Racing games walk a precarious tight rope. Not enough gameplay options and it turns into a stagnant “race around the track” within a few minutes. Too many tricks and special moves and it becomes an eye-straining pain in the butt. I spent some time at E3 playing Nail'd, a 4-wheeler racing game which uses the engine from Call of Juarez.
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Nail'd has a simple premise. Race around the track as fast as you can, don't die and, if you can, turn your opponents into smoldering wreckage. Nail'd rewards huge jumps, gnarly crashes and speed, speed, speed.
At any given second there is so much happening onscreen that it seems terribly daunting. Once you've got a controller in hand, things start to make sense. The crowded tracks and eye-candy extravaganza belie a game that is almost painfully simple at its core. There are no fancy tricks or combos to worry about. You'll have your hands full not getting nail'd. And, of course, nailing everyone around you.
Multiplayer is where I expect this game to really shine. It is gorgeous to look at (which makes it an excellent party game for non-participants as well) and the emphasis on sending your opponents to the great glowing racetrack in the sky adds a sharp competitive edge to this game.
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I'm still worried that Nail'd is a little too shallow to stay interesting for long, but my interest is definitely piqued. Downloadable content is already in the works; we'll see if that's enough to keep players coming back for more. Nail'd will launch in Q4 of 2010.