TrackMania Nations Forever (1CD - Multi5) (PC|2012)
Size: 503.87 MB
TrackMania Nations Forever is the latest incarnation in Nadeo's tremendously popular series that combines arcade racing and fiendish puzzling. It's also free which, given the brilliance of the game, leaves you with no excuse to not download it right now.
While you're waiting for the 500MB of brilliance to collect on your desktop, let me tell you what makes it one of the best racers on the PC.
It's mostly based around online play and, as the name suggests, there's some patriotic elements involved. Registering with the game is simple and, after picking a country, your car is emblazoned with the national flag. Servers can be located by region or skill level, but most servers are populated by a dizzying variety of nationalities.
Competition mostly takes part in time-attack rounds of between 3 and 5 minutes, with every racer peeling around the brilliant circuits to shave milliseconds off their time. Your overall rank is constantly displayed, as is a selection of the latest lap times, and league tables are presented at the end of each round. Decent performances each points, which raise your ranking — which is displayed on both international and local levels, so you can see exactly how good you are.
The relentless, absorbing and worryingly addictive level of competition is only half of what makes TrackMania Nations one of the best free online games around today, though.
The other half is the stunning gameplay and design. Tracks are split into various sections — race circuits are joined by speed, endurance and acrobatic layouts, as well as a fair few more — and there's plenty of user-created circuits to accompany the dozens of Nadeo-designed maps.
Tracks often require a hefty dose of ingenuity and cerebral effort to work out the best routes, which is where the puzzle game element of the title comes in. The more you play, the better routes are found, and you discover ways to shave seconds of your best times, therefore climbing rankings. It's a game that gets better the more you play it.
The car handling itself is pleasingly simple and effective. Arrow keys steer the car, with enter and backspace resetting to the last checkpoint or the beginning of the circuit. Cars are styled on old-style F1 and Indycar racers, and it's easy enough to start scoring decent times. There's no real surprises on the three surfaces and you'll soon get to grips with tarmac, mud and grass, but experienced players will enjoy the reasonable depth to getting everything just right, again rewarding long-term investment in the game.
There is a new retail version of Forever, too — entitled TrackMania United Forever. It adds plenty of new circuits and cars to the existing content, but it's one for purists only. Nations Forever also adds to its repertoire when compared to the last free TrackMania game, which was just called Nations. Tracks are made from a fair few more pieces — using the simple, yet versatile and powerful in-game editor — and look far better. The menu screens have been tidied, too, which makes navigation child's play.
Nations Forever also includes an offline mode, but it's really not worth much space when the online version of the game is so terrifically compelling. Offline, tracks are grouped into colours depending on difficulty — white circuits are easy, with red and black tracks proving more problematic — and more are unlocked depending on how many medals you've won. And that's it.
The shallow offline mode doesn't matter, though, in the face of such stunning online competition. The brilliant track design, enjoyable handling and addictive, patriotic competition make this one you literally can't afford to miss out on, given the price. Download it now — your country, after all, depends on it.
Size: 503.87 MB
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