 9.0 or higher just b/c its a PS3 exclusive. Lots of sites do things like that.
- 5:34pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Solid Review~ some nitpicks can be expected in any review - but I can tell you "got" the racing. I keep seeing the odd review out there that says the kart handling is clumsy or some other such drivel - where it was painfully obvious the reviewer didn't learn how to Drift --- the absolute key to enjoying this game. So anyone reading take note - HOLD the X button to Drift when you go around corners!! Don't just tap it ... this game is wicked fun when you drift properly - everything else will fall into place!
- 7:12pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Another review, another crappy excuse of dislikes, I mean how is the first one even a problem? What the heck seriously it really bothers me that one of my favorite PS3 News websites does this, no wonder I go to N4G more, and trust me the fanboy comments there are really terrible!
- 7:50pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
Funny how with a 3-page text people seem to only have read the dislikes.. -.-
That aside I'm still wondering about the offline component of the game. Offline is not the same as singleplayer in my book (even though games seem to neglect offline multiplayer more and more) and I loved playing Grand Prixs in Mario Kart with my buddies, so I'm wondering whether I'll have similar modes in ModNation Racers?
- 8:04pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
I'm glad I'm not the only one that thinks these so called "dislikes" are ridiculous. I think they need to change the words "Likes" and "Dislikes" to "Pros" and "Cons". The likes but mostly the dislikes are always WAY to over opinionated on this site. A reviewer needs to to take an unbiased approach to a review, being able to recognize the things in a game that are genuinely bad or good. Not just simply what they like and don't like. That gives people a bad idea as to whether or not the game is something they would want to buy. The only dislike for this game that makes sense is the fact that the load times are a little long. To label the customization as pointless because it doesn't change the kart's performance at all is completely ludicrous. As someone else who commented stated, having the ability to change a kart's performance by changing it's looks would render terrible unbalancing and a massive lack in customization options. Also, why is it being labeled as bad thing that you can't change the tuning of your kart more? Seriously? This isn't Gran Turismo 5 people, it's a freaking kart racer! I mean they compare this game to Mario Kart (understandably), yet Mario Kart didn't have ANY performance tweak options in it either, heck it didn't even have the ability to create your own racer and kart; yet they say it's not as good. I'm sorry to say that my opinion of PSU has drastically dropped after this review; tighten the screws guys.
- 8:44pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
"Pimping our avatar and kart for no other reason than to look good"
Thats the whole point of pimping out avatar. This is nothing new if you're familiar with LBP. You didn't get stronger for pimping out your sackboy. Maybe they could've allowed upgraded kart, but then again its all come down to your driving skill and not who have the better vehicle.
- 11:29pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
I wouldn't want my kart not to look cool just because it affected how it drives or for someone to have an unfair advantage just because they're better technical designers or whatever. I want to make a unique looking kart and mod, I don't want to change the way it looks because it'll make it faster... think of the children! oh well there's gotta be something not to like about the game like when people drop out cos they don't want to lose
funkybudda | funkybudda
- 11:51pm EDT - May 15th, 2010
"Pimping our avatar and kart for no other reason than to look good" This gotta be worst reason to dislike a game title that allows customization.
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