You know what elegance and artistry get you?…..
– Uncle Richard
I was tossing up between doing a full review and a “First Thoughts” review, and in the end, I decided to focus on my original impressions since the game still has lots of playing through to be done by me before I start the intensive review on the game.
What I Liked…..
- First thing I liked is the item system. It was not cluttered with useless items like other racing games, instead every item is brutally deadly and uses the level up system as seen in the old Diddy Kong Racing game on the N64. There are only four item types, but you wouldnt want any more to deal with in the game. Shield system was also effective unless you had four sets of items aiming at you at the same time, in which you were a goner anyway.
- Track building was a blast and having the auto-populate tool available made it easy to make diverse levels, however it still made me want to go in and delete sections and rebuild bits to add the personal (and more devilish) touches to it. Building the track was easy as well, as you just had to drive like you normally would and it would build the basic track for you, leaving it for modification later where you can add shortcuts etc to your liking.
- Tutorial System, whilst the inrace tutorials were annoying, the out-of-race tutorials are all video based and hosted by the two presenters Biff and Gary, who carry out their comedic routines during the video.
- Mod Creation, in otherwords, creation of your custom character. Whilst you need to do very well in races to unlock extra content, there is an abundance of content you can use to build your character for races, or you can use custom characters already available. Improved if you have pre-order DLC, in which if you ordered from stores like EB Games or anyone that stocked in pre-order DLC, you may find that you have all the pre-order DLC that you could get from America.
- Online races were a lot of fun! There are three types of online races, XP Races where you can compete against others in select tracks to unlock XP points to level up your character, XP Series where you play a set of 5 tracks for a big boost in XP (Using a ranking system similar in Mario Kart only with bigger numbers) and Custom Races where you can play any track, including the custom tracks others make, but it yields no XP Gain.
- Objectives in the races were really challenging and made you think outside of the box in how you were to complete these objectives and still come first in the race (Almost all objectives required you to rank first alongside them). This didnt help considering it felt like all the karts were against you, since in one race I managed to hold a lead for the first two laps and complete all objectives but at the end have items spammed at me, sending me to 7th place. Still, it is a fun system and adds replayability.
- Storyline was interesting since most racing games either do not have a storyline at all, or just have some tacky storyline added on to suit the theme…. (Havent you ever wondered why our favourite plumber keeps deciding to randomly hold kart races…. or golf/tennis tournaments or play on giant game-boards….?) but the game, whilst not having the epic writing of most games, presented a storyline that was funny, even if it was just laughing at the commentators paying each other out.
- Latency, whilst the loading times are longish, there was very little Latency whilst playing, which is definitely a positive since you don’t want the game to slow down all through a race.
What Annoyed me….
- Loading Times, yes it has been mentioned on other sites so I shall spare you the details, BUT there is apparently a patch which should fix the issue. However, I wouldnt call the loading times game breaking, as I found they were usually 20-30 seconds tops, getting faster the more you played.
- More people seemed to prefer custom races over XP Races, which was a slight personal downer since XP Races are much more competitive.
- The Play and Create aspect are great, however I am not sure how far the Share aspect will go, since a lot of people prefer to use their own custom content it seems and unlike LBP which is comprised of custom created levels and rely primarily on that, a lot of custom race hosts will just keep alternating between their own maps or ingame maps meaning that you cannot get the wider variety of tracks to play on whilst in a group.
Anyway, I am enjoying it and would encourage everyone to consider this game if you enjoy racing games and/or LittleBigPlanet. Full review coming soon.