Review – nail’d

We spent the day hands on with game developer Techland’s nail’d. Did it live up to our expectations, or did it leave us in the mud? Find out after the jump.

Racing games are everywhere these days, and they all let you go fast in some way or another, but you never really feel like your going fast. Sure, a Ferrari or a Lamborghini can go 200+ MPH in a video game, but it doesn’t really give you the feeling that YOU are going 200+ MPH. With nail’d, you will feel the speed. You may also need a pilot’s license due to the amount of time you will be airborne.

The first thing you’ll notice about nail’d when you start your first race is that some of the tracks are more of a downhill mountain bike track than a motorsports race track. Of course most mountainbike tracks won’t have jumps that send you four hundred feet down the hill, or three hundred feet in the air, or have trains hurtling towards you in a tunnel. The tracks vary from mountains covered in snow or mud, to Greek ruins of some sort. One thing they all have in common, is insane speeds and big jumps. Scattered around each track are boost gates that will fill up your boost tank and assist you in reaching those insane speeds. You can also help fill up that boost tank by doing things in the race like making perfect landings or landing on top of another racer, these are called Boost feats. Pressing the boost button will send you hurtling onward, or downward, or upward and the color will drain out of the screen. Almost like tearing your retinas.

If you are looking for realism, look elsewhere. nail’d is straight up arcade racing, without the need for knowing gear ratios or tire density. Physics pretty much went out the window for this game, and that’s not a bad thing. While your machine is airborne, and it will be quite often, you’ll be able to steer it right or left, and also make it fly farther or shorter. With the amount of things going on below you, indecision will lead to the destruction of your ride. Not to worry though, since you’ll be re-spawned just past the last obstacle and you’ll be on your way again in no time. This being an arcade racer means that your time off the track is minimal. A couple of seconds is usually all it takes to get back in the action.

The game ships with fourteen tracks and there is a download code on the back of the game manual for four more tracks and some other goodies. All launch copies will have this ‘one use’ code, but it hasn’t been announced how long that will continue.

For racing you’ll have to choose between two wheels(MXB) or four(ATV). No need for a huge stable of cars for these tracks. Both vehicles have their pros and cons, but the four wheeled machine is a better starter model than the two. While the MXB is fast and nimble, it’s also a little harder to control. The ATV is a little slower, but considerably easier to maneuver through the tracks. Once you are familiar with the tracks, you may want to switch over to the faster machine. There are some customizations for each ride, and they do make minor differences in handling, boost capacity, acceleration, and speed. The differences seem to be fairly minimal and have no bearing on the overall performance of each vehicle.

There are five types of gameplay for offline play and four modes for online play. Offline you can unlock upgrades for your vehicles by playing through the Tournament mode, which consists of over sixty separate races. It’s a great way to get the feel for each vehicle and each track.  You can also try out Time Attack mode or try a Quick Event. Every track in the game is unlocked and available for all offline and online races. With the free DLC you’ll also get an added style of gameplay called Detonator. It’s hot potato with a bomb on your back. The bomb is passed onto another rider whenever the current bomber does a Boost Feat.

There are also leaderboards to see how you rank up against other players around the world. You can filter the leaderboards to limit the rankings by country, state, or region. A great way to see how you personally rank against riders from Great Britain or all of Europe.

The soundtrack for the game is very rough and fits the game play well. You can sample some of the tunes, and even download some, from the Official nail’d Facebook Page. Most are very fast tempo tunes with a lot of heavy metal going on. They are all original songs created just for the game, and even though we aren’t metal fans, we did end up downloading a couple for ourselves.

The only complaint we have is about the graphics. They aren’t exactly last gen, but they aren’t exactly this gen either. They fall somewhere in between, and that was a little disappointing. The game does play at 1080p and the graphics definitely don’t make the game unplayable, it is just not up to par with most great games released for this generation of consoles. While we fully understand that the faster you go the blurrier the picture gets, the picture shouldn’t look bad when you’re waiting to take off at the start of the race. The game is still worth the price even with this flaw.

Techland’s nail”d is a good racing game that separates itself from other racers out there by creating an intense experience that will definitely keep your heart pumping and keep you on the edge of your seat.