With our video game realm filled to the brim with ATV racing titles such as Pure and the MX vs. ATV series it's getting tougher to find a breath of fresh air in the off-road world. Coming up in the ranks this week is the new title from developers Techland nail'd. Does it change the rules of ATV gaming, or is it just another run-of-the-mill racing title? King Baby Duck and Blueonic share their thoughts and opinions.
King Baby Duck: Coming into the world of nail'd I was a bit worried whether or not I'd be able to easily play it, much less get into it. I had issue with the control scheme in Pure, which took me out of the gaming experience numerous times while driving the ATVs. What I like about nail'd is that it offers a good, easy-to-use control arrangement that lets players jump into the world of this game with no problem whatsoever. One button to accelerate, one to brake and reverse, one to boost and the left stick to steer. You'll be able to learn how to do this in the tutorial; a tutorial that will have your eyes popping out of your head.
nail'd contains three sections of gameplay: Tournament, Go Off-Road and Multiplayer. You control either an ATV or an MX bike and have it compete in various levels and races in various locations such as Greece and Yosemite National Park. These races range from simple three-lap runs to stunt challenges, in which the highest score of the race wins. When it comes to the actual racing in nail'd gamers will drive neck-and-neck while smashing and bashing your way through the terrain. To compare the feeling of playing nail'd would be the equivalent of someone describing a roller coaster ride: lots of quick corners, big drops and high risers and heart-pounding excitement. You might find yourself hooting and hollering at your TV screen as your ATV plunges down to the ground for that perfect landing, or screaming as you collide with other players, sending them flying off-course. You might even find time slowing down around you as you play this, but in a breaking-the-sound-barrier cool sort of way.
Not all gaming modes were exciting, as I had a problem with Stunt Challenge, due to the fact that there weren't any real stunts to perform in this game. (The only "stunts" I could find were wheelies and ones involving flying through flaming hoops while airborne.) If they had added more stunts to it and utilized the D-pad and other control stick to perform said stunts it would've been a more fun mode to the game. Instead it just feels like another race mode, only tougher to come in first place. It's a gaming moment like this that makes a shiny title like nail'd look a tad rusty.
Multiplayer online mode adds more fun to the game, with players being capable of competing online with friends and other gamers all over the world. There was no lag to be found while online gaming, but an issue arose when you crash. In other racing modes when you smash your vehicle it takes a second-and-a-half to reset your position. In online mode you might find yourself waiting four seconds before you reappear on the track, thereby costing you the race. Case in point I was in first place playing with Blueonic and one of the administrators from the German video game review site Gamezone, and suddenly I crashed into a tree. It took me almost five seconds to return to the game, and because of that I wound up in last place. Perhaps it's a bug, or maybe it's punishment for not racing carefully. Whatever it is, though, it caused me some frustration. The lack of split-screen multiplayer mode might also turn some gamers off.
The folks at Techland did an astounding job with the graphics, as the levels are amazing to look at. You may find yourself lost just looking at your surroundings, which could cost you a couple places in the long run of the race. Its original soundtrack featuring members of Deftones and Static-X -- topped off with licensed songs by Slipknot and Queens of the Stone Age -- create the perfect musical atmosphere needed for an exciting title like this. Having said that they could've added maybe a couple more tracks to the song list, as it slowly gets repetitive. In regards to the sound effects, everything revs and smashes in perfect synch with what's going on onscreen.
With its fast-paced racing style and great online multiplayer nail'd manages to be a new top dog in the ATV/MX racing world. Yes they could've added more to the stunt segments, but that's what the next round might be for. Here's hoping that nail'd is the start of a beautiful racing franchise.
Blueonic: If you're looking for a racing game that can give you a great adrenaline rush, then nail'd will do the job justly. The graphics are absolutely amazing, especially with the race tracks, vehicles and riders. Techland created a great game with a vast amount of racing games, providing between each of the Tournament sections with about six races for the first four levels, concluding with the cup tourney where they take all the levels you raced in and put them in one big setup. The music for nail'd is pretty damn good, as it does help you get into the game, especially when they put together their own tracks along with some favorite artists of mine. It really does the game justice.
Online play is absolutely fun, but I hope they create a patch so you can actually change the track while you're playing and others join your race. For some reason I was having an issue getting to change the tracks without having to get the hell out of the hosted game and create a new one. With the actual online racing I didn't really find an issue with their server. There didn't seem to be any lag, seeing that we were playing with a fellow reviewer from Germany (which was awesome). nail'd has a seriously sweet deal with their online racing, and I just can't wait till this comes out in stores so I can take on a lot more people online.
One issue I had with playing this game was the fact that I wasn't able to preload the shocks on the vehicle to launch. I do give it to them for the fact that if you pull back on the stick you get more air under the vehicle to get more distance. If you want to get out of the height just push up on the stick and you'll go down like a lawn dart. Another issue was that you can only do simple tricks in the game, similar to that of ATV Offroad Fury. When I look for ATV/MX tricks I'm turned onto the crazy-ass metal militia stuff that current games have. It brings me back to the game Freakstyle, an amazing title made awhile back where they basically turned SSX Tricky into a motocross game. It was one badass setup, mainly because you would get some serious height and when you built up the right amount of power you could literally have the character break dance on the bike. (The other game that really has me is Disney Interactive's Pure, where they created an adrenaline-packed game that has amazing graphics and awesome tricks.)
With that said I still do like nail'd. I'm definitely hooked on this title because they finally designed an ATV/motocross game that is strictly racing but with killer graphics. The realism of the game may be a bit farfetched, but it's still a great game you'll have a lot of fun. I urge Deep Silver and Techland to go ahead and work on the sequel, but (and I do mean BUT) toss in a dash of insane stunt tricks in the game with some even more kick-ass music. Hopefully then you will have a truly awesome game. Until then nail'd has been Blueonic tested, and Blueonic approved.
By the way: if you're a parent nail'd is a perfect title for the kids to play. It's not too violent (except when they crash doing those crazy jumps), and it's easy for the kiddies to play for a long time to keep them quiet. Believe me: I let my nephews try it out, and they were just amazed by what they were seeing.
- Amazing graphics and soundtrack
- Gameplay will leave your jaw gaping and on the edge of your seat
- Easy control scheme lets racing newbies easily jump in
- Lack of real stunts/tricks in "Stunt Challenge"
- Crashing online might cost you the win
- Can't preload shocks for higher jumps
GRADES: 9.1 (King Baby Duck), 9.3 (Blueonic)
FINAL AVERAGE GRADE: 9.2 (out of ten)
Publisher: Deep Silver
Platforms: Xbox 360, Playstation 3, PC
Genre: ATV/MX racing
US Release Date: November 30, 2010
Price: $49.99 ($39.99 for PC)