First Look: nail’d (Xbox 360, Sony PS3, PC)

A couple of weeks ago, Chris Bowen and I attended a conference with Southpeak, where we got a first look at a new TNA game (which Chris discussed here), as well as a previously unannounced ATV arcade racer called nail’d. All the locales in the game are based on real life locations, though some liberties were taken to make them more conducive to the wild stunts seen in the game. We didn’t get to try out some tricks ourselves since it was a pre-alpha build, but we did get to see some racing in Yosemite. We saw the rider navigate around giant buzzsaws, having to time jumps right so that he landed on one of the makeshift bridges comprised of logs rather than end up in the churning water, and avoid a midair collision with a helicopter. We also got to observe the consequences of failing to do so, namely the rider wiping out accompanied by a streak of blood across the screen before reverting to his position just before the blunder so that he could try again.

Speed and verticality are the main aspects emphasized; there’s no points or laps to concern yourself with, and while there are little side paths in all the tracks, they all lead to the same place. We got to see the physics thereof in action, and handling the ATV at such high speeds and positioning it in the air in order to ensure a smooth landing seem to be tricky prospects. To help things along on that end, there are onscreen prompts indicating which direction to push the analog stick right before difficult jumps. Like in Mario Kart, catch-up logic actually disadvantages whoever’s in first place, and the game will fob distractions at the rider in the lead in an attempt to throw him off, such as camera flashes from people in the sidelines. A rider doing poorly is given a small boost so as to facilitate them catching up. There is a boost meter that fills up when you do things like land on people, though this meter is not visible. Some stats are displayed on the loading screens, like world rank and time spent in the air and ground. Those who have played Pure may experience a sense of deja vu, and Aubrey Norris of South Peak also drew comparisons to the SSX and Burnout games.

Though we only saw single-player mode, up to 12 players will be able to race each other online (local multiplayer is still TBD). There will be the option to watch replays of races from different players’ perspectives, something that will likely prove useful for those wanting to improve their racing skills. Other modes include career mode, time attack, and designing your own races. The game offers different unlockables for online and offline, though achievements remain the same across both. Integration with Steam achievements is also planned.

While nail’d is still in its nascent stage of development, a Q4 2010 on the Xbox 360, PS3, and PC is planned.