This sequel to the PS3 and PSP game ModNation Racing sees yet another racer fill the ranks of the Vita Library, but dresses it up as a fully customisable game that will see you play, create and share which seems to be Sony’s mantra these days. But with so much choice available to you with other games in the same genre, should you spend your tiime and money on this one?
There are already many racers available, most notably WipEout 2048, and with a few more on the way in the shape of a new Need for Speed, the sequel to Sonic and Sega All Stars and other takes on WRC and Motocross, you will need to have something different to stand out from the crowd.
Modnation certainly does offer that, in the form of modification. Seemingly everything can be changed here, whether it be designing your appearance, designing your own courses or the very look of your own kart, from all of the parts that you have unlocked through collecting tokens and progression of the career. It all sounds pretty cool, until you realise that all the parts are purely cosmetic. They actually don’t do any different jobs. That said, some of this customisation is amazing. the level of detail you can put onto the karts is brilliant, and the customosation for the track creater is fantastic, the game will take care of scenic placement and so on once you have designed the layout, but watching it come to life is impressive.
You’ll probably think that this is all amazing until you realise that in your second year of career mode, the AI becomes rather cheap and will start beating you with ease. If only these parts actually made a difference.
This rubber banding that the computer has is among the worst I have ever witnessed. WipEout also suffers with this to a degree, but you have different vehicles to suit you for it, and gradually increases with your own skill improvements through the game. Here, you will win your first tour with ease, and then start encountering trouble within your second year, and there are five years to play through. Needless to say, I didn’t complete the career for the purpose of this review. I didn’t enjoy playing it enough to see it through.
The game uses a cartoony style to it, and everything is all very colourful and friendly. The tracks and buildings and scenery you encounter all looks nice enough, but next to the aforementioned WipEout, does look visually lacking.
The game takes all the best pieces from many games in the same sort of genre and tries to merge all of them into one package here, so the news that projectile based racing fighter type gameplay should not be a surprise to you, but none of the weapons really feel like they do very much, and it all certainly feels very much like an amalgamation of these and hope for the best. As you drift around, you build your turbo meter and can then use this to channel a burst of speed through your kart, which does all feel satisfying, but as mentioned, as you progress through the game, is required to even begin to keep up with the AI.
Games like this have always excelled in multiplayer though, playing with the AI is one thing, but with some friends it gets really interesting. I’m quite sure that you can all recount some great racing mishaps when playing Mario Kart or Sonic Racing and so on. If you want some of that feeling here, you had better hope you have some actual friends to play with, as only local multiplayer is available, no online head to head. This is a rather mystifying decision and only holds the game back further.
ModNation is certainly not the worst game I have ever played, nor the worst racing game, and perseverence may yield some fun for you. But I found myself expecting and wanting more. Probably because there is some much racing competition on the Vita.