The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Recent arcade racing titles like Split/Second, Pure, and Blur have
tried to make racing about more than just crossing the finish line
first. Because of this, I’ve admired those games and how they expanded
the lexicon of racing titles. Nail’d is not one of those games. Nail’d
is not trying to redefine the traditional racing experience, but rather
fulfill its original promise: If you go really fast and make it to the
finish line first, victory is yours. However, that doesn’t mean that
Nail’d is any less exciting than those other games. In fact, Nail’d
attempts to capture what is fundamental about the genre in its own way,
leaving the player with a powerfully distilled experience.
you’re on a speeder bike from Star Wars and you’re bombing through
Yosemite Park and Greece. You have had 1,000 heart attacks after the
number of near-misses you’ve survived, but you’ve gotten used to flying
by the seat of your pants. Trade out the speeder bike for an ATV, and
you get the picture of what Nail’d is like. Polish developers Techland
(Call of Juarez) have captured lightning in a bottle with this game’s
sense of speed, and have smartly positioned other aspects of the game in
service to the glory of higher mph.
The game’s tracks do an
excellent job of combining set-piece moments, speed-building
straightaways, strategically placed gates that give you turbo boost, and
enough twists and turns to keep things very interesting. My favorites
are the races that consist of one long course rather than a lap format,
simply because everything you experience is new from moment to moment.
Although Nail’d doesn’t match the over-the-top craziness of
Split/Second, there were enough boulder avalanches, hurtling trains, and
giant swinging sawblades to keep things deadly and exciting.
are also spiced up by the fact that you can steer your bike up, down,
left, and right while you’re in midair. This doesn’t sound like much,
but the way that this functionality is merged with the tracks’ design
and the overall sense of speed amplifies the thrills to gravity defying
proportions. Many of the jumps in the game require some sort of mid-air
adjustment. Choosing where to go is often a leap into the unknown and
part of the fun. Sometimes you have to decide pretty early on whether
you’re going to pull up for more air or dive down to avoid getting
smacked in the face with a tree. Other times there are multiple routes
around a level to choose from, and the game gives you the luxury of
deciding while you’re flying several stories up in the air. Nail’d’s
claustrophobic, fish eye-like camera complements the onscreen adrenaline
rush, and even though it can leave you blind occasionally, there are
enough environmental clues to steer you in the right direction – even
when you’re turning almost 180 degrees in midair.
single-minded focus on delivering a high-speed, thrilling experience
comes at the expense of the game’s overall breadth. The career mode
consists mainly of the same come-in-first race type, punctuated by Stunt
Challenges. These are basically the same as a normal race, only the
winner is determined by who can perform a limited roster of stunts –
which are not like ATV vs. MX-style tricks, but are simple feats like
landing on other riders or making huge boost jumps. Of course, Nail’d is
not supposed to be a trick-based title like Pure, but I wish it found a
way to augment its speed rush with more gameplay options and variety.
At least there’s day-one DLC featuring a Detonator mode that requires
you to perform a boost move in order to get a bomb off your back. Still,
Nail’d is not a game with great depth.
Creating a fast racing
experience sounds like a fundamental requirement of any racing title,
but Nail’d isn’t just a game that blows by low expectations. It’s a
focused experience that sticks to a tight racing line and captures the
essence of speed in a flash.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.