PS3 Review – nail’d

December 13, 2010Written by Adam Wolfe

From the creator’s of Call of Juarez, comes an extreme off-road racing game titled nail’d. With the PS3 already having a juggernaut off-road racer in Motorstorm, can nail’d possibly fit in, or is it destined to be sent off the track?

nail’d is a fast paced off-road racer filled with cluttered tracks, oncoming vehicles, and massive jumps. Let me reiterate that last part, super, massive, incredibly giant jumps; in-fact roughly a third of every track will be spent in the air avoiding trees, hot air balloons and mountain sides. When you’re back on the ground, you’ll be traversing lush forests, industrial sites, and snow-covered mountains.

Before you get into the race you will first need to select an event. The main event in nail’d is tournament mode, which is broken up into multiple races in four unique areas. These races will consist of your standard races, elimination races and stunt attack which will have you racking up points by completing feats. Feats are awarded for landing jumps, hitting gates or taking out opponents, as well as a ton of other things.

The first thing you’ll notice when you start the race is the environments. There is a lot going on in the game as trees are falling down around you, planes are flying overhead, and as a result the world really feels alive. What you’ll also notice is even with all of this stuff going on in the environment, the graphics really hinder these effects. I am not sure what the developers were thinking when they designed it, but when racing pretty much everything is a blur, I guess this was done to have a sense of speed, but it really just makes the environments look muddy. To make things even worse, when you use speed boost, which you will do a lot, the environment is drained of color. The longer you hold it the more the color fades out. For the life of me I can not figure out why the developer implemented this, and really seems like a poor design choice.

The racing itself is done well, but the mechanics never feel quite right. You will never have to touch the brake as you’re racing since you can turn your vehicles with no problem, even with full throttle. The one thing that is enjoyable by the lack of physics is being able to maneuver your ATV in mid-air. It feels really satisfying to hit a huge jump, fly over a mountain, around a hot air balloon, and land right between two tree branches. Unfortunately, that is the only part of the game that is really enjoyable, and it doesn’t last forever.

Another area that the physics are really all over the place is when crashing. There are times when you can slam off a tree or a mountain side and keep on going, but then other times you barely touch a rock and you blow up. It is so inconsistent that it provides a challenge to figure out where you can go. I’ve hit the same tree three times and gotten three different results. It’s just frustrating.

The difficulty in nail’d is also pretty horrendous at times. There were some races I literally wrecked 15 times and still managed to win by 10 seconds. It felt like for the first two laps they would keep up, but by the third lap they would drop off permanently, from being behind by five seconds on the second lap, to being up by 10 on the third. By the time the difficulty finally ramps up you’ve really gotten past the point of caring anymore.

There is a nice system of unlocking parts as you progress through the tournament. As you get parts you can swap them out, with every part offers good and bad attributes, such as some will increase speed but it may also decrease your boost, while others will increase boost but drop your top speed. This is a nice addition, but this also fails in so many ways. For one you are never told what exactly you unlocked, so you are left scanning through every part to see what you received. Plus when you do finally add a new part it never really feels like it did much. This really is a shame as it would have really added a little more depth to the game.

nail’d does come packed with a decent, albeit short soundtrack. The collection is made up of mostly rock bands with most of the songs being pretty popular. The issue here is there only seems to be 10 songs at most. Through my play time I would hear the same song over and over without fail. It really felt like adding a few more songs would have made it more enjoyable, and at the very least a custom soundtrack option would’ve sufficed.

The multiplayer, like the rest of the game, fails to impress. For one there is no split screen, which for an arcade racer is disappointing. nail’d also has online multiplayer, but it is so empty I never got a chance to try it out, and for a game that just released this really is a bad sign.

Overall, nail’d does some things right, and a lot of things wrong. It is an interesting take on an off-road racer with some seriously breathtaking jumps, but lacked basically everywhere else. Nothing about the game is particularly noteworthy, and the visual experience can be draining. If you’re looking for a racing game, stick to Motorstorm or the other proven series as this game just isn’t worth it.

PlayStation LifeStyle’s Final Score

+ Insanely large jumps

– Driving mechanics are a mess

– Online multiplayer is completely dead

5 out of 10