August 29, 2010

CopyRight Infringment Racers

There’s something inherently appealing about having a huge database of free, custom characters to choose from. I mean, it’s going to be a copyright-infringing nightmare for the people running the game, but it just seems like it would be tons of fun to be able to pick any character you want, and just play. This especially made sense to me in a Mario Kart clone, and so I was pretty excited to get to try ModNation Racers. It just seemed like a perfect fit. It also seemed to have some smart ideas about the various power ups that could make the game a much better racer.

However, I really didn’t find this to be the case.

I mean, it was pretty neat. I was an Eevee driving the Mach 5. There’s nothing at all wrong with that. At the same time, everything else just felt kind of generic. Not bad, but generic. It’s a bit unavoidable, but it just didn’t really thrill me. The “career” mode is pointlessly hard, too, especially if you want to unlock everything. The enemy drivers do not go easy on you. Four races in, and I was having to redo races to even pass in 3rd place. That’s just not what I expect from a Mario Kart clone.

What really got me, though, were the items. I thought they had a good idea with the “boost” meter. You get boost from drifting and other tricks, which you can either use to boost, or shield yourself from attacks. This seems like a great tradeoff to me. However, I found the shield almost impossible to actually use. You even get a warning when something is going to hit you, but if you hit the shield when the warning comes up, it will almost always wear off before it actually hits you. It just seems like they made their timing really weird just to be “hardcore” which just kind of ruins the point of a casual kart racer. At least to me.

On top of all this, I had serious issues connecting to their online servers. Apparently they do maintenance on like… 3 in the afternoon on Friday. That’s a really, really weird time to do maintenance. When I finally could connect, I got dropped from the server every few minutes while trying to look for things to download. I couldn’t even imagine what would have happened if I had gotten into an online race. I wanted to, but I was too scared that it would fail, and the obscene, minute or longer long load times would go to waste. Because let me tell you, this game LOADS. A LOT. It’s ridiculous.

These are the main reasons why I ended up unimpressed with ModNation Racers. It was pretty disappointing, I do admit. Maybe the sequel will be super-great. I’m sure that’ll happen at some point. As it is, though, I really felt like I had more fun with Sonic and Sega All Stars Racing, which is weird to say, but totally true. I’d just suggest playing that, if you wanted a Mario Kart Clone.

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