ModNation Racers Review for PS3

On: PS3PS VitaPSP
ModNation Racers screenshot
ModNation Racers screenshot

Who doesn't love Mario Kart? Well, OK, some people can't stand the way the power-ups mean you can be winning one second then last a few moments later. But most of us love the fact that it's a racing game that everyone can play. Whether it's you and some mates all sat on the same sofa, playing split-screen, or you against the rest of the gaming world online, something about Mario Kart has stuck, meaning the same basic formula has remained great fun for years. You'd think copying it would be easy, but there's a reason other games in the genre haven't had similar success. ModNation Racers, the exclusive PS3 kart racer from Sony and United Front Games, is the latest to try its hand at the ever popular arcade racing experience.

One of the biggest hurdles ModNation Racers faces is the fact that you don't get recognisable characters to race around as or themed courses to race at. Instead of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Bowser and co, you get strange anthropomorphic plush-toy-like creations that can be customised to reflect your own personality. While Sony doesn't have the wealth of famous, family friendly characters Nintendo has, an all-stars racing line-up would have added some much needed likeability and personality to the package. Still, the character creation tool is easy to use and allows everyone to race as their own Mod or Mod-ette.

This creation runs through to the karts themselves, too, with a variety of body kits, wheels, engines and accessories able to be combined to form crazy contraptions. The more races you win and objectives you achieve on the track, the more parts you have to use in the creation suite. You're not free to sculpt something exactly as you wish, but the variety of karts on show already, purely in the test network alone, suggests there's plenty of scope for originality.

All this character and car customisation is good, but it's not a patch on the quite brilliant track editing suite. Whereas we've seen level creation done well in the likes of LittleBigPlanet, in ModNation Racers the tools are so easy to use that anyone could put together a drivable track in minutes. This is going to be key to your enjoyment of the game, as it's by far the title's defining feature.

ModNation Racers screenshot

I'm not arty in the slightest and got bored after a few hours of messing about with the level creator in LittleBigPlanet, but I had a good time making fantasy tracks in ModNation. How professional the final track is will depend on how much time you spend placing environmental objects and adjusting the lay of the land, but it's perfectly feasible to create something and be racing on it with other people in under 10 minutes. For that United Front should be highly commended.

The ModNation hub, a drivable menu of sorts, lets you access all the game has to offer. The best characters, karts and tracks are all put on display, while hot laps and the like are easily challengeable. If you like what you see you can leave feedback or rate creations, and there's obviously the option to download and try out what others have made.

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User Comments

scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

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

ClevBeast

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
pblive's Avatar

pblive

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

CheekyLee

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.

Regards,

Lee
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's Avatar

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

bigOman

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's Avatar

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

SexyJams

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
8
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: 1,388 117
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