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ModNation Racers Review

This is a discussion on ModNation Racers Review within the Game Reviews forum, part of the Trophy Guides, Reviews & Articles; ModNation Racers Review by JackAttack Basic Information: Developer: United Front Games Producer: Sony Computer Entertainment North American Release Date: May ...

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    ModNation Racers Review

    ModNation Racers Review
    by JackAttack


    Basic Information:
    Developer: United Front Games
    Producer: Sony Computer Entertainment
    North American Release Date: May 25, 2010
    European Release Date: May 21, 2010
    Trophies: 36 8 3 1

    Overview:
    Back in 2008, LittleBigPlanet hit the shelves and became an instant success as people fell in love with the Play, Create, Share formula. Well Sony decided to expand on the idea, and turn it into a full-fledged genre. Two years after LBP, ModNation Racers burst onto the scenes as the second game under this new Play, Create, Share genre. Mixing kart racing and creation tools, is ModNation Racers a worthy addition to this expanding new genre?

    Gameplay:
    On the surface, ModNation Racers does nothing we haven't seen before in kart racer. There's weapon pick-ups, a plethora of unique tracks, and good controls. However, as you dig down deeper into the game, you'll find yourself surrounded by some really unique things. While MNR doesn't do anything to innovate the racing genre, it makes a great attempt at establishing a personality of its own.

    What ModNation Racers brings to the table that other kart racers don't is the fact that you won't be punished for getting out into first place. In the popular Mario Kart, if you jumped out to an early lead in a race you could bet on getting hit with a blue shell eventually. However, in MNR you don't have to worry as much about getting hit with a powerful weapon if you're in first. Thanks to your boost meter that you can fill up by doing tricks, you can not only get a speed boost or sideswipe your opponents, but more importantly you can bring up a shield that will block off all attacks and will last for about a second. Even if a barrage of rockets is coming your way, or some purple lighting is being struck down upon you, you can block it and maintain your lead in the race. While it's difficult to get the timing right on when to bring up your shield, it's immensely satisfying when you block off multiple attacks.


    Racing is fast and fierce.

    Not to mention, while there are weapon pickups, they actually work differently than other kart racers. As you race over more weapon orbs, your current weapon gets an upgrade. A level one rocket shoots just one rocket straight in front of you, whereas a level three rocket will shoot over 10 rockets that will home in on one or more racers. It's a cool system, and one that offers the perfect amount of risk and reward. Do you risk losing your level 2 Sonic Rift because you could possibly turn that into the more powerful level 3 Sonic Rift, knowing full on that if you get hit with an attack yourself your weapons are completely gone? The chance is yours to take.

    Apart from just racing there are some collectables in the form of tokens that are spread out across each track. There's 3 in each, and you'll have to explore while racing if you want to find them all. Not to mention, there is also an extra set of goals to complete in each race, that will unlock new outfits, stickers, and other creating extras upon completion. The goals can be frustrating to achieve, and they're more of an annoyance than they are a fun addition.

    The big problem I have with ModNation Racers is the fact that the racing is unfairly difficult. You may do everything right in a race, and still end up in 4th because of the impossible AI. I'm usually all for a difficult game, but when you're punished for things that aren't your own mistakes, it can get frustrating to say the least. Because of this, I really didn't find the racing to be at all enjoyable. Despite how solid everything is, the near-impossible difficulty really makes the racing a chore.


    It's possible to create mods as good as this one with the creation tools UFG gives you.

    However, racing isn't everything in MNR. Packed into the experience is the amazing creation system that is without a doubt the deepest I have ever come across. You can create your own mods (the names for the characters in the game), karts, and even your own tracks. Each creation mode is insanely deep. Hell, there are over 300 eyes, noses, and mouths respectively. If you can't find one to suit your fancy than you're downright crazy. While the creation system is deep, it is however nearly impossible to create something that doesn't look Frankenstein-esque. While disappointing, it's still very fun and cool to mess around with the tools United Front Games has given you. Despite the kart racing becoming a drag, the creation tools kept me coming back for more.

