Who here likes Little Big Planet? I know I do! I love that game so much. Great graphics, great platforming, and an overall great package that is a good reason to buy a PS3. Though what do you get if you take the simple version of Little Big Planet’s creation formula and combine it with Mario Kart-style gameplay and those mighty mug doll things? Well then, you get one unique package of a game known as Mod Nation Racers for the PS3! Although it isn’t as amazingly creative or as polished as Little Big Planet or Mario Kart, Mod Nation Racers holds up on its own as a great and fun racing game where you can create your own character and tracks. It definitely isn’t in the top 10 PS3 games, but it is definitely in the top 20. So, let’s create a character and drive our way through Mod Nation Racers on the PS3.
Unlike a lot of racing games, this one actually has a story, but its simple so I won’t talk too much about it. The story is about a young driver named Tag as he dreams to be the best racer. He signs up and goes through 5 different tours to win the gold. There isn’t much as of story and there are some predictable outcomes and twists, but it does have some memorable characters. I warn you though, don’t expect a deep story for this racing game
Like I said, the gameplay is a racing game. It’s more along the line of Little Big Planet and Mario Kart combined into one. You get the Mario Kart-style racing with item uses and the size of the karts. The Little Big Planet parts come in with the Mod creator and level creator. You can design your own Mod and your own kart and get more pieces by winning races and completing specific challenges within the race. You also get the usual kind of online play as you can race up to 12 people. You can also play with up to 4 people in split-screen action. The challenges within the races are usually like get multiple points by drifting or spinning and even hitting opponents. The main gimmick, which seems to be a common gimmick now in racers is drifting. Drifting is the only way to gain boost in your boost meter. You will need to master this if you want to get through later races. Like I said above, there are 5 tours that you need to go through and you either need to be in third, second, or first to continue on in the tours. They usually have about 5 to 7 races.
While not the most graphically accomplished game on the PS3, since God of War 3 and Uncharted 2 cover that territory, I can safely say that it is a very good-looking game. It definitely has its own charm with the people looking like those Mighty Mug figures in motion. While there isn’t much story, the voice acting is pretty good. The conversations that the two announcers have get you through the story pretty well, and are fun to listen to at times. The music is also fun to listen to with some cool songs through certain levels. I also like that there is a hub world that you can share your creations with. You can easily kill a few hours just driving around in the hub world. I should know, I did.
However, if you thought I didn’t have anything bad about to say this game, well you-are-WRONG! I actually have a rather big list of faults that this game has. Number 1, the load times. These load times are awful, since it seems like it takes forever to load the levels and it just gets tedious when you don’t want to race and want to go to the hub world and etc. Number 2, the AI is overly aggressive midway through the game and to the end also. This has to be one of the most unbalanced racing games I have ever played in my life. This isn’t like the rubber banding like in Mario Kart, oh no. The AI in this game will do anything to make you screw up! Number 3, the AI is trigger-happy. This has happened A LOT throughout the game for me. I am in first place and I am driving my merry way through the final lap way ahead of the opponents and then BAM! A squad of missiles or something hits me and then 6 racers pass me. I mean it happens A LOT more so than it should. Number 4! Poor design flaws in the tracks. Sometimes when I am racing it seems like the tracks themselves are not fully polished. Not that they look bad or anything, but I feel like I could have made it through the game easier if there weren’t certain obstacles, or better designed roads to ride on. I had to restart like 45 to 50 times because I fell off a cliff or into the water because I made one wrong turn or didn’t drift at the right moment. Finally, we got number 5, unforgiving gameplay. This is basically an issue of all of the above problems. If you mess up once, it always seems like the game won’t give you any time to recover. You fall off a cliff, 7 racers pass you. You get shot, 5 racers pass you. You don’t land correctly after being thrown in the air, you’re stuck on the other side of the road and all racers pass you. My final complaint however is the unbalanced online multiplayer. It always felt strange since it was like I was working at a disadvantage for some reason; it’s hard to explain. I felt like a lot of this game could have been polished more, but that is just me.
So, that is my review of Mod Nation Racers. While it is definitely a flawed game that should have been more polished instead of trying to release it by a certain time, they should have saved it for the fall. I would be lying though if I said I didn’t have fun with the game. It is definitely a good kart racer, but like I said, it needs some work done on it. I say for now, rent it, but if you are hardcore about your racing, then yeah I would be glad to tell you to get it, but for little kids and for people like myself, I don’t see any reason for them to get it. Just go get a PSN card instead and go buy Joe Danger, which is more polished and more fun, in my opinion. Like I said, it’s definitely one of the better PS3 games, but it definitely isn’t top 10 material.
This game gets a 7 out of 10