When the PS3 version of Modnation Racers was first shown off at E3 last year, I was skeptical as to how the game would traslate over to the PSP. After I got some one on one time with a preview build of the game however, I no longer have any doubts that the portable version of Modnation Racers is as competent a title as its PS3 counter part.
Modnation Racers on the PSP is a bright, cheerful kart-racer that is both reminiscent of Mario Kart and brings the kart-racing genre into the modern age. The game presents great visuals that successfully carries over the visual styling from the PS3 iteration. Appearances aside, the game also features the most powerful track creator seen on a handheld console.
Players start off by using an asphalt layer to create a core track layout before adding jumps, boost pads, items, and track props. There are many terrain formation and deformation tools that can change the entire course layout. With one tool, flat terrain could be changed into a mountain range or into a beautiful lake that spans the entire length of the track. There are two different methods for creating track designs, either by the player adding each object individually or by allowing the game to populate the world by itself. After the player has completed their track design, they can quickly test out their track and make changes if necessary.
User customization isn’t only limited to track creation however. Each player can make their own unique identity in Modnation with the help of an in-depth character and vehicle creator. Players can choose from the game’s stock assortment of parts and clothing items in addition to bonus items gathered by playing through the game’s story mode.
Modnation Racer’s main story mode is typical fair. The game sets the player in the shoes of Tag, a new racer who must work his way up the ladder in order to win the MRC (Modnation Racing Championship) and become the new champion. It’s worth noting that additional characters throughout the game bring a certain charm and humor to the game, but in the end the game is about racing.
While the online portion of the game wasn’t playable in the preview build, it’s worth noting that once the game hits retail players will be able to upload their levels to the Modnation Network for others people to download and play. Of course, there will also be an online mode that will allow players to race against each other using the Playstation Network.
Modnation Racers for PSP has presented itself so far as a well crafted, portable compliment to its PS3 bigger brother, and has set the stage for an online world full of user generated content. It’ll be interesting to see how the concept compares to Little Big Planet which also enables players to submit levels of their own design, but we’ll just have to wait and see when Modnation Racers becomes available for both the PSP and PS3 on May 25th, 2010.