By DarthOrange 3 Comments
LittleBigPlanet Karting will officially mark the death of ModNation Racers. I understand why Sony would decide to make LittleBigPlanet Karting instead of ModNation Racers 2, but that doesn't make it any less disappointing. LittleBigPlanet obviously is a much better established and loved franchise. I have no doubt in my mind that this game will sell more then ModNation Racers ever did. However, I really think a new ModNation Racers 2 would have been a better game, and here is why:
For starters, the characters in ModNation Racers were much more unique and offered players a much more diverse set of options to customize their characters. A Sackboy will always look like a Sackboy. Whether you put on a 100 stickers, a shiny cloth, or make it a girl, it will still look like a Sackboy. ModNation Racers would let you make your character the way you wanted to make him look. Here are a few of the ones I personally made that that can't be done with a Sackboy because he is a Sackboy:
The karts in LittleBigPlanet Karting look generic. They all have the same aesthetic feel. They seem like makeshift karts made from household items. The karts in ModNation Racers had a slick look and were in proportion to the character. I don't know if it is that Sackboys head is too big or the Karts are too small but the focus is on the Sackboy instead of the kart. If the beta was any indication the mod tools for karts is not nearly as varied in its options. You no longer pick your cars engine, simply the sound it makes. Placing decals is no longer a precise Photoshop-like mode, it is just slapping on some stickers like you would in LBP. Here are some of the karts that I made in ModNation that I doubt will be re-creatable in Karting:
The Copyright Infringement
One of my favorite things about ModNation Racers is that you could literally race as just about anyone you could think of. If you can think of it, 98% of the time someone has already made it in ModNation Racers (yes, even the GiantBomb staff). Seriously, name someone in the comments and I will post a picture of them if I can find them in the game. Once again, a Sackboy will always look like a Sackboy and the karts are too small and the tools too simple to allow for any real customization. Here are just a few of the mods and karts that are not re-creatable in LittleBigPlanet Karting:
Staring such characters as:
And such karts as:
As I have stated, Sackboy is a generic looking creature that can only be customized so much, and his karts are the same way. They are too small and they do not have the space to be detailed or personalized. LittleBigPlanet Karting is focused on creating levels. As the beta has shown (those of you who weren't in the beta can check out the quick look), the developers seem to have focused on giving the players the tools to create a bunch of mini-games that have karts. The karts don't sound well and the karts feel too light, but at least you can play basketball right guys? The focus of ModNation Racers was always the characters, karts, and the racing itself. You could be anyone you wanted to be in that game, and the karts had a good weight and sound. Sure, the level creator wasn't great but at the end of the day in a good kart racer, the background doesn't matter, as long as the gameplay is good.
ModNation Racers 2 could have been a step up from the original in every sense. United Front Games could have improved the load times and added all the new additional creation tools that they put into LittleBigPlanet Karting, while leaving the kart and character tools exactly the same as they were in the original. Instead they made the game have an entirely new aesthetic and all those old customization tools were scrapped. They added in better level creation tools but they did not make the character and kart tools better. Nay, they are actually now worse. I understand that United Front was on a schedule and they could not do everything in the time they were given, but if they had been making a sequel to ModNation Racers they could have simply iterated on the great foundation that was already in place. I also understand that Sony decided to make LittleBigPlanet Karting because ModNation Racers probably did not sell very well and a sequel would have done just as bad. However, if Sony could hire a competent marketing team (a sack of potatoes would be better then whoever they have now), they could have given out ModNation Racers for free on PlayStation Plus or as part of the Welcome Back Package to let people see that most of the launch bugs had in fact been fixed. That would generate good word of mouth and a larger fan base that would be eager for a sequel.
LittleBigPlanet Karting feels like one step forward and two steps back. While the new level creation tools are much better now, the characters and the karts are no longer at the center of the game. The racing also does not feel right, it almost feels floaty, like LittleBigPlanet proper. ModNation Racers 2 could have been the greatest karting game ever. At this point I'm not sure if I would even call LittleBigPlanet Karting a good karting game.