"I Take It all back Will. You were right. You were right. What was that, Steve Hill? Let's rewind. You were right. Really? You've seen Sunrise, have you? Let's hear it again, I've forgotten what we're talking about. I take it all back Will. You were right.
Victory! Sweet victory! TrackMania: Sunrise is set to be the best thing on four wheels, and no one can mutter inane (and wrong) comments about French shareware because it's quite frankly beautiful, and so fast it'll make your eyes water. Obviously there'll be all the same track-building puzzles, time trials and intense multiplayer competition as before - but the cars are sexier (ie not stupid trucks), they fly far higher and, most importantly, the opening jingle to every race has remained exactly the same.
New details that have leaked out of Nadeo include a vastly revamped track design system, custom paint jobs on your cars, and skin-able billboards and buildings - but what'll turn the TrackMania cynics among you is simply watching it in motion. Never has a game made such an evolutionary leap from edition to edition - if Colin McRae had a makeover of these proportions then it would be throwing real mud in your face.
Anyway, in summary, oh hang on... What? What was that? I take it all back Will. You were right. You were right. Christ Steve, stop going on about it...
Download TrackMania Sunrise
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
As The World's leading TrackMania apologist, you'd imagine that I'd be pretty happy with TrackMania: Sunrise. And you'd be right, as it's had a facelift like no other in recorded history. Put simply, it's gorgeous - drop-dead gorgeous. All the low-budget hallmarks of the first game that my colleagues mocked the last time round have been ironed out - even the trademark dada-dada-DADA-DAARGH!' music has been erased in favour of catchy pop tunes - even if they admittedly wear pretty thin after a while.
So what's here? Well, there's Race mode (chasing ghost cars representing the times you have to beat) and the ace Puzzle mode (in which you use a comprehensive track editor to map out a navigable course using a limited number of pseudo-scalextric pieces). There's also Platform mode (in which you scale mountains and make jumps that span light-years) and Crazy mode (which does as it says on the tin.) Where big name licences dribble out a few extra features every year, always holding a few back for the next annual cashcow, Nadeo has put in every conceivable option known to man. Track editors, a movie facility, car-painting, imageimporting and an amazing P2P function that lets you share your creations with the world.
This is perhaps the most community-minded game ever, and the fact that you can tap a button within the game and play a fan-designed game of TrackMania with rethought textures, tunes, car models and personalised advertising hoardings is super-funky. All this and people can laugh at your poorly designed hot-rod to boot.
What with all this fan-fellation though, the casual player can't help but wonder if Nadeo has forgotten that not everyone is as skilled as the baying horde of TrackManiacs. I say this because some of the levels are merciless, and you live in perpetual fear of mid-air collisions with lampposts or coming off a track that's impossible to get back on to. Meanwhile, unless you play on easy, some of the time-limits have your finger permanently hovering over the restart key. The first game was addictive in that difficulty and reward were well balanced - but here the difficulty means that some tricky courses veer into irritation.
As before, the lack of real' racing will deter many, but this remains a great game. Sunrise isn't the shift into the mainstream that it should have been - it's too unforgiving for that - but it will certainly do wonders for the online fraternity and (who knows) maybe even give them a few punters who aren't French.