ModNation Racers is a kart racing game released for the PlayStation 3 and Sony PSP on May 25, 2010. User generated content is a central aspect of the game, such that it uses the same "Play, Create, Share" adage as LittleBigPlanet to convey its basis in online user-generated content sharing and level creation tools.
In ModNation Racers, you take the role of Tag, a male Graffiti artist who received an MRC Flyer advertising a new season of the MRC. Tag shows it to his Mother, who then finds her old friend who is a Crew Chief and former racer and gets him signed up for the MRC. It is revealed that the current champion of the ModNation Racing Championship is Espresso, and Tag has to race and win twenty-eight different Tracks in five different Tours (the Home Tour, Mayhem Tour, Range Tour, Grim Tour, and Grand Tour) to win the ModNation Racing Championship season and break Espresso's wining streak.
Upon showing an MRC poster to race to his mother, she informs him that his grandfather, Chief, is a crew-chief, which along with his own kart is all he requires to enter the qualifier. Chief, while critical of Tag's choice of kart decoration, agrees to be his crew-chief.
Upon qualifying for the MRC Tour and already becoming a popular contestant with fans for his unique style, Tag's Uncle Richard, head of Conservative Motors, a company responsible for cheap, bland and uninteresting karts, attempts to sign him up for a sponsorship deal which is quickly turned down. Halfway through the Home Tour, Tag's mother reveal that they're unable to afford the constant repairs to his kart. When the kart blows out, Tag's mother is inspired from her son's newfound popularity to reopen the paintshop as a bodyshop garage, becoming an instant hit with customers and allowing them to stay financially afloat.
During the 3rd Tour, Chief finds that the Boom Box Weapons System on Tag's kart is badly damaged, despite their supposed indestructibility, and since they are expensive to replace, could risk Tag being unable to race. Tag's mother asks if the Boom Box from Chief's old kart is still functional after his racing wreck years ago, but Chief claims it was the reason he was unable to remain a racer. While working on repairs for Tag's kart the night before the Grim Tour, Chief discovers a bomb planted on the kart's undercarriage. Chief survives the explosion but falls into a coma. Not wanting for his mother to sell the paintshop to afford a new Boom Box, Tag reluctantly signs on to the Conservative Motors team, now being forced to race in a bland kart and racing outfit with no creative freedom, and to have Richard as his inexperienced crew-chief.
Eventually Chief recovers from his coma. Unhappy that Tag has signed onto the CM Team, he reveals that he actually retired from racing after being petrified from his wreck caused by MRC reigning champion Espresso, and that the Boom Box from his kart is still functional. He offers it to Tag so that he can remain in the race, break away from CM and get his creative freedom back. Tag wins the MRC Grand Tour, becoming the new champion of the MRC replacing Espresso. Chief gets his revenge on Espresso, and Uncle Richard is arrested as the culprit of the bomb on Tag's kart, in order to force Tag to sign onto the team.
Players are able to accelerate and drift, successful drifts allow players to fill their boost meter. The meter resembles a multi-tiered thermometer which allows players to the choice of activating a turbo boost to increase the kart's speed, a shield to protect their kart from incoming attacks or sideswiping other racers. Players are able to collect weapons as they race which can be upgraded to up to three levels of power, weapons include sonic attacks, missiles and lightning strikes. For example, a first level sonic attack emits a series of rings around the player knocking nearby opponents off the track while a third level sonic attacks sends the rings forward, knocking all racers ahead of the player off of the track. In addition to the emphasis on user-generated content, the game includes a full-fledged single-player mode featuring a story by professional Hollywood writers.
Why It Rocks
- A plot for the championship mode, which explain why the creation tools in the game exist.
- It is possible to create custom characters (called Mods in this game), custom karts, and even custom tracks. It is also possible to publish these creations and download other people's creations while online.
- Add custom terrain, branching paths, and props to your tracks you make to make your track unique.
- Add stickers, accessories, and more to your Karts and Mods.
- There are lots of parts to create custom tracks, Mods, and Karts in this game, and more were added in DLC content released after the game was released.
- Great gameplay where you have a boost meter which you can fill by performing stunts such as drifting, rotating while in mid air, drafting other racers, and successfully hitting other racers. You can then use
- You can play online multiplayer with up to 12 racers.
- A hub exists where you can meet other people in the ModSpot.
- Time trials exist for custom tracks published to the server. There is also a Hot Laps mode where you attempt to get the fastest lap possible to earn XP.
- Awesome soundtrack.
- Long loading times lasting up to forty seconds on the PS3 version of the game.
- The PSP version is missing some of the customization features of the PlayStation 3 version of the game, such as branching paths and bridges for tracks, and arrangeable decorations on Mods and Karts.
- The PlayStation Vita version is a botched port of the game.
- The servers for the game has been shutdown on October 10th, 2018. Meaning, players are no longer to be able to share content with other players or play online multiplayer.
- The PSP version doesn't have cutscenes for your custom Mods, even if you kept your mod as Tag, he doesn't appear at all due to the limitations of the PSP.
ModNation Racers received mostly positive reviews. It was rated 9 out of 10 by IGN who commended the game for its excellent kart racing mechanics and the robust level design tools stating, "If you can dream it, you really can make it in ModNation Racers." Game rating aggregators GameRankings and Metacritic gave the game 83.13% and 82 out of 100 respectively.