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nail'd


It's like being punked while driving, but with less Ashton.
Developed by the same company that worked on Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood, nailíd is an arcade ATV racer that definitely stresses ridiculous speeds and stunts over classic simulation style. Itís a game that rewards experimentation over conformity and the developer wants you to understand that immediately with their over-the-top presentation that made me want to slip on a No Fear t-shirt, pound a Four Loko and call it a day. Yet thereís no distinctive character to the game, nothing that sets it apart from other arcade racers. Thereís just a general sense that this game is totally extreme dude! SighÖ

naild racing down mountain

You have also seen the single player campaign structure many, many times before if you have played any racing game. You are launched into a tournament career mode that requires wins in track races or stunt challenges to progress in the tourney all the way to the championship. As you progress, you also unlock new equipment and outfits to assign to your rider. These are a result of not only winning the races, but also earning points by landing cool tricks or screwing with the other players on the track. The latter is extremely difficult to pull off due to the ridiculous speeds and poor handling though. Also, if you simply concentrate on racing the track, the AI competition is laughable in the first two thirds of the tournament mode. I found myself winning races with minimal effort and didnít really feel challenged until the final portions of the tournament.

Unfortunately, getting through any section of the tournament is hampered by the wonky physics and floaty handling of the ATVs. Wrecks seem to happen completely randomly at times and for no good reason. I can slam against a wall when screeching around a turn at breakneck speeds and be perfectly fine. Other times, Iíll race the entirely course perfectly and crash out when I hit a ramp incorrectly. It was frustrating and ridiculous all at the same time, without rhyme or reason. The respawn system is also wacky for a game thatís stressing exploration, often punishing you for veering too far off the beaten path.

naild chick skimpy outfit

I had more fun racing online than within the actual single player campaign. Unfortunately, there are not many people that own this game, thus its slim pickingsí on the number of 12 player games that you will find. If you play at peak times, you will find 4 to 6 player games out there. A competent racer should have no problem wiping out the competition if you familiarize yourself with the tracks. The games that I did participate in were completely lag free and smooth. In addition to the multiplayer, there are 49 achievements to earn if thatís your sort of fun. Some of them are based around winning tracks on specific game modes and others are awarded for finding secrets on the tracks. The tougher achievements include beating the developerís best times on tracks or just unlocking all the achievements (only because I doubt you will be playing this game that long). The set is well balanced though and offers achievements to both multiplayer and single player gamers.

Graphics

The engine is designed to impact the sense that you are driving at out of control speeds and it does do that very moderately well. Unfortunately, this also results in framerate issues from time to time, thus ripping you out of the racing experience. In addition, the loose, freewheeling physics system can be difficult to master as well as locating the best shortcuts on the course. Much of the game requires a trial and error process to racing, specifically because the developer did a poor job of laying out visual cues. There are also areas in the level where you inexplicably get stuck on the course, once again because the graphics donít convey the upcoming problem very well.

naild jump big air

Character models are pretty low-rent, even though itís just a racing game. I think the developers spent all their time on the large environments rather than creating decent characters. Also, whoever designed the female character model either hates women or is hard up for female companionship right now. Thereís no way any respectable racer would leave their mid-section exposed when flying around on ATVs. Heck, to get me into one of these ridiculous races, I would require a suit of armor.

Audio

The soundtrack, while clichťd and dated within its hard rock roots, does do a solid job of conveying the presentation that Techland was trying to emphasize. But itís definitely nothing that you havenít heard before in other games. The original music included in the game is annoying however. The sound effects are definitely a notch better, offering directional effects for crashes and drivers that are closing the gap to your racing position. But I didnít like the squeal of my ATV engine when I snagged a boost.

Conclusion

nailíd is often a frustrating game to play due to the problematic physics engine. It also doesnít convey much of a personality as an arcade racer; applying a dated presentation to lackluster arcade racing doesnít make for a tremendous experience. However, the game does have a slightly more attractive MSRP ($50) than most releases and the multiplayer modes are entertaining (if you can find people to play). Unfortunately, the peculiar physics around crash behavior and the general lack of depth in the single player game makes this game hard to recommend as a purchase. If you are interested in playing a new arcade racer, do yourself a favor and rent nailíd before you purchase it.



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