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whatshot ModNation Racers PS3 Review - www.impulsegamer.com -

Gameplay 9.0
Graphics 9.1
Sound 8.0
Value 9.0
Developer: Eastasiasoft
Classification:
P
Review Date:
June 2010
Reviewer:
James Wright

9.0


ModNation Racers

What do you get when you combine Mario Kart with Little Big Planet? The answer is ModNation Racers, an addictively entertaining kart game that opens up a Pandoraís Box of custom modifications which is almost as fun as the racing itself. This kart game features everything the player needs from a sturdy single player career mode to both local and online multiplayer fun that will have you racing for a considerable amount of time in this LEGO/Cartoon inspired world.

And then if youíre feeling creative, you can customise your rides, create your own racing environments and even share them with other players from around the world of ModNation Racers. The only issues we had with the game is that the tools used to create your own worlds and vehicles can be a little fiddle some if you donít have the time or patience but thankfully, the racing engine is relatively flawless and thereís already plenty of downloadable content from other gamers.

As soon as you load ModNation Racers, you immediately know that youíre in for a treat from the fun and easy to navigate menu system and the happy feet music. However, before the developers throw you into the deep end, the first race in the game acts as a tutorial which teaches you the basics of racing and then youíre ready to either start your racing career or unleash the creative muse inside you. This menu system or hub is like an interactive world that is quite cleverly set out and even though it has an element of childish wonder to it, older gamers will get as much enjoyment as kids as they prep their games.

Mario Kart is still one of the best ďfunĒ racing games around and although ModNation Racers reinvents the wheel, itís done in a good way by adding new tweaks to the go-kart genre via the creator and the more aggressive racing engine.

 As a racer, ModNations Racers is thoroughly enjoyable and the world has this great cartoon atmosphere to it as you look for shortcuts, fly in the air by going over jumps and perform some great drifting around those corners. With a variety of gaming modes, the main crux of the game is the career mode where you need to race your way to the top of the ModNation Racing Championships.

The career mode even has a story as you attempt to make it number one in the game with some great "fake" TV spots to your characters that really makes this a very entertaining story. Even though the goal is to come first, there is some leeway in the game and you can still progress if you come in third. The game throws a few challenges at the player during the race where they need to perform some funky manoeuvrers and if you come first, you will be awarded with new unlockable content. Of course, all this fun does come at a price as the loading times are a little lengthy at times but hopefully we'll see an update to address this issue.

In terms of gameplay, to keep things grounded and more importantly, fun, the game contains a variety of crazy power-ups and by collecting more of these, it will increase their power. The game gives you points for performing key racing elements such as drifting and gives you various bonuses such as boosts and shields for example. There is even a bonus that lets you knock an opponent from the track that is a little fiddly to manage but if you do, youíve caused them enough grief to give yourself that winning edge. By collecting points and building up your power, this adds some great diversity to your races but just be warned, the AI and human opponents can give back as good as you give... if that makes sense!


Community Mod by ElectricNerd
Power Girl - DC Comics

Downloading new content is another highlight for me and if your PS3 is connected to the net, this aspect of the game is built in quite well to the menu system. I must admit that some people have created some truly awesome vehicles from the classic Batmobile to even Mario Kart ones. Of course, copyright blurs in the world of ModNation RacersÖ just check out the above and below screenshots.

When it comes to online or local play with more than one person, ModNation Racers boasts up to 4-players locally or 12-players online. Online mode is great (provided you donít suffer from lag) and contains a variety of gaming modes for both ranked and unranked racers. You even have the option of hosting a game and tweaking the settings or you can just as easily join a game. Either way, it's super easy.


Community Mod by ElectricNerd
Harley Quinn - DC Comics

As with Little Big Planet, the creation tools do take a little while in getting use but best of all, the developers have kept it quite simplistic. Interesting enough, for me anyway, itís easier to design tracks, rather than the karts or the characters. Needless to say, the scope for customisation is quite unparalleled. Iím still quite impressed with the track editor as you cut through mountains, making paths for your karts and presto, your race track is almost ready. The good thing about the creation tools, whether racer, vehicle or track is that it caters for a variety of skill levels and some of the results from other online moders is truly impressive, to say the least.


Community Mod by ElectricNerd
Blue Beetle - DC Comics

Graphically, ModNation is cartoon eye candy with some great attention to detail. The environments are well designed, albeit cartoony but it suits the atmosphere of this game quite well. Add in a plethora of lighting and special effects plus some good looking karts (provided I havenít designed them) and this compliments the gameplay in making this a very good playing and good looking game. One issue is the frame rate that is not as stable as I hoped. The soundtrack is what one would expect from a game like this which sounds like it has been taken from a happy go lucky Saturday morning cartoon series. Finally, you have all those over the top sound effects to nicely put the cherry on top.

In conclusion, ModNation Racers is not only one of the best kart racers in a long time (dare we say since Mario) but it also contains a great community of shared content that will shed some amazing tracks, racers and vehicles. Although it works well as a single-player, the real gem is through the local and online multiplayer modes that gives it a great party atmosphere.

Recommended in more ways than one!





 

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