ModNation Racers Review

Developer: United Front Games

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc.

CONTACT FROM WHICH GAME WAS RECEIVED: Ron Eagle and Melissa Dolan from SCEA

Released: May 25th, 2010

Platform(s): Playstation 3

Players: 1-2 (offline), 2-12 (online)

Genre: Arcade Racing/ Play, Create and Share

Rating: “RP” for Rating Pending

REVIEWED PS3 Version

OVERVIEW

ModNation Racers is the newest installment into Playstation’s “Play, Create and Share” lineup. Popularized by Little Big Planet, “Play, Create and Share” allows the gamer to do just that, play with custom created content and share it with the world over the Playstation Network.

And with MNR, it is no different. Karts, tracks and what United Front calls, Mods (the racing “people” themselves). Everything is customizable, the style of kart, wheels, shoes, helmets, colors of everything and mentioning all of the track options will make me short of breath. The game experience WILL NOT be the same for any two gamers because the amount items you can change is incredible.


You will easily spend hours customizing the karts and mods, even make a track or two. Not many games are what we here at G-Squared refer to as "Girlfriend Games," or titles that your non-gamer girl (or significant other) will play and find appealing. But as my girlfriend put it, "all of the different things I can do to my guy (Mod) is awesome. I would play this again to just do that some more." She made an all pink Mod with punk rock hair and named her Princess, so PSN look out for her on the track.


And its that sharing that I just hit on that really makes MNR shine. Much like Little Big Planet, sharing your creation is on the forefront of what the game is all about. Make a track, see if the world likes it. Create a Mod or kart and see if someone around the globe will drive it. Just express yourself and share yourself to the rest of the Playstation Network, that is the best way to keep games like this fresh.


Complete with plenty of things to keep you busy such as online play, quick play, split screen and a great career mode, ModNation Racers is here to make a name for itself in the kart racing game world.


GAMEPLAY

Remember Mario Kart… Well now forget about it. If you have a Ps3 and loved Mario Kart, GET ModNation Racers. I played my fair share of Mario Kart and I can tell you that this third-generation take on it has me sitting in front of the TV like a teenager again.

The mechanics are very solid. It’s a kart game, so the staples are there. Turbo boost, powerups, shortcuts, drifts and jumps all out there to help you cross the line first. The powerups use a leveling system to make them more powerful. The traditional rockets, speedbursts, lightning storm and sonic boom are all available and can be powered up by driving over other weapon icons.


Drafting, drifting, offensive driving and big air will fill up your boost meter and with a tap of L1 you will feel a ton of speed at your fingertips. Its a race changer, so save it up if you can.


The button layout is similar to any other kart racing game you have ever played. R2 is accelerate and L2 is brake. Everything is straight forward, and that makes this fresh title very approachable to veteran and novice gamers alike. This "kiddy" looking game can't be too difficult because that works against the whole idea of the ease of use of MNR. From customizing karts and tracks to actually winning races, it is all based on a simple button layout.


DESIGN

Cartoon, its a cartoon. But that doesn't mean it can't look darn good on the Ps3. The tracks are dynamic with tons of different environments. From water, clouds, palm trees and mountains, its a cartoon world done up for the big time. The tracks, at least the ones that I didn't personally make, were full of vibrant colors and textures.


Another part of the design element is the presentation. MNR is delivered to you in broadcast style, as if the ModNation Racing championship were on TV and you just tuned in. The quirky commentators are actually funny. Easy to say and you have heard it before, but their banter and wit is well placed and keeps the races fun. The cut scenes in career mode provide a little preproduced back story about your created racer. They are well done and also give a little comic relief.


Menus and modes and easy to navigate. Modes are reached by driving to their assigned area on a minimap menu racetrack where you can also reach online race modes and the "Creation Station" to make your Mod. Seems redundant, and sometimes it can be. But the longer than normal load times make it seem more of a hassle than it needs to.


LASTING APPEAL

Unlockables galore. All based around the further customization of your MNR world, but still an accomplishment. Games become addicting and more enticing when the game rewards you often. When I completed a race, I was hit with 5-10 unlockables that I would instantly go check out in the Creation Station. That creates more play time and an incredible lasting appeal.

Online play and the sharing feature also will have you inside all summer. Want to have the best lap of the day? Well go race online against other's fastest laps or take them on in a 12 player online duel. Either way, the game cannot and will not get stale because the online community will continue to grow and produce new and exciting content.

With matchmaking, updated stats, trophies, leaderboards and various ways to communicate with other users, the online feature is robust with interactivity and will take a lot of your time. It is so well done and allows players to immerse themselves in United Front's world.

GRADE
Just like Little Big Planet, this game is going to continue to grow and change and all of it will be positive. With a user policing system to report cheaters, the online community will take care of the riff raff before it affects the atmosphere.

It is kind of hard to give it a grade because I know the best days for this title are yet to come. And this type of game becomes timeless in no time.

ModNation Racers becomes a best seller and will replace all of the other previous poor attempts at bettering Mario Kart. Online is a truly addicting experience, the kart physics are excellent for a non-simulation game and the fun is continuous.

Negatives, long load times and sometimes, without careful examination, you will miss all that this game can do. Not really a bad thing, but at some points and for some people, all of that power and all of those options can be a turnoff. And if the weapons are going to be such a big part of each race, how about some more variety?


Its a great racer with great pick-up-and-play feel and an incredible shelf life. And to better insure that the game stays fun, go out there and make some stuff and help make ModNation Racers better.


Rent it to help out your local movie/game store, but you will end up buying it. And your friends will thank you for it.

8.5/10

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