Saturday, April 19, 2008

Trackmania Nations Forever

My first thought upon seeing Trackmania Nations Forever being offered for free – with its big brother, Trackmania United Forever, selling for 40 bucks – was that it was just a fancy demo with an hour or two of gameplay. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

After two or three hours, I’ve only completed a third of the tracks and I haven’t even tried the multiplayer or track editor yet – but already I love this game and what it stands for. To keep this under 200 words, here’s why:

* Simple, intuitive gameplay that’s much deeper than it first appears.

* Robust networking and ranking features, better than any PC game I’ve played. Currently, I’m ranked 32,030th in the world, 1,397th in the U.S., and 87th in Texas. And my parents said I would never amount to anything…

* The perfect balance between graphic fidelity and low system requirements. It’s running on my computer in 1600 x 1050 without a hitch while still being easy on the eyes (for comparison, I’m running Team Fortress 2 in 1280 x 720 with a judicious combination of high, medium, and low settings).

* A shout-out to Rad Racer: support for old-school red & blue 3D glasses.

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