TrackMania United Preview (PC)

Produced by the French company Nadeo, Produced by the French company Nadeo, Trackmania United is the latest racing game in a series from the company. With many before, this one is more of the same, and a little bit more.

Looking at the visuals in this game can be a pleasure and pure pain all at the same time. The super rendered light and colours make for something fun to look at if you have a video card that can handle it. At the same time as you're enjoying the beauty of every polygon, your brain is overflowing with the overload of too much input. Every single thing stands out in the details of Trackmania United; sometimes it's all just a bit too much. When you're racing down a track you don't have time to enjoy the super detail of the scenery or your mega shiny car.

Trackmania is a racing game, pure and simple. It doesn't pretend to be anything else. It gives you the tools to have a good race track experience. Upon loading the game there's nothing tricky about getting stuck into a race. Just load it and go. The control are intuitive and the tracks enjoyable.

Should you get bored of the tracks in the game you have a couple of different options available to you. You can go visit the community pages built into the game and download new tracks, or you can try your hand at creating your own.

The track editor is very easy to understand and use. Even without a manual you could be up and running with a new track in no time. With a bit of time and care you can make some very good and very fun tracks. A simple tool was created with the average player in mind. This isn't a mod community tool, not really. It's something everyone can use. To me that can only be a good thing.

If you don't want to create your own track and would rather experience the labours of love that others have thought up, then you can always download tracks. The download sites are built into the game itself, so it's easy to search and find one you like. Not only tracks are available for download though. You can also get car models and skins and packages.

In order to be able to download these things you need to earn the in game currency called coppers. To do this you need to play on the hosted servers and just exist as part of the network. The more coppers you earn, the better things you can download. It's a self perpetuating cycle that keeps you playing the game in order to build the community.

The community isn't too bad either. The website boasts a good forum for help and socialising, as well as the in game community for servers to play on. Never once did I have problems finding a hosted server to race on, there was always many being hosted. This is a great benefit to the game and community as it keeps people playing and is very enjoyable if you are new to the game.

Overall I'd say my impressions of the game are very good. The creation tools are good and the game community is ever present. Unfortunately unless you're really into racing games, this may be one to pass on. It has little structure and it brings nothing new to the genre. While the game never pretends to be anything but a racing game, which is good, it never tries to give you more. Its lack of pretension is its strong and weak point all in one.

Top game moment:
YAY! I got through the double loop!