    Singleplayer:
    While not unusual, it was really pretty unfortunate that ModNation Racers didn't weave a good tale, or really any tale at all. The story follows Tag, an underdog racer who is new on the scene of the ModNation Racing Championship after being given a chance by an old washed up racer simply named Chief.

    Really, there just isn't much here in terms of story. The plot feels very disjointed, and the fact that Tag never once talks at all during the entire game is very upsetting. You never really get to know Tag as a character, but instead he just feels like a robot who you just so happen to be put in control of.

    Despite the disappointment that is the storyline, there is some decent comedy littered throughout. Racing TV show anchors Biff Tradwell and Gary Reasons are there to add some humor and wit to the story, and they're a welcome addition to the otherwise boring plot.

    Multiplayer:
    Similar to LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers allows you to upload all of your creations (whether it be mods, karts, or tracks) online for others to download and use. It's a great system that works well with the most downloaded mods and karts being displayed in the ModSpot, the online hub where you can access all of the different game modes.


    The ModSpot acts as the online hub where you can access the top mods, karts, tracks, and more.

    Apart from uploading and downloading creations, there is also competitive multiplayer as you'll be racing against others from across the world in tracks from the singleplayer. What's a really big letdown about the competitive multiplayer is that it does nothing to hold your attention to it. There's no reward for leveling up, so it's difficult to find an incentive to play online competitively. Tack on the horrible matchmaking, and it just isn't a worthwhile experience.

    Much like the gameplay, ModNation Racers' online modes offer up a mixed bag in terms of results. While sharing and downloading creations is cool, the competitive multiplayer lacks excitement and the big kick to make you want to play more.

    Technical:
    From a technical standpoint, there's very little to complain about. The graphics are pretty fantastic, especially when the different weapons are put into play, and the music played throughout the game sounds great and really adds to the cartoony theme. Mods can look downright gorgeous, and they're especially cool because they were based off of vinyl toys that have shown a recent rise in popularity.

    Not to mention, very rarely did I ever come into contact with any bugs and glitches, and frame-rate drops are few and far between, which is always great to hear.

    However, it's not perfect. Load times can sometimes take up to two minutes, which not only takes you out of the experience, but it's also quite annoying to find yourself spending a large chunk of your time playing ModNation Racers waiting for a load screen to pass.

    Trophies:
    To be simple, the trophies aren't the selling point here. It's difficult to obtain the platinum, especially now where you'll find the multiplayer to be, for the most part, completely dead. There are trophies for people downloading your creations however many times, which are frankly annoying and tedious, since you have no control over if you earn the trophy. It's best to find a good boosting buddy for this one, as it'd be downright impossible to get the plat nowadays without one.

    Closing Thoughts:
    ModNation Racers is a mixed bag. It does some really great things such as its creation tools and presentation, but it also does some bad things such as the overly-difficult and unenjoyable kart racing, and the lackluster competitive multiplayer experience. It's a game with a lot of potential, but it just doesn't quite get there. Still if you're a fan of kart racers, or you loved the creation tools of LittleBigPlanet, ModNation Racers is a worthy rental to pass some hours with some decent content.

    Gameplay: 8/10
    Everything here is solid with the exception of the insane difficulty, which really takes the enjoyment out of the game.

    Singleplayer: 4/10
    There's little to no story to be found here, which is only helped along by the main character having no voice. The only thing that saves MNR in this category is the humor and wit added by Biff and Gary.

    Multiplayer: 7/10
    Sharing and downloading creations is great, but the competitive multiplayer is lackluster and doesn't give you an incentive to play the game. It doesn't help that matchmaking is downright awful.

    Technical: 9/10
    The graphics and music are great, and the game is without any major bugs or glitches. The main problem arises with the 2 minute long load screens.

