ModNation Racers for Vita Gets Taken for a Spin - Hands-on

By Ryan Winslett in Previews/Impressions
Tuesday, June 14, 2011 at 10:00 am
modnation vita cover.jpg
Big racing on a small scale
At the risk of sounding like a broken record when it comes to describing PlayStation Vita versions of titles that got their start on home consoles, ModNation Racers for the PSV looks, controls, sounds and feels exactly like its PS3 big brother for the most part.

 

I had the opportunity to explore the track creation mode and take on a full race during my E3 visit and, while some of the editing tools may not be as precise as the console version, the racing is spot on.

 

I began my visit with ModNation PSV (my title, not theirs) using the track creation mode. The biggest difference here is the fact that a track can literally be drawn in seconds using only a finger. Drag your finger along and, boom, you've got yourself a track.

 

While painting props with your finger works just fine, I'm a little concerned about the fine-tuning options. To add a hill, for instance, you touch on the "raise track" option and drag your finger along the portion you want to see raised. It seems simple on paper and may just require more practice, but this method lacked a certain precision offered in the PS3 version of the game, meaning I kept building banks that were too high, dips that were too low, etc. This may also be fixed with the option to use the standard controls rather than the touch screen, but whether or not that will be available was not revealed.

 

An area where the touch approach succeeds, though, is in the forming of terrain. Touching the back pad builds mountains while touching the front screen builds valleys or lakes. This worked very well and, with multi-touch, it meant I could raise an entire mountain range in moments.

 

It was announced during Sony's E3 press event that all PS3 ModNation creations would be available for download on the Vita version, further demonstrating how much like the console version this portable title truly is. I was allowed to race one such downloaded track and, having sunk quite a bit of time into the console original, I can safely say the experience is identical. It looks and controls the exact same.

 

While a brand new campaign has been promised, you'll also have access to four new element-based weapons (fire, earth, etc.) in the final version of the game. These weapons are also upgradable and add a breath of fresh air to the available arsenal.

 

I still have some reservations about the creation tools, but those may be proven moot in time. And you absolutely can't go wrong with the racing. Given the added bonus of millions of creations ready to be downloaded and raced when the game launches, ModNation Racers for the PSV is shaping up to be a top title for kart fans when the system ships "this holiday season."

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