ModNation Racers

ModNation Racers Review for PS3


Race it, Mod it, Share it.

Review Verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
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ModNation Racers screenshot
ModNation Racers screenshot

There's so much to the create and share aspects of ModNation that it's easy to forget that there's actual racing too. You've got powersliding crazy karts, shortcuts, ridiculously powerful weapons, turbo boosts, shields and even on-track traps. The racing boils down to a neat jump-to-slide mechanic, with karts then able to hug the racing line while retaining good speed, earn boost and then turbo off into the distance. The handling is good, with skilled racers able to powerslide and boost for most of each track, but it doesn't feel quite as refined as the handling in SEGA's recent All-Stars Racing.

As always the use of power-ups will rub some people up the wrong way as they give lesser drivers a chance to catch up, but on the whole the best players will still come out on top. There's some depth here that might not be obvious from the start. Weapons have three levels of power, able to affect more rival drivers as you level them up by collecting pick-ups, and a neat shield system provides you with some protection if you time its use correctly. There's also a barge move, lifted straight out of Midway's underrated Wheelman - a quick flick on the right analogue stick and you'll send your kart flying sideways into whoever happens to be jostling for position. The on-track traps sadly feel a bit gimmicky and don't add much to the arcade action other than the odd annoying moment.

Track designs are good and the locations varied, but aren't as charming as what we've seen down the years in Mario Kart, and more recently in Sonic and SEGA All-Stars Racing. This is ModNation Racer's biggest problem: it just feels a bit plain. Whether you're playing alone in single races or through the career, online with friends or split-screen on one TV, there's fun to be had, but you can't escape the feeling that there's something missing.

A lot of effort has gone into trying to give the career mode a story, but, quite frankly, the pre and post race cutscenes are terrible. If you're of a certain age you'll remember MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch. The commentators you'll grow to hate here are from the same school of cheesy dialogue, but aren't as potty mouthed, resulting in the kind of banter you'd find in a primary school playground. It's all been put together very well, but these sequences don't hit the mark.

ModNation Racers screenshot

In-game visuals are clean and sharp, although the tracks lack the spark I'd have liked to see. There's nothing breathtaking on show here, and in many ways the course designs in Mario Kart Wii, a game on a significantly underpowered console, are more visually appealing. There's the odd frame rate stutter, but for the most part you'll be screaming along at a nice steady clip, often soaring high into the sky off turbo charged ramps. The music is annoying in the extreme, though, and not something you'll be glad is lodged in your brain after a few hours with the game. Most unforgivable is the terribly slow load times, which really start to grate after a while. Considering the game has a mandatory install before you begin, the huge wait between races is hard to understand.

As an example of a game that gives users the tools to create their own content, ModNation Racers is up there with the best. The track creation tools are brilliant and for many gamers will justify the price tag on their own. With some neat sharing functionality there's every chance excellent, new, free content will be appearing for some time. If you're more interested in the actual karting experience, though, you might find ModNation to be ever so slightly lacking in personality. It's good fun with mates and has a surprising amount of depth, but lacks the magic that would have elevated it to a must own title.

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User Comments

scaz2244's Avatar


just tried out the demo and thought it was ok the track editor is pretty cool a lot easier than making levels on LBP! might pick it up later on in the year when its cheaper
Posted 15:51 on 20 May 2010
ClevBeast's Avatar


I am not happy about the load times mentioned and would like to know what the lobby system is like. I am a bit worried if i wait til the price drops i might get thrown in with super players and not other beginners. Anyway after that review i'm still 50/50
Posted 16:24 on 08 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ Stegosaurus-Guy-II

And miss a chance to get up on his soap box, don't be silly.

@Rickitis, I dunno. I've thought about about it quite a bit but can't really justify it for £40. If I see it cheap I might or possibly trade in a few games for it as my collection is swelling to a near enough all time high.
Posted 15:38 on 06 May 2010


After playing through the beta I can completely see what VG mean by lack of personality, the tracks felt a bit 'meh' and only the user created track layout made them feel fresh.

It's an arcade racer at heart and we're now used to other racers that set their levels in all different types of environments with lots going on in the background. Modnation Racers has a field, trees and a few buildings.

I also thought that the floaty-ness of the cars and the physics model in the beta weren't right, but hopefully they've improved this for the full version.

I'd like to try it out, but looking at how quickly LBP went down to a sub £20 price I'll wait.
Posted 14:44 on 06 May 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ El-Dev

Fair enough but I'd give it a try sometime. Are you going to buy Fifa World Cup? I'm still waiting for the price to drop a little.
Posted 11:37 on 06 May 2010
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II@ CheekyLee

Why don't you take your own advice and ignore them?
Posted 07:54 on 06 May 2010
CheekyLee's Avatar


Dear VG,

I thoroughly enjoyed your review of ModNation Racers. As always, your score was fully justified. However, the comments thread that accompanied the review soiled my enjoyment, being full of morons who just don't know how to read. Might I suggest that in future you just give every PS3 game a 10, so that the blinkered Sony-loving fanboys will just stop their whining once and for all?

Ignore the droids, and keep up the good work.


Posted 07:48 on 06 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev@ Rickitis

That may well be the case but I don't like it, I only use 2 sites for reviews and IGN ain't one of them. Also I never go on it so I wouldn't know about any of that other stuff.

In relation to Modnation, the easy track creation appeals to me and appears to be the best part of the game so hope to get time to give that part of it a good going over in the future.
Posted 00:49 on 06 May 2010

renegade@ bigOman

Or in the sky or under water in space oh wait cos thats a stupid idea, if you want a level like that. Im sure you can come up with it some how
Posted 00:31 on 06 May 2010
bigOman's Avatar


I can see what VG is talking about with this game. It's not the tracks that come on the disk that are the issue as he said they are good it is the environment they are in that is the problem. From what I have seen from videos the themes Alpine, Jungle ,Seaside and Desert seem plain and boring. Seems a bit dead.. Why didn't they do something like Lava or Snow and maybe something like Rainbow road to make it more interesting visually? I remember the Beta had really crap tracks that people had done, so I don't think they will be helped with the full game IMO.
Posted 22:04 on 05 May 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ scaz2244

biased?! towards who/what?
Posted 21:28 on 05 May 2010
K3RT's Avatar

K3RT@ renegade

The way I read the review is that its the actual driving thats lacking the personality and not the track editor/mods. I agree the track editor sounds good and for this alone I will probably purchase the game however when it comes to the driving I'm not expecting to experience anything that I haven't experienced in the many kart games before this one.
Posted 21:22 on 05 May 2010
Rickitis's Avatar

Rickitis@ El-Dev

Its one of the most popular websites on the internet. I think IGN is awesome, best reviews, podcasts, daily fix is great also and unlike this site when a game is bad it gets a score which makes sense at the end of the review.
Posted 21:09 on 05 May 2010

renegade@ K3RT

So the ability to create tracks and "mods" that is really only limited by your imagination. This is not adding enough to the genre?

Well I dont know what is. Its like saying GT 5 has no personality because its always about cars.
Posted 21:09 on 05 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar


I'm going to buy this actually,
I need more games for my PS3 :D
Posted 20:25 on 05 May 2010

Game Stats

ModNation Racers
Out of 10
ModNation Racers
  • Fun karting with friends
  • Great track creation tools
  • Lacks personality
  • Career mode cutscenes are painful
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/05/2010
Platforms: PS3 , PS Vita , PSP
Developer: United Front Games
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Genre: Racing
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 926 97
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