ModNation Racers: Road Trip (Available exclusively on the PlayStation Vita)
ESRB Rating: E
Number of Players: 1 to 4 (Ad-Hoc)
Developer: SCE San Diego Studios
Release Date: February 14th, 2012
Expect to lose hours just messing around modifying even the most basic stuff. You can create new characters, new karts and then edit the heck out of them whenever you feel like it. When you’re done, you can publish those creations online for others to download and enjoy. You can also create your very own tracks, which pretty much ensures you’ll always have something new to race on if you ever get tired of the regular courses. Of course, this also means that a great online community is always at your doorstep with a bazillion different races (or karts, dudes and whatnot) for you to download, race and share with others. PS3 support is also included which gives you access to that community as well.
+ Kart racing should be fun and ModNation Racers is no exception. It controls very tight and insures you’ll have a blast playing through the game’s many tracks.
+ A solid career mode. Learn the ins and outs of the game quickly by taking on its many different challenges and events. There are also a bunch of collectible tokens scattered around the tracks, which can then be spent in the shop unlocking even more goodies.
+ There’s always something to do. Whether it’s downloading new stuff, trying on new karts or just going trophy hunting, you can always play for just “another minute”.
+ Rich visuals and cool designs. ModNation has some pretty original tracks, and they all look superb on the high-definition screen. The framerate does suffer from time to time however… so be warned.
+ Unique weapon system. Rather then making you obtain a random item, different colored blocks are distributed around the courses. Grab one and punish your opponents now, or wait and upgrade it as you go.
+ Drifting is always fun and a must to win those tight races.
+ Challenging from the get go. This one is no pushover.
+/- Why can’t you fire your items behind you?
+/- Like many kart racers, this one suffers from some balancing issues. The rubber band AI is always just one boost away from catching up to you.
+/- Uninviting touch screen interface. Even the most basic inputs require the precision of a surgeon.
– Horrendous load times bring the whole package down. No excuses for a cartridge based portable game to offer such ridiculous waiting periods just to boot up a single race. Play Mario Kart 7 and try to justify this after.
– No online mode. My jaw just dropped when I found that out for the first time after trying the game. I looked around for a bit until I realized this “ad hoc” option was all there was in terms of multiplayer gaming. Sony tried to excuse themselves by saying you can always download ghosts from friends and whatnot and then race against those. Yeah…that makes up for it????
ModNation Racers, unfortunately, is a title that I can only recommend to the most die-hard kart racing fans that absolutely must own another racing game besides WipEout on their brand new PlayStation Vita. It’s too bad because the gameplay and all the customization options are a blast. The problem is that Road Trip’s two major faults are big no-nos in my book. Not having an online mode on such a multiplayer-friendly genre in 2012 is inexcusable. The load times are just icing on the cake. These will hopefully be fixed in the sequel… or in that new Little Big Planet racer recently announced. For now, only get this if you’re a fan.
Final Score: 6.5/10