    Overall: 6.5/10 Decent



    ---------------------



    Modnation Racers Second Opinion
    by Curb


    While I feel that Jack has many valid points, when I played this game I enjoyed it quite a lot. The trophies can be kind of a pain, but it's still a rather fun game to play with friends, especially locally. The online is good although it can be hard to gather race members, and the experience system, while near-exhaustive, functions well. The campaign mode can be kind of difficult as well, but patches to adjust the difficulty have made it manageable.

    Especially considering the current prices for Modnation, this is a game worth a try by everyone, although completionists should be wary.


    Overall: 8/10
    Last edited by Gauss; 10-07-2011 at 07:39 AM.

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    Good review. I agree. I nickname it Loadnation Disgracers for unbearably long load times. Two things stuck out to me in this game. Load times and stupid online trophies that take 40+ hours of self boosting. They ruined the game with those two things. The 'rubber-band AI' is annoying, but that is a staple for racing games, always has been.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburkulosis View Post
    Good review. I agree. I nickname it Loadnation Disgracers for unbearably long load times. Two things stuck out to me in this game. Load times and stupid online trophies that take 40+ hours of self boosting. They ruined the game with those two things. The 'rubber-band AI' is annoying, but that is a staple for racing games, always has been.
    Don't forget that you got some help from some awesome people I think it was a decent game, but I had hoped for something more Mario Kartish and that definitely wasn't the case. Not a bad game, just a little bit boring with long load times.

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    Im seriously considering buying this game, the review is a letdown in terms of i was looking to plat it and it looks like its going to be hard

    but im mainly going to get it for my 8 year old sister who is in love with Mario Kart on the Wii so my plan was to let her to do MP racing trophies

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    I remember wanting this game soooo bad and when I got it the loading ...................................... times where .................................... aweful......................... and matchmaking too...........................k forever to find 3 other people just to star..............................t the race.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevinnummer1 View Post
    Don't forget that you got some help from some awesome people I think it was a decent game, but I had hoped for something more Mario Kartish and that definitely wasn't the case. Not a bad game, just a little bit boring with long load times.
    HAHA! trudat, Kev At least the techno-pop music was really good during the load screens. Awesome music in this game. *black dude, can you feel the radio* black dude can you feel the radio*

    ModNation Racers OST - Brake It Down - YouTube

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    Quote Originally Posted by eburkulosis View Post
    HAHA! trudat, Kev At least the techno-pop music was really good during the load screens. Awesome music in this game. *black dude, can you feel the radio* black dude can you feel the radio*

    ModNation Racers OST - Brake It Down - YouTube
    Such an addicting song And wow! I didn't even know they were saying that Epic Techno Voice is epic

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ac3dUd3- View Post
    Im seriously considering buying this game, the review is a letdown in terms of i was looking to plat it and it looks like its going to be hard

    but im mainly going to get it for my 8 year old sister who is in love with Mario Kart on the Wii so my plan was to let her to do MP racing trophies
    Buy this game if you like to create and decorate. In that aspect, this game is very similar to LBP. That's where this game shines. The creative possibilities can be endless.

    Do NOT buy this game if you want a GOOD kart racer. I bought this game at release. I've never been so excited or so let down by a game. Imo, the devs burried their heads in the sand when it came to fixing this lag-fest of a game. All the support when to polishing the creative side of this game and almost no support was given to the racing side. The servers were so overloaded by people downloading karts, mods or tracks that it made it impossible to find a lag free race. When I say lag, I mean game breaking. This was by far the biggest letdown I've ever had from a game. Unless I boost the last two trophies I need, I'll never be able to plat. Boosting this game is more boring than watching paint dry too.
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    I bought this for Pinkstar817 but knew unlike Heavy Rain I wouldnt even try for the plat after all the things I have heard about it. Oh well... Not something I was looking into before either.


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    This is an amazing game - I think it owns mario kart hands down and it has consistently delivered on DLCs. The patches have improved load times and it has been aging well.

