ModNation Racers Review
- Posted May 15th, 2010 at 16:54 EDT by Steven Williamson
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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
(continued from previous page) ...many stunts as you can against the clock. There's plenty of variety in the challenges that provides some respite from the frantic action of the tournaments and you’re rewarded well with the likes of accessories and track parts to keep you interested.
Quite frankly, however, career mode is really just a tutorial that prepares you for racing against real opponents online. As you progress you get introduced to everything you’ll need to learn in order to put up a decent challenge online, plus you’ll get to mess around with the track editor for the first time. It’s not long before you realise that despite its cutesy look, ModNation Racers isn’t just a game for kids; it’s also a hardcore kart racer that requires just as much skill as it does luck.
On the track ModNation Racers feels reassuringly familiar. You can drift, draft and attack other racers gaining boost in the process to be used tactically whenever you see fit. There are power-ups dotted around the courses and in true kart racing fashion that means you get to unleash some over-the-top weaponry which you can shoot ahead or behind you to catch your opponents off guard, hopefully just before they’re about to smugly cross the finish line.
So, for the most part ModNation Racers offers a standard, no-thrills no-spills kart racing formula. There’s nothing innovative about the power-ups that we haven’t already seen before, but there’s enough variation to ensure that each race relies on tactics as well as driving skills. Among the power-ups available there are sonic attacks that knock any opponents in your vicinity off course, or guided rockets that slow down their progress. Each of the pick-ups can also be powered-up to 3x its strength if you hang onto them until you’ve gone through three other power-up crates. It adds a further tactical element to the races as you try and second guess what other racers are going to do while making tough decision on when to unleash your own weapons.
Races are fast and chaotic and the karts perform and react impressively as you drift around corners and jostle for position on track. You can also put your opponents off by nudging them with the d-pad or by putting up a shield to protect yourself. It’s disappointing that you can’t fine tune your karts as much as we’d like and make one perform totally different to another, but this is still an enjoyably aggressive kart racer that is made all that more exciting by the range of power-ups available and the speed that you travel around the tracks. However, like any modern day racing game the fun and challenge really begins when you get online.
ModNation Racers is really all about the community, multiplayer and customisation features. Online, there’s a central hub that you can drive around where you can meet up with other drivers and jump into online races. It’s also the place to gain access to the Creation Stations where you can customise your karts, avatars and tracks. The first two have no impact on the gameplay whatsoever, but as soon as you start creating tracks you really get to see where ModNation Racers longevity lies. Beyond the 28 tracks in career mode you’re going to have access to hundreds, nay thousands, of user created tracks. If you’ve got the talent and the patience you might even get thousands of people downloading your own creations.
Once again, the tutorials are extremely easy to follow, yet very in-depth. There’s a choice of five backdrops, including ‘Alpine’ and ‘Jungle’ and you use a steamroller to create your course. Once you’ve created the basics you can elevate the track and make dips wherever you want to. You’ve got an auto population tool available if you want to use it, which adds trees, chevrons and other objects, but you can also spend a lot of time individually placing them to build the course of your dreams. Once done you can then test it out with an AI opponent before uploading it to share with other people, or inviting to friends to race you on it.
There’s sure to be some fierce competition outside of the online races too. In the central hub there’s a podium where everyone ... (continued on next page)