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Trackmania

Platform(s): PC
Genre: Online Multiplayer
Publisher: Ubisoft
Developer: Ubisoft
Release Date: July 1, 2020

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PC Preview - 'Trackmania'

by Cody Medellin on June 3, 2020 @ 1:00 a.m. PDT

The Trackmania Nations Remake combines easy-to-learn, hard-to-master gameplay style with a fresh look and creative direction.

Trackmania was a PC-only game that was popular worldwide. Its pick-up-and-play nature, along with the ability to squeeze in one more run from a player, were perfect for racing fans who wanted quick bursts of action and those who were chasing their best times. When it was announced that Trackmania was being remastered, excitement grew when it was discovered that Trackmania Nations, the ad-supported version that was the catalyst for the series' popularity, was the basis of the remastering treatment. We took a look at a preview build of the game to see how it's shaping up.

The campaign is set up very differently from before. Instead of presenting you with a glut of races, everything is now split into seasons, which are supposed to ensure fresh content so players keep coming back for new challenges. The current season has roughly 20 races, but we don't know how often the seasons will be cycled out. We also saw that plans are in place for a track of the day that everyone will compete in, but that was locked out of our preview.


The move to a seasonal structure sounds like a nice change for the game, since the races still adhere to past standards. The tracks range wildly, from having standard speed-themed straightaways to sporting very steep inclines and ramps that provide enough air to jump over huge swaths of track. Any tracks that last longer than a minute are considered to be long. As always, the actual driving is fast and floaty, but not to the point where you'll feel the car will spin out of control. It'll still take some practice to take corners well, but this isn't a racing sim.

There's an emphasis on completing the track quickly rather than coming in first, so the only competition you'll see on the track is your own ghost, and the game lets you quickly restart from the last checkpoint or the beginning of the course. Finishing a race always shows your best time, a medal to achieve, and your ranking among everyone playing, so there's motivation to plug away at the same races and do better.


Another big feature in the build is the track creation system, which is the heart of the game for some players. At the moment, you can't publish any of the creations you make yet, but you can use them for local multiplayer. Even with that limitation, the creation system is rather extensive, with lots of inclines, loops, ramps and turns that you can place in the world. It's enough to put items in every square of the large stadium. Furthermore, the game lets you add intros and ending cut scenes, a nice touch if you want to have a cohesive theme for your races.

Right now, Trackmania is looking pretty solid. The track creation tools are varied enough that budding creators can make plenty of interesting courses, and it's a nice bonus that you can add flourishes like intro cut scenes. Meanwhile, it may be too early to tell how the proposed season system will work, but the included courses are well done and are true to the spirit of the previous games' short and engaging races. Look for more about Trackmania as it approaches its launch date.



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