Publisher: Focus Home Interactive
Publisher 2: Ascaron Software Publishing GmbH
Digital Download - 03/23/2007
Intl - 03/09/2007
N Amer - 06/11/2007
TrackMania United Review
The TrackMania series has been an underground favorite for some gamers for several years now. The series offers gamers a unique arcade style racing experience with an amazingly in depth track building system. The series has progressed from a simple arcade style look from the first game to a more realistic look with Sunrise and now United. The most significant change for veterans of the series is the how community aspect has been given the rock star treatment of being the attention grabber for the game.
What TrackMania United is trying to offer in the community mode (called Manialink) is a Myspace type of portal for the game. Players from around the world can create new tracks, customized cars and even share videos of them playing the game with other gamers. Each player has the choice of creating their own customized Web site to show off their tracks, cars and videos. However, the single-player portion of the game still plays a huge role in the Manialink community for one reason: Currency.
You see nothing in this world is really free and in TrackMania United the community features of the game are still tied to money. The in-game currency, called Coopers, must be spent in order to purchase user created tracks, cars and skins. You can earn Coopers two ways, either by completing portions of the single-player Official mode or by selling tracks, cars and skins you’ve created. Some of you might be thinking “Well that just diminished the community mode” which I can understand but I believe it’s a great idea since it keeps you focused on playing the single-player game. The price of the user-created tracks and cars is minimal so earning enough money in the single-player game shouldn’t be an issue.
The single-player portion of the game is just as fun and entertaining as the previous titles. I would even say that United is the ultimate TrackMania collection since it contains almost 200 tracks based upon all of the environments from the earlier TrackMania games. But I might be jumping ahead of myself for those that have never played a TrackMania game. If you fall into this category then you can call TrackMania the wackiest and craziest racing game available for PC. Have you ever wanted to race around a castle, race above the ocean or make insane, death defying jumps completely impossible in the real world? If so then TrackMania United is the game you’ve been looking for.
The single-player portion of the game is broken up into three main modes: Race, Platform and Puzzle. The race mode has you competing against the clock to finish a track in the shortest amount of time. The platform mode is a race to the finish to see if you can actually complete the track since the track is composed of a variety of tricks and traps to keep you from finishing. The puzzle mode, just as the name describes, makes you complete a puzzle by putting pieces of a track together and then racing on the track against the clock. If you beat the clock then you finish the puzzle. Yes, a racing game can have a puzzle mode and it’s fantastic.
The actual Multiplayer racing portion feels limited since you’re not actually racing against other gamers. Everything in Multiplayer is always a race to get the best lap time for a track. Even if this is the only type of multiplayer race the rest of the community features should offer more than enough for most gamers. The tracks in the single-player game even show you the best lap times from other gamers around the world. The game includes the ability to download another players ghost car to race against based upon their lap time. Then take into consideration that tracks you’ve downloaded from other gamers are always available to play in the single-player portion. So even if the multiplayer race is limited the entire game is still focused squarely on how the rest of the world is playing the game.
The remaining portions of the TrackMania United are the customizable features. The biggest (and best) portion is of course the track editor. I would challenge anyone that has ever played a modded map or level from other games to jump head first into the track editor in TrackMania United. There are more than 1,000 different track pieces that can be combined to build whatever type of track you can imagine. No matter how crazy or unique you can imagine, the track editor will probably allow you to build. If there are over 100,000 tracks already created by other players around the world then you should definitely help out by building at least one or two. The paint mode lets you customized the paint job of the numerous car models available in the game. I checked several paint jobs available that did an unbelievable job of mimicking their real world counterparts.
If you have never played TrackMania before then United is a great start pointing to experience the series. The same frantic, insane and entertaining gameplay from the previous games remains intact. The community features might not become a runaway success like Myspace but should have a solid and loyal fan base creating content for the rest of us. TrackMania has always been an underdog when compared to other top-tier titles but TrackMania has always offered a gaming experience second to none. United continues this tradition and shouldn’t be missed if you’ve missed the earlier titles.
Game is currently only available on Steam via Digital Download. A boxed retail version is not yet available.
|Review Scoring Details for Trackmania United|
The games have always been about fun and United doesn’t disappoint. It’s hard to find another game that has you racing in the same type of crazy stages as you find in TrackMania.
The models of the cars in United are the best looking of the series so far with some impressive details on all of the car models. Most of the stages and tracks still remind me of the first game with only some minor details in the backgrounds. All of the car models are as close to possible to representing car models from major carmakers.
You get the standard tire and engine noise you would expect in a racing game. Nothing that stands out but nothing that distracts from the game. However the music is a never-ending loop of techno style music that you will probably forget about right away.
I did have some issues with the difficulty in the last TrackMania game I played and unfortunately United still has the same issue. You will start off blazing along just find only to hit an immediate speed bump after just a few levels. The wild and crazy gameplay is sometimes the game's worst enemy in making sharp and precise turns.
The community features offered in the game allows you to have an almost limitless multiplayer experience since you can play tracks or cars developed by other gamers. You can leave them feedback or they can provide feedback for your tracks. If only the game actually had a true race competition instead of a race for the best lap time.
TrackMania has always offered a great alternative to the realistic simulators we’ve been given over the last few years. The community features in United should help build a great unity for new TrackMania gamers or veterans of the series.
United continues the great legacy started with the original TrackMania game. This game is all about having fun and now with the community being the focus, gamers from around the globe can show their appreciation for the game. We still need a complete overhaul of the gameplay modes but what we have is still a solid foundation to game with.
The name says it all for TrackMania United. Players around the world can unite and share their TrackMania experience
Review Date: 06/22/2007