ModNation Racers slims down to pocket size for on-the-go racer. Featuring the same robust options as its big brother, we will see if PSP edition can finish on the podium, or if this slimed down racer should have stayed in the shop.
After diligently publishing a review on the PS3 edition of 'ModNation Racers,' (review) I was a little anxious to write up the review for the handheld version. 'ModNation Racers' for the PSP is a little sloppy when compared to its big brother, and once you have been spoiled, it’s hard to go back. Gamers who have the option to pick up either the Playstation 3 or 'Playstation Portable' edition of ‘ModNation Racers’ will want to go with the PS3. It’s bigger, better, and smoother. That is not to say the PSP racer isn’t worth a look, it is, however it simple can't match up with the power and online freedom of the Playstation 3.
No Place to Chill
The main difference between the two is the interconnectivity and the central ModSpot HUB. The ModSpot HUB might be a glorified menu; however, its purity of randomness is greatly appreciated when you are reduced to menus. Taking away the free connectives to have other players, drive around inside your game is a disappointing and the first thing you will notice, if you are trying out both versions. Looking past this drive-around to select, the menu hoping isn’t so bad, heck; it is what we are used to. In the menu’s you will have the same features as the PS3 edition, which helps soften the blow. The PSP edition is less showy then the desktop edition, but that really doesn't matter once you get into the thick of it.
Surprisingly, the San Diego team did a good job packing “almost” everything from the PS3 edition to the PSP. Similar to ‘LittleBigPlanet’ on the PSP, you have a shrunken down version, not better than the original, but sufficient nonetheless. This means you will be able to customize your own experience right down to your kart, your character, and tracks you are racing on. Downloadable content is available, and encouraged. Along with all the customizable features you will find an exact replica of the story mode present in the PSP edition. For more details on TAG and his adventure in the 'ModNation Circuit' check out our full blown PS3 review.
Since you are able to download and share content online, ModNation also supports online racing—Yes! And better than a simple, “Yes” it works online or via Ad Hoc with support for six players. All the expected modes are present so have fun racing against others in a lag free environment. Another note on the online portion that I should mention that over the two weeks that I have been randomly logging on, I have found some people to play with. This is vital to a game such as ModNation. So far, so good.
What a Snazzy Paint Job
Graphically, the PSP edition looks great, although it understandable that it doesn’t match up with the PS3. The load times, which seems to be a little too long on the PS3 are better optimized and are closer to the average we see on the PSP. The sound is on par with the PS3 with full voice-over work in the story elements, which is a nice touch. The production values are fairly high in comparison with other PSP titles. ‘ModNation’ isn’t the hottest property on the handheld, but it certainly not the worst.
Twisted Fingers Returns
Now before I leave you, I should tell you that my strongest complaint against ‘ModNation’ on the PS3, the controls, haven’t been adjusted or fixed on the PSP. They feel equally, or in some cases more awkward then the desktop version. This is disappointing and makes it harder to grasp when gripping the whole unit in your hand. I will spare you my whole "twisted fingers" rant, if you want to hear more head over to the PS3 review. Ultimately, the controls don't feel as polished as other 'kart racing' games and are very sloopy in comparison. Sadly, ModNation's ambition to be the new answer to ‘Mario Kart’ falls short in this one area, and ironically, it was the most important one of all.
ModNation Racers for the PSP is a solid racing that offers up more in the way of customizable features and online connectivity then most Playstation Portable titles. The sheer fact that they managed to cram “almost” the same amount of content into the miniature portable is outstanding. The PSP version might be a minor downgrade to the PS3 edition, but it defiantly stacks up. Aside from the warning "if you're not playing to head on line-- avoid me," ModNation Racers is a solid racer for on-the-go gamers.
Reviewed by DowntownJimmy | 06.19.10