5th March 2011 - The modern-classic Pure is the new benchmark in what a dirt racing game with a focus on Motor X and ATV’s should be, and since its release, there hasn’t really been many solid contenders to it. But nail’d looks to knock your block off and kick you in the face with adrenaline and hopefully take the crown. Can it? Read on to find out…
In a genre like this, where most releases really are something to be reckoned with and where fans have a somewhat high standard, a game needs to bring something fresh to the table. Fresh, hip and hopefully exciting. And nail’d brings the most of the latter, with the most adrenaline filled gameplay this genre has ever seen. Its faster, its harder and its far more jaw dropping than any other game in its league, but does that really translate to it being a good race?
Something easily noticeable in the game is its lack of modes. There isn’t much on offer, just some free runs and tournaments and the arguably required multiplayer portion. This is one of the major downfalls of the title, and goes hand in hand in helping the failure of the somewhat stock and unthoughtful race types. The standard racing is where most of the fun is at, and at the opposite end of the spectrum, the challenge-type race where players have to try and score the most points, is a chore to endure. Having no tricks, and a few too many jumps just make this mode seem empty and worthless. But said jumps and lack of complexity is actually what gives the standard racing is jolt of enjoyment. Its hard to express just how fast and furious the racing is without experiencing it first-hand. And the track designs further this high octane racing action, but ill touch on that in a bit.
But this furiously enjoyable racing doesn’t last as long as it could. Not the races themselves, no they’re rather meaty. But the fun to be had here is somewhat limited. Given how simple the game is and lack of complexity and race types, playing Tournament mode quickly becomes repetitive and rather boring.
Nail’d feels rushed in some development departments. One thing specifically is how the games track resetting works - or more appropriately, doesn’t. If and when you crash your psychotically speedy vehicles, you get reset back on track. Thing is, you usually get reset ahead of the track, after some of the more difficult set pieces and given these are when you usually crash, a sneaky and smart racer could easily win most races with simple turns and swerves off tracks or into walls.
The multiplayer is a bit of fun, but only for those well versed in most aspects of the game. You have to know your way around the 14 wholly unique tracks and have their shortcuts, jumps and secrets all detailed in the back of your mind to stand chance to win against some of the better drivers on LIVE. You know, those guys who are just playing over and over for the Achievements and will trade it in as soon as they rake in some sweet Gamerscore? Yeah, you know at least one. And there’s a few of them making the rounds online here.
Lately, style is all the rage. People want their games to have a certain feel about them before they jump into the action. They want the look to complement the gameplay, and they want some kick ass menu styles. A game should also have its own colour pallet and themes.
Nail’d ticks all the right boxes with what I previously mentioned. Its use of Orange, Green and White is obvious even before you play the game - the titles case looks the part with the game itself. Once playing you can even see how its affected development of levels, with the designers really helping to make certain colours and images stick out in the desert environments. So to sum it up, nail’d pulls of the use of style very well, having a very unique sense of individuality.
All of that also goes well to complement the games previously mentioned track designs, which if you remember correctly, helped tie almost every other of the games positive aspects together. To make nail’d sense of extremity and adrenaline more obvious, tracks have been proportioned, designed and created to give real sense of the full-on excitement this title has to offer. Jumps are massive, set pieces are explosive, the environment comes to life and it all happens around the unbearably fast racing.
I’ve made it apparent in the past that I like a fair bit of metal. Okay… A lot of metal. And I love it when a game realizes the bond this aggressive music type and most forms of gaming share. That’s why when it comes to the audio department, nail’d hit’s the nail on the head (pun intended), with not only a great range of rocking music tracks to sink your ground teeth into, but also by creating and utilising some original soundtrack pieces by one metals most prolific supergroups. Made up of the likes of Wayne Static (Static-X), Jamie Jasta (of Hatebreed fame) and more, the nail’d-exclusive supergroup is one of the most daring and unique things I can think of a game developer to attempt for a video game.
And the music isn’t the only thing here that’s loud and obnoxious. Techland seem to have taken extra special care to ensure their off-road vehicles sound the best out there. Its all a bit much for some, but with fast and daring racing, one can’t argue that fast and daring music and sound effects should follow.
While its all very neat and friendly to the eyes and ears, as a game, nail’d lacks a lot of substance. There isn’t many modes to choose from, and from them, there isn’t much content to be enjoyed before you find yourself doing it all over again. And again. Probably once more too, if you haven’t had enough yet. The race types are bland and predictable, and the simplicity of the games actual racing mechanics don’t help that factor at all. Perhaps if it wasn’t a full-priced retail game and more of a bargain-priced game like top competitor MX vs ATV: Alive plans to be - and considering that its been released for a few months overseas - it may seem a bit fairer to the value-for-money factor.
I'm willing to go out on limb here and say Techland have successfully tied all of the games great moments, themes and styles together in one whirlwind of extreme dirt racing. While the game lacks certain requirements in the actual field of racing, its simply a poorly executed repetition fest that could have earned the right to really stick the nail in the competition. Nail’d is a good effort, but one that a bit more development time could have really helped to bring the game up the standard of the its very well designed styles and ideas.
AAG SCORE: 7.2/10
+ Absolute mayhem of a racing game
+ Great effects and masterful soundtrack
+ Very well designed themes and styles
- Lack of game modes
- Boring race types
- Repetitive single player
- Some bad development choices
Reviewed and Written By John Elliott