I have to be honest I thought the genre of kart racers had peaked a long time ago, but even now in the middle of 2010 we have yet another kart racer hitting the streets. Obviously this is a genre that has had only one king of the track and that of course has been the Mario Kart franchise which has dominated both consoles and handhelds for ten plus years. Now Sony is putting out their kart racer in ModNation Racers. Does this game have the staying power to put Mario Kart to the test? Read our full review to find out!
Let me get the obvious out of the way and that is the mechanics of the game. First and foremost this is a kart racer and it functions as such in every facet of the experience. The speed of the game is a bit faster then your average kart racer but it handles accordingly. I must say that I am also pleased to report that the game has a slew of powerups which like any other kart racer does a good job of evening out the playing field and making things crazy on the track. But all of this is not all that exciting right? We have been here and done this a thousand times, but luckily this game has a lot more to it then just your standard kart racer.
Customization is something that Sony has been pushing with many of its recent titles most notably LittleBigPlanet which was really driven on user generated content. Well ModNation Racers follows that same sort of idea by giving the user the tools to literally create the kart racer of their dreams. I am not going to base this review on the quality of user content because lets face it, I have been playing ModNation Racers before and right after the games launch so it’s still a bit sparse in terms of quality content. However what I can say is that the tools are quite amazing.
What I am more impressed by with the creation tools are not the fact that the options are limitless but that the tools are so dang user friendly. To create a track you literally choose a theme and drive around creating a track. The options from there are really up to you, you can make it as simple or as complex as you choose. The game also has a nice finishing function that finishes a track for you if you don’t want to put in the time. Not only is there a huge amount of customization with tracks but there is also in the racers. Sure they have some standard characters that you can race with but when you see the amount of options to create your own you will be spending plenty of time customizing your character as well.
Often times you can forget about the racing while you spend hours and hours customizing everything or even browsing what is available online to download. I should say that this game has a pretty solid career mode and online multiplayer. ModNation Racers is by far better to play with friends and thus its no surprise how much fun the online play manages to become.
There is only one really glaring issue that pokes its evil head out far to often in ModNation Racers and that is the load times. Even though your installing the game to your hard drive ModNation Racers can often times take up to a minute to load a race. This becomes such a deterrent and such a negative focus throughout the experience. This is one of those issues that feels like a huge oversight on the developers part. A lot of times I can understand minor bugs being left in a game, because eventually you have to ship a product. But with load times that are five to ten times longer then the normal load times it just seems a bit much.
Going into this review I have to be honest I never thought I would give this game a top notch rating in the visuals department but I really had no problem doing it with ModNation Racers. First off this is a gorgeous looking game even if it takes far to long to load, once everything is loaded up the game looks great. I mentioned early on in this review that this is a fast moving kart racer and even though its fast it manages to have a level of detail that is quite impressive. The games ability to not only mesh its beautiful style with fast pace but to do this all while allowing users to create in this beautiful world is truly remarkable experience.
I have to admit that from the moment I start playing ModNation Racers I noticed right away the long load times. I did have some friends come over to play the game and did not mention the load times to them but that was one of the first things that they said as well was why it took so long to get the game to load. Most of the time load times are just an overlooked part of gaming, but when they exceed half a minute or more which this game does all the time it really takes you away from what otherwise is an extremely enjoyable kart racing experience.
So you all get the picture the load times are a big issue with the flow of ModNation Racers, but it doesn’t ruin it. Behind the long load times of ModNation racer is a very visually pleasing and enjoyable kart racing experience that manages to build off of previous kart racing franchises and adding on a huge element of customization that has never been seen in a kart racer before.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.