Modnation Racers review

Modnation Racers is a game quite like any other racer that you will play this year, well, unless Mario Kart brings out another game, but apart from that Modnation Racers is quite unlike any game you will play, well maybe with the exception of Little Big Planet. But with those out of the way, we can begin.

Modnation Racers is unlike , hang on a minute… Look its just different okay? Yes, it can be said that it is very similar to a small chubby. moustachioed Italian plumber being crossed with a boy made of hessian cloth, but apart from that this title is its own man. Or game.

We began playing Modnation Racers, as does everyone, with the expectation for this game being very high following the advertising push from Sony. Were we disappointed? Well, No! Frankly, we weren’t. Right from the off with this game, as we created our cute little GamesMediaPro ‘GiMP’ we were taken by surprise at the amount of options that are available to you, even in this primary and most basic of customization modes. You can literally choose from a veritable multitude of of colours, creeds, styles, clothing, logo, type, font,etc the list is almost as long as some of the loading times. Almost, but not quite.

And this brings us nicely to our first niggling problem with this stunning looking racer. That is, the loading times between.., well, everything! We spent most of our time between races not fiddling with our vehicles or making our character accidentally look a little bit like David Hasselhof. But to tell you the truth, and let’s face it folks thats what we are here for, we spent most of our time looking at the inane loading screen with the dreary elevator-style muzak that is in constant droning mode in the  background. You will too. Why Sony ever approved  the developers giving the game such elongated loading times is beyond us? And they are everywhere! When you select any option that takes you from one point in your game to another, and for any reason, be it customization or a race event or even a lobby on the multiplayer, (we’ll get to that in a minute!), just make sure that you brought your blanky and pillow as you will be needing them…a lot! Because at the longest count on one particular load screen moment, we reached  a staggering 3 minutes 47 seconds of load time.

Next gripe has to go to the Region Locked multiplayer, even though on the game box it clearly states that the multiplayer mode is Region Free? So if you were hoping to play Modnation Racers with those online friends that you have made over the Playstation Network? Well you can just get that notion out of your head right from the kick off! Here’s hoping that a patch for these problems is already being constructed by the developers?

But its not all doom and gloom for the cute kart racer. There is nothing wrong with this game, as we have just said , that Sony cannot fix with a couple of simple patches? Apart from the two GmP gripes, Modnation Racers is actually looking to be the most fun that you are going to be having on four wheels this year. Right from the beginning when you are introduced to the story, which by the way, takes place around the premise of  your character, the new kid on the block ‘Tag,’ taking his part in a televised Modnation Race Chamionship, (MRC), in which the commentators are the ‘up-his-chuff’  Biff Treadwell and his statistician Gary Reasons. Tag must prove his mettle in a series of races and carnage based track battles, as he engages the seasoned Pro’s such as Espresso and Drillbit along the way to attaining his dream of being crowned the MRC Champion.

As with the other title in Sony‘s arsenal of the ‘Create,Play and Share’ genre, Little Big Planet. Modnation Racers allows the player to customize every little detail of the game from the Mod, your Modnation character, right through to the kart’s, and even the very tracks that you can race on. And if you think that some of the level designs were stunning in LBP then you ain’t seen nothing yet with the quality of the customization tools on offer in Modnation Racers. We cannot wait to see what the Sony community comes up with once the game has been out for a few months, considering some of the user created levels such as the Metal Gear Solid level in Little Big Planet that we have had cause to enjoy time and again.

The genius of the design tools also mean that for a novice at level design such as myself, then the custom tool can take over to the point that it will ‘Auto Populate’ in sections of the tracks and generate its own crowd and trees, even adding in-game race boosts and bonuses to the track itself, thus leaving the player free to enjoy the games other features. Like racing.

In a nice twist the players who then choose to upload their creations via the Playstation Network for the enjoyment of others, you can also, when downloading another players track, put your own spin on their creations by adding your personal features to it. Maybe even improving the track for other future downloaders to benefit from your talent along the way?

The possibilities, as demonstrated in LBP, are limitless for the community involved in this game. The only boundaries that place any kind of restrictions on the creations that the players are making, seem to be the very imaginations of the players themselves, and as such, great things are expected. The game features the story mode as well as single and multi online player game. The multiplayer holds up to 12 players and the online features of the game show friends-list management, leaderboards, matchmaking, 4-way split screen and also communications and much more for the player to explore.

So it really isn’t all bad news for Modnation Racers. We are more than confident that Sony will already be well on the way to correcting the launch day teething problems. So it is with that in mind that we come to the decision that the pro’s in Modnation Racers far outweigh the con’s. There is just simply too much in the way of innnovative design and, when push comes to shove, just good old fashioned ‘fun’ in this game for us to dismiss it as a problem child because of a couple of design flaws that could well be patched by the time you read this review? Modnation Racers is karting for the next generation, its karting for the old-skool, and its just great fun for all. With that we give Modnation Racers a nippy little 7.

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