    The only thing that's hard to do is to get to the max level in racing - it takes a lot of races. What I did and this is definitely not my proudest moment in gaming because it is somewhat cheating, is this:
    - load up a game and have it start
    - then go AFK

    That's it - hopefully the same people will race consistently and you will always get a few hundred XP based on being last in each race and overall. Leave this overnight, while you're at work, and you should accumulate tens of thousands of XP/day. Eventually, you should have the platinum, because the final 2-3 levels require a lot and I mean a lot of XP.

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    I would like to point out that this game is more like Diddy Kong Racing than Mario Kart.

    You have the weapons that power up the more you pick up and there are collectable spread out through out the level.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TerminalPhoenix View Post
    The only thing that's hard to do is to get to the max level in racing - it takes a lot of races. What I did and this is definitely not my proudest moment in gaming because it is somewhat cheating, is this:
    - load up a game and have it start
    - then go AFK

    That's it - hopefully the same people will race consistently and you will always get a few hundred XP based on being last in each race and overall. Leave this overnight, while you're at work, and you should accumulate tens of thousands of XP/day. Eventually, you should have the platinum, because the final 2-3 levels require a lot and I mean a lot of XP.
    It takes about the same amount of xp to get from level 29 to 30 as it does to get from level 1 to 29.

    I've never tried to level up the way you just described, but I've seen other ppl do it. Your kart just sits there in the way. Do you ever get any hate mail and is there even enough ppl online to still do this?
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    It's good, but could be expanded on. Nice review.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Rowdi View Post
    It takes about the same amount of xp to get from level 29 to 30 as it does to get from level 1 to 29.

    I've never tried to level up the way you just described, but I've seen other ppl do it. Your kart just sits there in the way. Do you ever get any hate mail and is there even enough ppl online to still do this?
    They may have patched this up, but when I got the plat for this you need 250K XP to get to level 29 and in order to get to level 30, you needed to get 500K XP. That's a lot of XP and I had gotten to Level 29 by playing legitimately. At the end of the day, yes some people send some rude comments your way but some people realize what you're doing and like the fact they have one less person to compete against - making it easier for them to win. A few months ago, there were plenty of people on a daily basis to do this and with the influx of DLCs, I assume there's still a healthy # of people still racing.

    Also keep in mind, if you create your own cart and your own driver and you publish it, you get XP for that as much as you get from racing; so that is the true reason you want to race as many races as possible rather than win it.

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    Good review, never played this game myself but have always heard of these issues.

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    Single player does have a storyline, if you watch all those cutscenes (but it sucks). SP was better then 4/10 (IMO) and overall I'd rated it slightly higher than 6/10, but this is a very good review

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    The only things I hate about this game is the awful and unacceptable load times, it takes longer than a PS1 game, and the difficulty which I am starting to master. Other than that I love this game!

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    Review Team now has a new feature we are adding to some reviews: The Second Opinion.

    Mod Nation Racers is the first to get this treatment, thanks to Curb.

    Our goal here at the Review Team is to bring you as much information we possibly can through reviews, and it is our belief that the providing a second opinion will help facilitate that goal.

    After reviews are released another Review Team member may post a short and sweet review with a second score just to give you, the PS3T member, another take on the game.

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    Good idea cause modnation was much more then a 6, but I realize reviews are opinions but 6 ?


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    Quote Originally Posted by thedevilsminion View Post
    Good idea cause modnation was much more then a 6, but I realize reviews are opinions but 6 ?
    It's my personal opinion on the game. I found the racing to be uninspiring and unfairly difficult, and there was so little story here to keep you invested. Now take into consideration that I realize that racing games rarely have amazing plots, but UFG did attempt at putting one in the game, and for the most part failed. Add in the excruciatingly long load times, and it just wasn't too enjoyable. I gave praise where praise is due with the creation tools and graphics/sound.

    Now obviously others will have different opinions, and I respect the fact that you liked the game more than I. The review still stands and everyone is free to disagree with it.

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