Does ModNation Racers have what it takes to challenge the seemingly omnipotent Mario Kart?
- Has recognisable kart racing mechanics, good online capabilities, custom content can be shared with other players
- Ridiculously long loading times, characters lack distinctive personalities
ModNation Racers looks great and incorporates some solid kart racing mechanics. But the game is hindered by long loading times between races and lacks the 'soul' of Mario Kart
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
ModNation Racers is a racing game that evokes Mario Kart (and Little Big Planet). However, it deviates considerably from the Nintendo kart racing stalwart.
While both games use pint-sized racers, ModNation is somewhat less fantastical than Mario Kart. Vehicles look more like real racing cars (well, as real as you can get with a kart racing video game) and the tracks looks less like they were created by babies vomiting sunshine and happiness — quite refreshing, really.
Because it's on the PlayStation 3 the game looks better as a whole than Mario Kart, and the graphics are as crisp as a shirt freshly ironed by your mum. The humorous commentary also gives a more ‘young adult’ tone to ModNation.
The game uses a lot of stock-standard kart racing mechanics but adds its own unique flavour to them. Power-ups come in four categories: speed boosts, sonic, missiles and lightning. The last three are used offensively and become more effective the more power-ups you collect.
Players start off as Tag, who — in our mind — resembles an Emo-looking Sackboy. After being thrown into a tutorial race, players can explore ModSpot: a place to customise characters, vehicles and engage some multiplayer action. When online, players from across the PSN network can interact to create and share downloadable content.
Characters and vehicles can be customised to death. Users can make celebrity look-a-like characters or familiar gaming figures — even Mario. These skins can, of course, be shared with other players.
You can also make your own twisted tracks filled with obstacles and props of your choosing, and test them on the spot.
ModSpot is also the place to enter online races with up to 12 players and split-screen races with up to four players. It’s up to you whether you want to be competitive to earn racer experience points or just get on for some casual fun.
If you want to fly solo, you can have quick races with AIs or play through the story mode to unlock content to pimp your ride and your racer. Just a word of warning: the AI is fairly challenging, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t come first every time.
One gripe which cannot be overlooked is the criminally long loading times. Racing games live off being quick to start, so when you glove slap your friend for an automotive duel you can just pick up and play to settle a question of honour.
While ModNation is insanely fun when you are actually playing it, the one minute plus static loading screen between matches sucks a lot of joy out of it.
Where ModNation really falls flat is, surprisingly, its level of character customisation. Players will probably have a ball trying out different skins for characters but might not form an attachment to the characters. To put it plainly, dress a lifeless mannequin up in pretty clothes, its still a lifeless mannequin.
Iconic characters like Mario, Luigi and Princess Peach, have distinct personalities which come through in Mario Kart. ModNation racers are all soulless, cookie-cutter creations with different flavour icing on top. What’s the point of using a Kratos skin when it doesn’t feel like Kratos? (Kratos should at least perform a limb-by-limb decapitation of all the other racers if he wins)
It’s one thing to watch your creation jumping around in a puzzle platformer (in Little Big Planet, for example), but in ModNation Racers you spend most of the time looking at the back of your character’s head; not a great way to form an attachment to it.
The online capabilities of ModNation are impressive and it has nailed the basic karting game principles. If you couldn't care less about Mario, Peach and Luigi and wished the cars handled a little more realistically, ModNation Racers might be the fuel you're looking for. But if you want character and soul, stick with the fat plumber.
Follow GamePro Australia on Twitter: @GameProAu
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Subaru XV 2017 review
- 2 Samsung 2017 QLED Q7 TV: Full, in-depth review
- 3 Kogan Atlas UltraSlim Pro laptop: full, in-depth review
- 4 Gigabyte Aorus GA-AX370-Gaming 5 AMD Ryzen AM4 motherboard review
- 5 Kogan curved 4K UHD 55-inch LED LCD TV review
Latest News Articles
- Saints Row II is free on GOG, but not for long
- The original StarCraft and its beloved Brood War expansion are now free
- Xbox One Insiders get first crack at player-organized tournaments
- Meet the new Microsoft Edge: 5 key improvements with the Creators Update
- Microsoft will unveil Project Scorpio, the next Xbox, at E3
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTPMO LeadNSW
- CCProcess Specialist - TelcoVIC
- CCPMO ManagerNSW
- TPSystem AdministratorQLD
- FTUX Design LeadNSW
- FTCitrix Engineer/Designer - AWS experience essentialNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- CCBusiness Project Manager - ApplicationsNSW
- FTLevel 3 Systems EngineerNSW
- FTOracle E-Business Functional ConsultantVIC
- FTSalesforce AnalystQLD
- TPSenior iOS EngineerNSW
- FTFront-end Developer (UX/UI)NSW
- CCOrganisational Change LeadNSW
- FTSenior BI AnalystQLD
- FTICT Transformation Integration ManagerNSW
- CCSystems Administrator - Cloud, Azure and LinuxQLD
- TPBusiness Analyst | HealthcareQLD
- FT.Net Developer - work on cutting edge BAU projectsVIC
- CCOIM-IAM Environment ManagerVIC
- FTSolution ConsultantVIC
- FTJava Team LeadVIC
- FTCRM Technical Specialist (Oracle Eloqua)ACT
- TPSOE EngineerACT