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ModNation Racers
Playstation 3

Reviewed on: Playstation 3

United Front Games
Publisher: SCEA
Rated: "E" for Everyone

CHEATfactor Game Review
by Joe Sinicki

Audio/Visual: 6
Gameplay: 5
Lasting Appeal: 5
Overall: 6
CHEATfactor: 6

Say what you want about 3D gaming and motion controls, the real upcoming revolution in the video game world is user created content. Sure, PC gamers have been able to incorporate their own content into games for years, but now, thanks to games like Little Big Planet, console gamers are finally getting in on the action. Sony and United Front Game’s ModNation Racers is the latest to offer users a custom experience; and for the most part it succeeds, but sadly it still does suffer from some of the same problems that have haunted the technology for years.

Undoubtedly, ModNation’s greatest strength is in its truly superb creation modes. Not only is the engine surprisingly deep, but it’s also incredibly accessible at the same time.  Seriously, it’s got to be one of the best creation engines I’ve ever played, but it’s never more than you can handle. One of my biggest problems with Little Big Planet was that if you didn’t know exactly what you were doing, it was hard to bring your ideas to life just how you wanted them. Here, the focus is on ease of use just as it is depth and while some of the more advanced tools can prove quite challenging (and even for them, there is a series of insightful tutorial videos), I found it quite easy to create karts, tracks and racers from my twisted imagination.

"Sony did a great job putting the focus on user creation and sharing in ModNation..."


Once you finish the game’s initial race, you’re immediately dropped in to the game’s central hub where you’ll gain access to most of the game’s modes, but most importantly, a literal marketplace of the best creations the ModNation community has to offer. Seriously, this is stuff that puts my half-assed badly drawn Master Chief to shame. Seriously, someone took the time to hand craft an A-Team Van and characters like Ryu and Mario. The best thing about this hub mode is that all you have to do is drive your cart over to an item you’re interested in to view it, rate it or even download it right there. Sony did a great job putting the focus on user creation and sharing in ModNation, and it’s only going to grow as more people discover the game.

The one thing I didn’t like about the game’s creation mode is that you have to play through much of the single player campaign to unlock the majority of cool features. This really shouldn’t be that much of an issue – after all, the racing engine is fun right? Yes, but the AI is so unforgiving and cheap that a fair number of players are bound to give up before they get what they really need for the creation kits. In the single player campaign, you play as a graffiti artist known as Tag and your job is to get to the top of the ModNation circuit. More specifically, you’ll have to get him to at least third in every race to unlock the core components of the creation kits. While that may sound easy, you’re sure to run into more than a few instances where the computer seems to pull ahead, very improbably in the last few seconds, ruining the victory for you.  You’ll also earn points and items for pulling off tricks and certain maneuvers like drifts but sadly, if you’re going to want everything – and you will – you’re going to have to deal with the shoddy AI.

"..the game’s core racing mechanics are solid and fun enough."


Obviously, when you think about Kart Racing games you’re going to think of the genre’s leading powerhouse; Mario Kart. While ModNation Racers won’t be taking the plumbers’ crown (or should that be cap?) anytime soon, the game’s core racing mechanics are solid and fun enough. In truth, the game borrows from most every kart racing title in the last few years, for instance there’s the power-ups sprinkled throughout each course like in Mario Kart, but much like Donkey Kong Racing, you’re not just limited to one at a time and you can gain more powerful weapons by collecting. Each time a racer successfully performs  spin, jump or drift their power bar grows – resulting in some cool perks like a shield that can deflect pretty much any incoming attack (seriously – how long have you wanted a shield that could deflect a blue shell?).

The only downside to playing a game with this much user created content is that you’re sure to experience some pretty lengthy load times.  Of course, the load times gets worse with the more user created content you have in your play session, but as my time with the game grew, I became increasingly tolerant of these load times.

ModNation Racers is a fun and surprisingly deep Kart Racer, but it falls short of challenging Mario Kart for supremacy in the genre. If you can get past the cheap AI and load times, you’re sure to find fun with the racing engine and definitely the impressive creation tools. ModNation is a game that due to its depth and sense of community is sure to be around for quite some time, thus making it a valid investment. 



CHEATS USED: Start Boost, Trophies List

Around my third race or so in ModNation’s career mode, I started begging anyone who would listen for an unlock all cheat. I didn’t get it.  In fact, I didn’t get many cheats at all.

The only cheat I could find for ModNation racers is more of a tip, how to get a speed boost when you start a race, but there’s room for so much more here. Why not the unlock all cheat? I don’t want to play through the single player, I want to make crazy creations and race my friends. And if I must play through it, then why not an unlimited items cheat or a super speed cheat?



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