Review: Modnation Racers

Kart racing games always seem to pop up now and again, like the bad guy in a horror movie that just won’t die. Luckily, for the most part, these kart games are much more enjoyable than the obligatory axe in the face from Jason or Freddy… well mostly.
No-one is really above being in a kart racing game. Mario, Crash Bandicoot, Diddy Kong, the cyber-ninja from Metal Gear and, recently, even Sonic has done a dash in a 50cc whipper-snipper on wheels.
So Modnation Racers is Sony’s latest entrant from the team at United Front Games, and they’re bringing something a little different to the kart racing genre. Namely EVERYTHING! In this game you can create your own kart, kit it out in heaps of different ways, colour it, plaster it in stickers, give it a name, and all with relative ease. Just when you thought you had made the most ridiculous kart known to man, you find the same kind of tweakability with your little character. Clothes, shoes, hair, skin, voice, and then you can accessorise the poor bugger. So after I had created my own little Jason Voorhees in a leopard-print formula-one car running on an oversize D-battery for an engine, I was good to go.
The game’s start menu is centralised around a mini market-like hub where you can drive up to all the different modes, online databases and customisation shops to select them and peruse their wares. Thankfully, this can be skipped by hitting ‘Start’! Up pops a menu screen and, within a few clicks, off we go to the races.
Gameplay is what you would expect. Fast, furious, colourful and, most importantly, fun. You have the typical turbo pads and obstacles, and a sizable array of weapons of mass destruction to lay upon your fellow racers which can be pimped out by saving up those item boxes. First, you may have a quick static zap to 10-feet ahead of you. Save up another item pod and it turns into an electric-chair-worthy shock that can hit a number of nearby racers. One more and you have your very own storm which fries everyone except your rubber sole shoe-wearing self.
To defend yourself, there is actually a force field button which will block anything. However, it lasts approximately a second, so mastering the timing is difficult to say the least, but damn rewarding when you emerge from an attempted nuclear holocaust unscathed.
The handling is where I find most racers like this will either make it or break it. Luckily, Modnation feels great with powersliding becoming second nature in no time. Which is good, because you will need every trick in the book to beat some of the levels in this game. The difficulty ramps up rather quickly indeed but it tends to bring with it frustration more than a competitive spirit. You’d be amazed at how many swear words you can string together when you’re one corner away from finishing first when suddenly, Iraq’s payload of missiles decide to lodge themselves right in your ass crack, leaving you to crawl across the line 3rd (or in many of my occasions, 7th). When you find out the only way to progress to the next race is to come 1st… more swear words are invented.
Progressing through the races and accomplishing various side missions, you unlock extras such as more clothes, karts, building materials and, of course, more races. Away from the racing side of things, there’s also a create your own track mode. Few racing games have even attempted this, let alone been successful, but United Front Games has done an excellent job here. Control over making your course starts simple and goes as nuts as you want to make it. Pitch, banking, jumps, obstacles, pipes, buildings, whatever you want. After fiddling around for a while, you realise there’s nothing in the preset tracks that can’t be done here so you don’t feel cheaped out on the creation tools. Bravo.
So, amid the evil laughter and creative swearing, there does lurk a simple, fun game here that works. Having said that, it does suffer from one of my few absolute no-no’s for game creation. You will spend the same amount of time racing as you will waiting for the loading times! Boo-urns!
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  • Rob Wolven

    Sweet review, defiantly looking forward to grabbing this one ^^

  • The fuck it yo master

    Fuck it yo, fuck it.