Monday, 27 February 2012

Modnation Racers: Road Trip Review [PS Vita]

Yes, those cute little Mods have returned to the race track. This time however, they are racing on a whole new handheld system, so how does the new PS Vita version of Modnation Racers, called Modnation Racers: Road Trip, compare to the original game?

Those of you who are familiar with the original game will know that it was heavily-centred around content customisation, meaning that everything from Mod characters, Tracks and even Karts could be upgraded and customised with various outlandish and wacky designs.

The content customisation is still a huge feature of this game, but has been given the typical PS Vita overhaul that one would expect, so that the rear touchpad and front touchscreen are used in order to complete the desired effects.

Now even your karts can be customised with either a quick tap, or a gentle swipe of the finger across the screen, which seems to make the whole thing a lot less time-consuming than in the original game. Is this a good thing or a bad thing? We'll let you decide that for yourselves.

Tracks can be created simply by drawing the desired shape on the front touchscreen, which definitely enhances the ease with which new designs can be brought to life in the game.

Weapons have also been given an upgrade in this sequel, and can be upgraded to a maximum of three levels to make them even more powerful. Moreover, there are a total of seven different controls layouts to try. If the button combination you are currently using seems a little awkward, try using a different layout - you won't be disappointed.

As with the PSP game, there are Quick Race, Multiplayer and a Single Player Career Mode to complete, all with various challenges to test your racing skills. However, whilst the Quick Race mode works well on the PS Vita, the Career and Multiplayer Modes do seem a tad disappointing.

For a start, the Multiplayer in this game seems to be focused on time trial races instead of the ability to compete against friends in an actual, non-timed race. This is disappointing given Sony's plans that the PS Vita be viewed as a socially-centred handheld (a feature which has already been strongly utilised by other launch games).

Furthermore, the Career Mode does not seem to feature an actual playable storyline at all, but instead consists of different racing challenges designed to improve player's skill and accuracy on the race track, which is quite frankly a hollow and tiresome exercise, which it is necessary to complete if players which to unlock all of the customisable items on offer.

In conclusion, Modnation Racers: Road Trip on the PS Vita did not turn out to be everything we had hoped it would be. The customisation features are definitely brilliant, and the touch controls really do make the process a lot easier than in the previous game, especially when designing new race tracks.

However, if this game featured a better Multiplayer campaign and a proper storyline in Career Mode, it would have been an undisputable winner.

If you fancy a casual racing game with quirky characters, and no complicated campaigns, then this is definitely the game for you. If, on the other hand, you want a racing game with a solid Career Mode and good storyline, this game will most likely leave you feeling empty. Overall rating: 7/10.

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