Reviews

Review: TrackMania 2 Canyon

The original TrackMania developed a huge following, and from all the talk on the internet, I was assured TrackMania 2 Canyon wouldn’t disappoint. The internet was right. Starting off, I didn’t find the menu all that intuitive, but as you play and explore it all falls into place — just as quick as the cars move in the game…but without the drift.

Solo Play

In solo play you have a choice of different colour coded maps. Start with the white — or easy — maps and go from there. As you progress, harder maps unlock.  You can choose to race a competitor or just race against time. The bronze silver and gold competitors are OK to gauge your ability, but unless you can easily beat the gold, you won’t stand a chance online. Every 5 minutes TrackMania 2 Canyon connects to the server and asks you if you want an “official” race. Up until then your race times are just personal best times. You’ll have a chance to submit a best official time and your name will appear ranked next to the map in the solo game menu. The idea is to place in the first 10 — but it’s not that easy. I hope you like challenges!

Graphics

The game is smooth, realistic and detailed. The cars get life-like damage —  damage that doesn’t affect performance — and shadows and sunlight interplay as you scream around the track. Visually, it’s beautiful. The nice thing is that you don’t need a high end computer to enjoy developer Nadea’s latest offering.

Do it yourself racing

Like all car games, the ability to personalise the car is a big deal . Hang out at the paint shop and give your car a personalised respray.  You want it shiny finishes? You’ve got it – and, man they looks good! After you have perfected your look, you can save the car and then import it into your profile to get racing.

Building your own track is simple, and if you want more control, there is an advanced track editor. There’s nothing like sliding around your own track on full throttle!  I really enjoyed the creative side of the game as you are only limited by your imagination — my son and I spent hours on this feature, and it turned out to be some quality family time. Play your maps locally or upload them – the choice is yours.

Online

Playing online is a big part of the game, but fair warning — the tracks aren’t for the faint-hearted. This is no F1 clone; we’re talking fun maps where almost anything goes. You name it, TrackMania 2‘s got it — big jumps, driving up walls and loop the loops. This is where the challenges really are. Just completing the map at all is hard when you start out.  It is so much about the next corner, or the next jump. Shaving that .01 of a second of your best time is your primary focus; everything else is forgotten. It’s addictive. Chat, leaderboards and smooth connections to online servers make this a top online title.

Controls

TrackMania 2’s controls are basically the arrow keys on the keyboard; the truth is, this isn’t really suitable for a game this competitive. You’ll do much better with analogue controls – a steering wheel or joystick. To get the best times you have to be precise — almost to the point of perfection.

This is a fun, competitive and creative racing game. In short, the game is a gem. TrackMania 2 is well worth its $24.99 USD price tag.

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About the author

Stephen Moore