ModNation Racers PSP Hands-on

We took the PlayStation Portable version of ModNation Racers for a spin to see how the Play, Create, Share series is going mobile.

Bringing the PlayStation 3 version of Modnation Racers to the PSP is surely a heavy burden, but after a recent play of the preview build, Sony looks to have pulled it off. The publisher brought in a number of development studios to help manage the task, and we had the opportunity to spend some quality time with the game to see how it's all coming together.

3D is also a hot topic in the ModNation world.

ModNation PSP has been developed by Sony's San Diego studio, which has worked closely with United Front Games; the developer of its PlayStation 3 cousin. Sony also reached out to Studio Liverpool--the developer of the acclaimed Wipeout series--to use the engine technology behind the PSP versions of those games. This collaboration seems to have paid off, as ModNation Racers is shaping up to offer both addictive racing and deep customisation options.

ModNation Racers is based in a world obsessed with kart racing--where young mods dream of fame, fortune, and the title of mod racing champion. You play as Tag, an up-and-coming graffiti artist turned kart racer, who is garnering attention for his driving ability, as well as his edgy custom vehicles. Accompanying Tag on his journey is his mother, a paint-shop owner who laments the popularity of bland paint colours, and your crew chief, a grizzled ex-racer who had his promising career cut short by a freak accident. Impeding your rise to superstardom is your rich uncle Richard, who wants you to join his mediocre car dealership, and reigning champion Espresso, a sleazy Italian mod with a violent pet monkey.

The creation options on the PSP version of ModNation Racers are as feature rich and accessible as on the PS3. The track creation elements have been scaled back slightly, such as the ability to alter elevation, but this isn't likely to have a significant impact on creativity because you can still modify the terrain around the track. While there is a clear focus on creation, ModNation Racers is predominantly a kart racing game. The racing feels responsive, there's a thrilling sense of speed, and weapons add a competitive thrill. Tracks are littered with various shortcuts and hidden boost pads to reward drivers willing to explore, while long bends give drift junkies the opportunity to earn boost, as well as add some flare to their driving.

Unlike the PS3 preview build that we played recently, our PSP build didn't have access to the ModSpot, which is the central hub for all online and offline activity. However, you will still be able to share and download mods, karts, or tracks, as well as take part in online races. ModNation Racers also provides plenty of single-player race modes; the Pure Race mode removes weapon boxes for straight-up racing. If you're more of a Mario Kart fan, you can play the Action Race mode, which features a familiar mix of racing and weapon combat, while thrill seekers can play an elimination mode called Last Kart Standing.

In Career mode, you can take Tag to the top by pitting him against other aspiring champions. The game is heavily based on rivalry, so elite racers can be unlocked by winning grudge matches. Sideswiping or stomping opposing racers also initiates a rivalry, and if you go on to beat them, you'll gain access to them as playable characters as a reward. Career progression requires you to place third or above in each race; however, the game also provides you with additional challenges. By completing a mission such as getting a certain number of takedowns, you are rewarded a payoff or bonus medals, which unlock more content for customisation. Additional content can also be opened through completing ModJobs, which are achievements for doing things like creating a new racer or driving over 100 boost pads in race mode.

Greasers and monkeys don't get along on the race track

ModNation Racers looks set to provide quality racing and deep customisation that is on a par with its PS3 counterpart. ModNation Racers is scheduled for release on the PS3 and PSP in the last week of May, so for more on both games, check out our complete coverage, including videos, images, and previews.

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Discussion

18 comments
TrikkX
TrikkX

this is for xshadowzz......you prick ( no offense, but you are too ignorant to spell "comment" correctly) There is actual scientific proof that there's a difference between a sentence and a boulder hurdling through outer space.

xshadowzz
xshadowzz

@skyline432 little big planet didn't fail, you prick ( No offense, but your comet was just too ignorant )

Mattg7lc
Mattg7lc

Can't wait for this game, definitely getting it on both PS3 and PSP. I'm glad I live in the UK so I can get it a few days earlier, on the 21st :D

Thunderstarter
Thunderstarter

@kavadias1981: Actually, it might be on the PSP that you get more for your money, for the only thing we know of that has been cut back on the PSP version is track elevation...and the PSP version costs less...so even if it doesn't have half the content the PS3 does it's really only half the price. I for one am looking forward to this, seeing as more and more third parties are looking at the PSP now that it is supposedly "hack-proof" with firmware update 6.0.

BonsaiMet
BonsaiMet

As someone who doesn't have a PS3 only a PSP I'm really looking forward to this.

Mr_Intense
Mr_Intense

Looks pretty good, I don't own a PS3 so the PSP version will hopefully do nicely for the time being.

skyline432
skyline432

this is gonna fail on psp jsut like little big planet did

houdeanibeani
houdeanibeani

ps3 or psp? i wanna know because if ps3, i kinda want to pre-order

Malhound
Malhound

This game needs remote play support and PS3 connectivity.

crf450redrider
crf450redrider

I will have to look into what they have scaled back for the PSP version before i can decide which to get.. I've been looking forward to this, especially the track creation part of the game and the psp would be a more accesible platform as the PS3 has almost been reduced to a BLU-RAY player on my shelf!... Can anyone clarify if it was the actual track elevation (as in raising and lowering of the track) they have cut i.e. we wont be able to put hills in!? and just have a flat circuit the preview mentions (that sounds a bit rubbish?) or just the overall area elevation? many thanks

kavadias1981
kavadias1981

It looks a lot of fun but since I have both a PSP and PS3 (as so many do), I will stick with the superior PS3 version. After all, you get more for your money with the PS3 version don't you.

thrasher510
thrasher510

which copy should i get first psp or ps3, or should i get this for my ps3 and get peacewalker for my psp

specta1989
specta1989

Don't get me wrong I can't wait for this game but I'm getting tired of the PSP getting watered down versions of PS3 games, why not just make new games for the PSP. I don't know maybe it's just me.

never-named
never-named

Can't decide to get this as my first game for the PS3 I'm buying a few months from now or get the PSP version...

Cthulad
Cthulad

This does look pretty cool for the handheld. Can't wait for either one. Looks to be a lot of fun!

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

This looks really good - can't wait to get my hands on a copy. It seems like they've done a good job of getting the important bits from the PS3 version onto the PSP. Definitely be getting both :D