ModNation Racers Demo Impressions

16 05 2010

I finally got the chance to try the demo of ModNation Racers for the PS3 on Saturday to see if it would fulfill any expectations I had about the game.

I was quite surprised when I found myself feeling both reminiscent and refreshed by the gameplay and features of the go-kart title.

The upcoming ModNation title brings mass user-created content and customizations to the kart-racing game genre.

Upon playing a quick race on the Village Run map, I found that the game carried many things I expected to find in a kart racing game. Power ups, kart jumps, shortcuts, and drafting were all present in ModNation, but it had an somewhat different air about it.

Attacks with rockets, shockwaves, and lightning bolts work well to knock your opponents off course.

One thing that particularly jumped out at me was the difference with power ups. As far as they go, they deliver the same racing gaffs we’d expect such as lightning bolts and giant blue shockwaves. In ModNation however, a player can attain a power up, and then build upon the strength of said power up by each subsequent power up box.

One example from the demo would be getting a Level 1 Lightning Bolt Strike power up, then hitting more power up boxes to raise it up to Level 3, where it will have a bigger strike range and more effective blow on an opponent. It isn’t entirely new in concept, but it certainly is a refreshing thing to see in a kart racing title.

Of course the biggest focus of the game is the customization of karts, players, and tracks and the demo certainly gives you a taste of that as well.

Character customization will likely be a feature in the game that will expand and evolve in the months ahead.

By accomplishing certain actions in a race (sideswiping an opponent for instance) players are rewarded by unlocked items in the game such as clothes and accessories for your kart driver. It is presumed that the more successful actions you complete in races, the more things you can unlock to better your racer’s image or ride. In addition to the apparent track building feature that will be included in the full game, customization is definitely the key to ModNation.

Overall ModNation Racers seems to live up to the hype that Sony has given it over the past few months. It delivers a great, fun racing title that adds in some more interesting elements to add depth and replay value to the game. As well there are some features such as the user-created content maps and karts that will likely come to full fruition within a few months following the game’s release; so it still holds alot of potential.

While I initially thought that this game would work better as a PSP only title, it seems to bring just as much of a great racing experience to the console as well. That being said though, I don’t think that this title is worth the $60 USD price tag it will be selling for on the PS3. Seeing as how much of the game’s content and features will come to full bloom with player usage and content creation, it might be smarter to pick this title up a couple months after it releases, for a cheaper price.

The ModNation Racers demo is currently available for the PSP and will be available for the PS3 on May 18th on the Playstation Network.

ModNation Racers is slated to be released on May 25th for both systems.

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