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nail’d – The PS3 Attitude Review

Submitted by on Tuesday, 21 December 20104 Comments

nail’d is an arcade racing game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. This is a game with unrealistic physics, crazy track layouts, and extremely fast gameplay. The racing experience is as pure as it can be.

Unfortunately, this results to being nothing more than a shallow racer that overstays its welcome by the time you’re halfway done with it.

If you’re a fan of old school arcade racers, nail’d might be the game you’re looking for. This is one of those racers where you could just hold down the gas button the entire time, never worrying about pressing the breaks even once. The controls feel very loose and this nail’d a very easy pick up and play type of game.

There are two types of vehicles to choose from, an ATV or an MTX bike. This is not a racing game with heavy customization options. Instead, there are only six customizable parts (body, exhaust, engine, handlebar, shocks, and wheels) that change the attribute of your vehicle. For instance, new wheels might increase your acceleration and lessen your steering attribute. As you progress through the game you’ll unlock even more options for your vehicle. You can also choose the gender of your driver but that’s just all for show.

nail’d doesn’t have many modes to offer, but it does feature a lengthy Tournament mode. This is the mode you’re going to spend the majority of your time playing. Initially, there are four leagues to playthrough, each featuring six races to complete. After you finish a league, you unlock a new league that takes you through a series of three races that must be completed without any breaks. Once you’re done with those, you’ll unlock more tournaments until you reach the final cup.

Most races consist of three laps, with longer tracks lowering that number to one. Occasionally, you’ll encounter certain races that have mutators enabled. These will either turn off vehicle collisions or gives you infinite boosts. Aside from simple races, there’s also a handful of Stunt Challenges to complete. Normally, this wouldn’t be a problem if the game actually had stunts to perform. Since it doesn’t, you’ll only gain points for anything that increases your boost gauge. So what exactly constitutes as a stunt in nail’d? Well, you get points whenever you land properly from a high jump, ram an opponent off track, or drive through fire gates. Yes, it’s that lame.

Aside from the Tournament Mode, there’s Time Attack, Custom Tourney, and Quick Event. Within the Quick Even menu, you’re able to choose between the various game modes, race track, amount of AI racers, and enable mutators. The custom tournament works in a similar manner. It’s actually pretty neat since you can choose any track in the game even if the locations don’t match.

The laws of physics can be broken quite easily in this game.

nail’d unfortunately does not have local multiplayer support, but there is LAN and online play. When you first start the only mode you will be asked for your location. I had to actually specifiy that I’m from the State of Illinois before playing, which is the first time I’ve ever had to do that for a game before. When checking the leaderboard by location it doesn’t actually show you a list of players. Instead, it only tells you your rank. That’s probably a good thing for privacy reasons.

If you’re looking for an online racer, this is not the game to get. The community is non-existent and you’ll never find a game. It didn’t matter the hours I searched, or whether or not I made my own game. There’s simply nobody ever on. All of the options you’d expect are all here, though. You can choose the match type, the track, modify the mutators, change the amount of players (with support for up to 12 racers in a game), and invite friends to your lobby.

Included with every new copy of nail’d is a DLC voucher that includes four new tracks and a new game mode called Detonator. It’s an interesting mode that’s poorly executed. Randomly throughout the race, a bomb will be activated on your vehicle. In order to remove it, you need to perform one of those boost feats mentioned earlier. If you fail to do so in time, you explode. It sounds fun, but that’s until you realize that sometimes it seems impossible to do a boost feat in time. This results in pointless, unavoidable explosions. It’s not fun.

Oddly enough, there is no ability to view anything behind you in the actual game.

The problem I have with nail’d is that it just doesn’t have any lasting power. The developers at TechLand made the game too arcadey for its own good. You might play through the game for an hour or two and just get sick of it as a result. It’s weird, the game puts you in the air so often you’d think that there would be some sort of crazy tricks to perform. Instead, you get air steering. It’s a fun idea but never goes anywhere beyond exactly what it sounds like. Since races aren’t particularly challenging either, there needs to be something to keep you interested. Unlocking every event in the Tournament Mode becomes nothing more than a chore because the overly simplistic racing just isn’t satisfying anymore.

It’s a real shame too, because the track layouts are well done for the most part. The crazy designs make for some unique twists and turns and have tons of air jumps. Sometimes though, you’ll just have no idea where to go. I can’t recall the last time I’ve ever been lost in a racing game because the surrounding environments were just a mess of confusion. Regardless, it’s nice that the level design is over the top. It adds to the charm of the game and it’s one of nail’d’s more redeeming qualities. There are 16 tracks in total, with a nice variation of environments to race through (forests, snow, ruins, dams, etc). I also like that you can change the music mid-race with the touch of a button. It’s just too bad that you can’t choose your own songs from the hard drive.

One of the biggest gripes I have with nail’d is how it handles the respawn system. Every single time you crash, instead of just warping back instantly to the race, you are greeted with a white loading screen. I can’t think of a worse way to completely take you out of a gaming experience, let alone one for a racing game. Sometimes the respawn bar doesn’t even load up at a consistent rate. How come it takes a full five seconds after one crash but only two for another? It makes no sense.

While the visuals are actually pretty good (aside from looking a bit blurry), the frame rate is rather inconsistent. Sometimes it looks like the environments are slideshows as you’re racing through at fast speeds. It doesn’t happen that often, but you’ll even see racers skipping along the track off in the distance. It’s a bit distracting but this odd frame rate doesn’t seem to interfere with the actual mechanics of the game.

Who thought that seeing this EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU CRASH would be a good idea?

I must say, after playing a hardcore racing sim like Gran Tursimo 5, nail’d is a nice change of pace. The gameplay mechanics need some work, but for the most part, this a pretty solid racer. Unfortunately, there just isn’t enough to keep you interested after a few hours. It’s just that shallow. To the publisher’s credit, nail’d is only a $40 game and it most likely will drop in price fast. If you’re looking for an easy to pick up and play racer, this might be the game for you.

This week, we’re giving away a couple of nail’d t-shirts to our readers in North America. Here’s how to enter:

1. Follow @PS3Attitude, @Delriach, and @Chupacaubrey on twitter.

2. Tweet the following phrase to enter –

I’ve entered #psfreeattitude from @PS3Attitude and I want to win that awesome nail’d t-shirt! Full details here –

3. That’s it!

Remember, you need to follow @PS3Attitude, @Delriach and @Chupacaubrey. You must include all the text mentioned above in your tweet to qualify. The contest ends at 6pm BST (12:00pm for those in the Central time zone). That’s 24 hours from now. Good luck!