Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I take it back

I was really looking forward to Trackmania Turbo, so much so that I believe I put it on the 2016 hype list that Chance and I came up with a few months ago. It was a PC game that was aching for a console release. I thought that its short attention span, un-trollable racing and simple arcade controls would be a perfect fit. There was a Wii release, but nothing on the Wii counts, so Turbo was exactly what I thought I wanted.

It looks just as good as runs almost as smoothly as its PC counterparts. I say almost because there in an inexplicable hitch between laps on some tracks. Short time trial tracks and no collision detection between online racers is still present as are insane road courses that remind one of the slot car tracks that would run up and down walls and upside down. I should be having fun.

But I'm not. I am barely amused. Here's why: the game is the same but the platform is not. When I played Trackmania United on one of my old PCs I played it for fifteen to thirty minutes at a time. Just long enough to make progress through a few tracks but never long enough for their somewhat random nature and instant fail states to bother me. That is not how I play console games. Once I hit my couch I hunker down for several hours of work. Several hours of Trackmania Turbo leaves me frustrated and with a sore thumb.

United had a thriving online community filled with creative builders and enthusiastic racers. It was easy to find well made custom tracks on servers filled with twenty to thirty people. The online community in Turbo is anemic. The few user made tracks I played were terrible, intent on frustrating the player (like the worst levels of Super Mario Maker) instead of challenging them. The only servers with anyone playing were running built in maps from levels that I did not have the skill to unlock but the player count rarely ticked over ten people.

This forced me to the single player campaign, something that I barely touched in United. The campaign gets hard fast and the requirements for opening up the next batch of tracks are quite steep. After I play tonight and most likely put it aside I will have seen maybe one fifth of the built in tracks, the rest left hidden because I do not want to go back to all of the tracks that I missed a silver or gold medal on and improve my times.

Trackmania Turbo is just what I thought I wanted, not what I actually enjoy. Once again I have been so spoiled by Forza Horizon 2 that nothing short of that will do.

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