Read all my reviews
Date: 04 Feb 2006, 02:07 GMT
Just before I begin, when I say full-fledged game, I refer to the fact that the game is of huge download size and could otherwise be sold for a profit.
-Its a FREE, full fledged game. How many of those can you name? I can name three. Wolfenstein Enemy Territory, Americas Army and now this game. Then, of course, there are the games which used to be popular, now arent, and the publisher has put them out for free (GTA1, Starsiege Tribes, Tribes 2, etc.). But those games, aren't popular anymore and there really isn't a community these days, besides the fact that with today's computer you can pump out 200fps with such old games due to their dated engines. Trackmania though is a game with a real graphics engine that has shading and stuff, fit for todays hardware.
-You get a game with stunning visuals and some great audio effects which really puts your hardware to the test.
-Unless I'm mistaken, this is the first FREE full-fledged racing game.
For all you Formula 1 fans, this is probably more of an F1 racing sim than anything else. Its not exactly an F1 game, its kinda like X-Games meets Formula 1.
-You get a racing game which is quite original in its style. It has insane jumps, loop-dee-loops, turns, and all that. Bundle that with the fact that there are no boundaries in the game. This isn't like playing a game of bowling with the bumpers, let alone the gutters. The ball is at least confined to the lane area You aren't confined the race track in this game, so it can get quite interesting and funny at times.
-It gets new users into the game very well, providing 30 practice tracks to work on your skills.
-It provides many modes of play: solo pracitce, LAN play, 1 on 1 time trials (which is a really interesting mode of play for you and a friend), and of course, multiplayer. The multiplayer is where its at, though i do suggest you do the practice stuff first and get accustomed to the game.
-The controls are easy as sin. Up-Down-Left-Right keys...thats it.
-THE GAME SUPPORTS WIDESCREEN!!!!!!! HUZZAH!!!!
-There is a safe mode.
-You get a built-in TRACK BUILDER!!!! I couldn't believe it. You can create your own maps if you are so compelled!
-You can join any multiplayer game at any time since the game seems to be more of a huge time trial, seeing who can complete the track with the lowest time. I never got to finishing any map due to the difficulty in staying on the track, so Im not sure if the map ends when someone finishes or whether its based on a time limit and seeing who can get the lowest time in the limit.
-You can change the camera view. When you go through the loop-dee-loops the camera automatically changes to first person view. Its quite cool.
-It lets you create a custom car. There is no part upgrading element, its all modification of looks. All cars drive the same, your times are just based on your driving skill :).
-Since this is a multiplayer game at heart I would have expected something a little like Battlefield 1942/Vietnam/2 with a built-in game browser. You don't exactly get that, besides not having any choice of what server to join. You create an account online and it automatically places you on a server. You are free to join and leave as you wish, but it doesnt give you many options online.
-I was also expecting the multiplayer experience to be quite varied, as in, I was expecting more game modes. There is just one mode of game play online. You are just trying to get the lowest time on a map. If you flip over you are free to restart, and start at 0:00:00, but just one mode of gameplay is...probably...tiresome to people who have been playing a lot.
-Game modes aside, I was also expecting the game to be a big race where you could knock other cars off the track and stuff. Its none of that. As I said, its a game against the clock (as well as against the track since trying to stay on it is quite the challenge). At least, though, you can see where your other opponents are in relation to you, since everyone is on the same track, just everyone is like a ghost to one another, since its more of a way to keep pace with your oppoents as opposed to a way to hit them or something.
-The music tracks are very limited. When going through the solo practice tracks you will get to hear the entire score very quickly :P.
-Well if you read the description, qualifying time is over :P. But at least the game still works.
-There is no part-upgrading element to it, like NFS. All cars are the same, as described above.
-If you aren't a fan of companies putting their logo all over the game, then you might not like this game. It seems NVidia is the money-backers of this game seeing as how their logo is all over the game. At least though, the NVidia logo isn't plastered all over the track. It does warn you before you load the game that players should go out and buy an NVidia card to take advantages of the shadows in-game. I didn't seem to see any problems with the graphics running an ATi Radeon Mobility 9700 :).
Considering that this game is free, its really worth the download. The track builder really sealed the deal. I know that America's Army and Enemy Territory are great games, but they don't include the ability to build your own maps and such. Im not sure where your custom made tracks in this game can be used, but hey, at least it lets use your creative mind, assuming you one.
The graphics and audio are great for a free game, and considering this is a FREE game, I was surprised at its originality.
Its a little bit of MegaRace, a little NFS:Underground, a little Midnight Club 2, and a little GTA3/VC/SA all in one (if you are interested in how I arrived at that description, well... its like GTA3/VC/SA, in that the game has no boundaries, you can go pretty much anywhere on the map. Its like NFS:Underground in that there is a minimal element of it trick rewards (flips, 180's, etc.). Its a little like Midnight Club 2 because of all the hill-based jumps. Its a lot like MegaRace in that its a race with all these loop-dee-loops and big loops and turns in the track.)
The 265MB download is kind of big, but take solace in the fact that the server has free unlimited access (unlike the wonderful people over at GameSpy and all those similar services which require you wait in a queue tracked on an webpage to download at a capped download speed). I was pullin near 700KBps on the download of this game, so the download went pretty fast.
Go download it now! Its very fun for a free game!