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Review: Modnation Racers for PS3

“If you build it they will come!” More iconic words are rarely spoken and that concept seems to be built in to every line of code in this game. It’s all about having tons of options for making your own Mod, what they call the driver, kart and tracks. Imagine fourteen or sixteen pairs of eyes to a page and twenty or so pages. On top of that color, position and size are all variable. This is the case for virtually everything in the game. As far as creativity goes the sky is truly the limit. The top three mods yesterday were very accurate Mario, Ironman and Spiderman recreations that looked like they were made by professionals. All from the basic sets of tools and options made available through the game. To keep you coming back for more most of the options are locked from the get go and can only be unlocked by racing.
I’ll elaborate further on the racing piece shortly. To get these items unlocked you complete challenges for each race. The first level is simply finishing in the top three and then the next two increase in difficulty and usually involve finishing in first and completing some task. I’ve found my self playing a track over and over and over again. While it’s kind of frustrating to not be able to get that challenge completed the game play is so engaging that its continuously fun despite the frustration.

Speaking of the game play, you like what I did there? I’m very tempted to put it on par with Mario Kart over all. It has, and then builds on the solid base that Mario Kart set forth with out going to far over the top or finding some way to break the game play. You have your occasional line of power up items you can grab but this is extended by having each consecutive item pickup level up your weapon. Drifting, drafting, bumping, spinning and attacking opponents all fill your boost meter and earn you points and XP. The boost meter is used for both turbo and a very short lived shield capable of blocking any attack for it’s short duration. To top it all off like a cherry on a banana split they scatter tokens around the track that you can collect and they also unlock items for your Mod, Kart or Track. The end result of all of this is that the game never seems to repeat except in career mode where you’ll play a track over and over again to complete the challenges. When you play online or even with friends tracks rarely repeat because tracks are downloaded randomly and then purged from memory unless you explicitly tell it you want to keep the track. This is going to extend the longevity of the game far beyond what the venerable Mario Kart was capable of sustaining. Long live Modnation Racers!!!

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