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Game Reviewed: ModNation Racers
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developer: United Front Games
Reviewer: Matthew Scott
ESRB Rating: E
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ModNation Racers is a kart racing game very similar to games like Mario Kart. There is a story mode involving an up and coming racer named Tag, but this serves as mere backdrop to the main point of the game which is kart racing. Just like in other kart racing games, the player races a go-kart type racer around a track, usually a very unrealistic track. The player’s main objective is to come in first place, but there are also secondary objectives for the player to achieve which might include sometime like falling off the track or causing another particular racer to crash. As in other kart racing games, the player can also pick up power-ups to help him win the race. These powers up include items that enhance performance such as speed boost, but some power-ups are designed to cause destruction to other racers such as missiles. Everything, however, is played out in a very cartoon like manner.
The thing that makes ModNation Racers stand apart from other kart racing games is the creative control given to the player. The player has creative control over characters, karts and tracks. If you have your PS3 connected to the internet, you can then upload your creations to the Playstation Network where players can share their creations with one another. As of this review, I have seen some very creative stuff such as Star Wars characters like Darth Maul, Superhero characters such as Ironman and Spiderman and cartoon characters like Marvin the Martian. Some have even created some of the characters and karts from Mario Kart. The creative content is without a doubt the coolest part of the game.
My only complaint with the game is that the single player story mode can get quite a bit challenging. There are 5 race tours in the story mode and as of writing this review; I am only halfway through the 4th tour. This game might have a kiddy look to it, but it is definitely a challenging game. The multiplayer, however, is a lot of fun and feels more balanced than the later stages of the story mode.
Reviewers Note: This review is based on a partial play through of the story mode and some multiplayer. The content expressed in this review is based on the portion of the game that the reviewer has played. Please also note that as more and more characters and karts are being created for this game, this review will not be able to reflect all downloadable content.
What Parents Need to Know
Some of the power-ups that can be picked up on the track allow the player to do things to cause other players to crash. For example, one power-up is a missile that can be used to shoot other karts, another power-up is lightning that is used to zap other racers. The player can also bump the other racers off the track or into obstacles. Some tracks also have obstacles that can cause players to crash, some of which are activated when a kart drives over a switch on the track. There is not any death. If a player crashes, the kart will simply reappear back on the track, although maybe a few places behind where he was when he crashed.
There is not any bad language in this game. One of the commentators, however, is constantly making fun of the other commentator. It is slapstick humor, but if your child is of the age where they mimic what they see on television, it may not be the kind of comments you want your child to make.
One of the racers in Story Mode named Espresso says he wants to take a female reporter back to his villa so she can eat coffee beans from his toes. It is more comical than sexual.
There is a shirt that can be unlocked that shows off a bra.
In the Story Mode, there is a scene where one of the announcers steps out from behind the booth not wearing any pants, (but he is wearing underwear.)
One of the load screens shows a character not wearing anything. There is a box covering up most of his body to make it look blurry. This is not meant to be sexual, however, but rather a way to show that you can create a character from scratch.
Some of the items that can be used in the create-a-character are items that are labeled as Demon Eyes. You can also give your character a mouth with fangs.
Some of the user created content can be of a spiritual nature. For example, one person created the Ghostbusters car.
There is a driver in the Story Mode called Shadow who can disappear and reappear.
One of the tracks called Lost Temple has a giant skull on it with fire in its eyes. The race commentators make reference that there is an ancient stone slab on the track that was believed to allow people to communicate with the dead.
There is a lot of slap-stick humor is this game. Most of it is careless fun, but a few things some parents might consider to be tasteless and crude. For example, one scene shows a racer picking his nose and then making a flicking motion.
ModNation Racers is a lot of fun. The story mode, however, can get a bit challenging and sometimes frustratingly so as you progress farther along in the game. I think the game could have been better served if it had an easy, normal and hard option. This would have opened the game up to more casual players as well as normal gamers. The multiplayer, however, is a lot of fun. I also love checking out the different creations that people make. If the content of this game lines up with your family's standards and you are a fan of kart racing games and/or you love games that allow plenty of user created content, then you will most definitely want to check out ModNation Racers.