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Old 07-24-2010, 11:17 PM   #1
Reverend
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Smile Please rate this review: Modnation Racers!

Modnation Racers: A very smooth ride with only a few minor speed bumps

High: From the controls to the creation, they got it right.
Low: Another devastator challenge? WHY!?
WTF: Is with these Terrible Load Times!!!

When I first heard about Modnation Racers I was excited. A game where LittleBigPlanet meets Mario Kart - how intriguing! With an excellent premise, all that was left was to have the game deliver on both the creation and the racing fronts - and boy did it ever. From the story mode, to online play, the game is completely consistent.

In the story mode you play as ‘Tag’, a rebellious young racer with a flare for tricking up his ride. He finds himself taking part in the Modnation Racing Championship, fighting for his coaches lost glory to his arch nemesis, Espresso. The story mode itself is surprisingly deep. They have included ‘token collection’, which you can use to purchase more options for creations and challenges that must be completed every race. Now, in all honesty, I thought this game was going to be a fun mild-paced kart experience, but I was so wrong. The kart racing is very fast-paced with a lot of, everyone's favorite, drifting! That’s right, in some cases you can basically drift the whole course, dodging in and out of obstacles on your way to the finish. The great thing about the driving though is the controls. The controls are laid out the way you feel they should be, they makes total sense. You want to perform a drift? Press the X button. You want to use an item? Press the Square button. You want to use shield? Press the O button. The control layout makes the game so easy to maneuver and the handling is amazing. Now, enough about the controls, let us talk about the races. The races are actually quite difficult, especially when a challenge is included. There is a impressive balance of strategy and performance in this game. You can fill a boost bar by drifting, hitting others with weapons, and performing tricks. This energy can then be used for thrust or shield. What would you do? Risk it all and go for glory? Or stay cautious and protect from on coming attacks?

Another great strategy system is the ‘weapon level up’. When you first receive an item it is at level one, you can then use it, or the another item balloon, to level up. Each item my hit increasingly more targets and whenever you choose to use your item. Do you hold on and save up for a devastating attack? Or have you been playing so much sniper in Call of Duty that you trust in your one shot aim? These are just a few intriguing things about the races.

Now, throughout the story if you desire a perfect score, you have to beat challenges. Some of these challenges are very difficult, which is great, they teach you to be a master racer, however some challenges are just aggravating. Here comes the low point of the game, the Devastator challenge. These challenges require no skill whatsoever and are based on pure luck. For instance, at one point you have to get one of the racers to go underneath a crushing device, and you trigger it to hit them. So you figure that they had programmed a racer to go under there once a lap, Wrong! You have to somehow force another racer to go under the devastator, which turns out to be almost near impossible. I spent nearly 3 hours on this one challenge before I got it, trying every trick in the book - hopefully you’ll have more luck, if not, prepare to throw your controller down multiple times. Besides this slip up, the challenges are very skill based and will keep you amused and on your toes.

Now let us talk about the most major flaw in this game, the loading times. Now just quick Final Fantasy loading times...BUT Crash Bandicoot Wrath of Cortex load times (If you have played this game you know this is a looooonnnnngggg time). It seems that between every single race, cutscene, and modspot, there are very annoying load times, that are actually worse then Wrath of Cortex. See, in Wrath at least I get to watch Crash fall and all the CRAZY colours, in Modnation it gets so much more frustraiting. So the load screen is just a red screen, with a sentence on the course or hints, and then in the middle...DUN DUN DUN...the load wheel! But this load wheel is special, for it shows you the percentage. So I read the sentence and the wheel is at 5%, so I have nothing else to do but what this wheel just creek its way towards 100% at an insanely low speed. Also, just when it gets to 85%, it always stops! Just always...and you wonder if it will even resume...well it does...after another 30 seconds...and almost there...yes! Only 10 minutes to load one map...awesome! Thank goodness that the restart loads are quick or I probably would have thrown my controller through the screen in utter frustraition. Anyways, let us move on from this dark, dark area.

On to the next part of the game, the creation. I remember playing LittleBigPlanet and being in love with the creation. However, the online play left a lot to be desired, with no real structure or direction. Luckily, Modnation Racers has made an achievement on both these fronts. The creation is so vast (wait until you see how many eyes you have to choose from!) and it is just so easy, even when I came to the threatening track creation. The tutorials were very easy to grasp and I made my track in just 30 minutes. This is thanks to the insanely helpful ‘auto-populate’ function where the game will fill in the area around your track with designs so you do not have to place every single building yourself. There are also only few tutorials compared to the 8 trillion that LittleBigPlanet had (which you know is a lot when they had an achievement for it!). The online play is very structured with different features and activities you can do. There is the ‘Hot Lap’ which you can compete daily to get to be the fastest on the track. There is also a showcase of other players karts, mods, and tracks. This is made very easy by the presence of the ‘Mod Spot’ which is a gateway to all your Modnation needs.

Overall this game was exhilarating, funny, enjoyable, creative; everything you could have asked for. This is a game that all ages and all players will love. It has the perfect balance of creating, sharing, and playing. I highly recommended it and you should definitely pick it up and give it a try.

Thank you United Front Games!

Final Score: 9.0/10

Disclosures: This game was obtained via rental and reviewed on the PS3. Approximately 35 hours of play were devoted to single-player modes (completed one time will all challenges and grudge matches beat) and 15 hours of play to multiplayer modes.

Parents: Safe gameplay for all ages

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: Some sounds from weapons and racing are difficult to read and can come from many different directions. There are visual queues in the game that show when you are going to get hit. Subtitles are an option and they can be turned on when you get into the game.

Last edited by Reverend; 08-11-2010 at 11:16 PM. Reason: To give a score to my summary for quick verification
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Old 10-01-2010, 01:15 AM   #2
Robin Ashe
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Re: Please rate this review: Modnation Racers!

I like the content of the review, it gives me a good idea of what the game is like, and has some info that other reviews didn't include, so kudos on that. The review could use some proof reading though, as there are some unclear spots that suggest you were writing as you were thinking and skipped a couple important words.
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