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nail'd Preview

By Paul Thureen, 8/24/2010

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We've had some great ATV/motocross racing games recently. From the venerable MX vs. ATV series to Motorstorm and on to Pure, we've gotten some very fun racing games with high-flying jumps, ridiculous tricks, and hilarious multiplayer action. Now, Polish developer Techland (creators of the Call of Juarez games) and publisher Deep Silver are finishing up nail'd, an MX and ATV racing game with some of the most ridiculous verticals and track layouts that make it seem more like you're on a roller coaster than a motocross track.

The biggest and most noticeable thing in nail'd is that there aren't any goofy tricks you can do while you're airborne. It's not that you won't be spending any time in the air - on the contrary, something like a quarter of your time on any given track has you in mid-air, sailing towards the next bit of solid ground - but landing these jumps is often difficult enough without the game asking you to do Nac-nacs or flips at the same time. Instead, you'll be able to control your vehicle in mid-air, setting up interesting jumps that get you to shortcuts and boost-bestowing rings.

And boost is a huge deal, too; making clean landings and hitting the boot rings will get you into first place pretty easily, because using your afterburner - even in mid-air - allows you to get way ahead of your opponents pretty easily.

The track variety in nail'd is very solid; most games like this have the requisite range of environments, like a desert, a jungle, a snowy mountain range, and the like, but nail'd makes these interesting too with the actual design of the tracks. You'll have declines that are nearly straight drops, then you'll loop around and hit a huge jump over (or sometimes purposely) into a massive canyon. It'll be up to you to pick the landing area you want, as you'll have control to put your vehicle where you like. It's not always easy, though, since boosting is necessary on some jumps to get to the highest, most useful places.

With offline races against the AI with challenges and achievements in a tournament mode (which serves as a campaign as well) along with new ATVs and bikes and new parts for each, this is definitely a full-featured game. The parts you buy will adjust the stats of your vehicle by adding to one stat (acceleration, air control, and the like) and removing from something else. The intent is to create a balance rather than allowing you to get so many good parts that all of your stats are at their maximum, and that's important if the game's going to let you take these customized bikes and quads into the 12-player online modes.

While nail'd probably won't be winning any major awards for innovation in racing games, it should offer a fun, amazingly high-flying experience that will have you questioning which way is up with some of its massive dips, turns, and jumps. Few racing games are quite this disorienting, but that confusion comes in a very entertaining, over-the-top way. nail'd is set to land on PC, PS3, and 360 on October 19th.



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