5 Reviews

Nail'd

A Pure, puddle-deep adrenaline rush...

So, having serenaded us with their Wild West Juarez duo, Techland have swap our gentle steeds for noisy quads and big guns for big air.

The result is Nail'd, the latest adrenaline fuelled racer with a four-letter title, but this time it's got some pointless punctuation too.

It's not exactly a genre with scant competition, either - with MX vs ATV Reflex and Pure ruling their respective roosts. In terms of tone, Nail'd is certainly closer to the latter; in fact there's probably a hundred weight of Pure discs and tracing paper at Techland's Polish HQ.

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However, when it comes to inspired course design, Black Rock might want to think about a spot of 'borrowing' themselves. Nail'd revels in the fact that the sport it envisions, well... doesn't really exist.

Taking that idea and running with it at a brain frazzling 60 frames per second, even the tutorial makes Pure's more vertigo-inducing courses look positively benign. If ever a game was worthy of that Adrian Chiles-awful phrase, "This will blow you away!", then Nail'd is it. For a while, anyway.

ZERO G-ZY LOVER
You will be hurtling down near vertical-ravines at speeds we've rarely experienced since those halcyon days of F-Zero GX. You'll also be ducking under 747s as they swoop in to land, diving between the blades of wind turbines, careening past hot air balloons thousand of feet in the sky, whistling past onrushing locomotives and swerving between gigantic dump trucks. And that's only half of it.

The slightly stretched, almost unreal chase cam perspective (which can't be switched out, by the way) works well at accentuating the sheer sense of velocity, even if it does sacrifice a measure of visibility - and while Nail'd isn't as crazily pretty as Pure, it's still strikingly strong simply because of its overtly hysterical nature.

As a racer though, Nail'd is weak. Properly weak. While we appreciate it's all about breakneck speed, when you barely feel the need to use the actual brake at all you soon realise something's badly awry.

It doesn't help that when you crash (which is pretty often) you'll respawn in the, er, spawniest places - on a couple of occasions it actually seemed to help that we messed up as we popped back up in a better position. Great if you want to finish in clear first place every single race, not so hot if you're actually hankering after a bit of a challenge.

The game also seems to arbitrarily slap your wrist if you drive too quickly or snag too much big air, totalling you and bunging you back on the track. This kind of bullying doesn't inspire you to seek out shortcuts, alternate routes and the like.

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There's also the problem of the quad itself. We don't mind the ancient-sounding pumping thrash metal soundtrack (bit of Slipknot anyone?) that accompanied our lappage, but whack the radio off and the actual engine noises are so muted as to be almost silent.

Coupled with the slidey cornering and a lack of any perceived traction and, to be honest, there's little reason to suspect you're driving a throbbing quad bike at all. In fact, you could probably swap it out for a flying banana and it'd handle in much the same fashion.

After a bit, you'll get the opportunity to swap ATV out for MX - but trail bikes feel stupidly samey. There's no sense of the danger you feel with, say, Motorstorm here. Unless you're holding down or up on the analogue when you land from on high, you're guaranteed to stay in the saddle.

There's no feeling of having to adjust your weight on the fly, such is the irrelevance of the physics engine to the actual gameplay.

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