|System: Xbox 360, PS3, PC|
|Pub: Deep Silver|
|Release: November 30, 2010|
|Players: 1 (local) 2-11 (online)|
|Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p||for lyrics and mild violence|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Nail'd is an exhilarating game. Truly. The game takes a fantastical approach to ATV-racing that borders on magical. Though Nail'd isn't the first game to take severe liberties with the ATV sport (Pure also took ATV racing to an almost-otherworldly level), Nail'd pushes the genre into absolute fantasy. Does this make Nail'd a bad game? No, not really. But it is one that won't appeal to everyone, and if you are looking for an experience closer to the MX vs. ATV series, you better keep moving, because this is not the ATV game you are looking for.
The game doesn't establish itself as a fantasy-driven ATV game in its opening moments, but its intentions are clear from the first jump you take in the game. Whether you are bolting up a steep ramp or racing across deep canyon crevasses, ATV driving in Nail'd is more akin to the experience of flying rather than driving. As you leave solid ground, your ATV will launch into the air, and you soar through the air with ridiculous speed and aerodynamics.
Surprisingly, the flying element of Nail'd becomes pretty important, as the game's multitude of tracks include layers that require you to soar through the air and hit bonus rings. The flying itself takes a bit to get used to, as you would expect a small arc and then downward movement after you hit the jump. However, you can actually climb in your airspace after you hit the jump, and navigate through complex structures as you steer left and right. If you have any experience with airplane simulations, it comes in handy here, as you can pull back on the stick to keep climbing, or gently push forward to land. The game even hands out bonus booster power for landing a "touchdown" like an airplane. Nail'd is truly a game for ATV fans who have aviation aspirations.
Although the flying mechanics certainly give the game an amazingly fantastic feel, Nail'd is also helped by some truly impressive track design. The tracks continue the theme of fantastical ATV driving, so if you are expecting circuits or beaten-down paths, you'll be disappointed. Instead you'll find massive landscapes with multi-layered paths that encourage a reasonable amount of exploration and, of course, flying. Tracks also have some pretty fun obstacles to avoid along the way, including construction vehicles, trains, and subway-like structures. Of course, the vehicles all show up right before you are going to pass the obstacle (no matter what place you are in) so interacting with them is a little bit predictable. Still, the first time you go head-to-head against a train and race alongside (or on top) of the vehicle, the experience is pure bliss.
Unfortunately, the poor AI ties into the second issue, which is the ultra-repetitiveness of the game. Soaring at top speed atop what looks like the Grand Canyon is fun for twenty minutes, but after while, even discovering new pathways seems uninteresting. If the game would have been harder, or relied on more than the same few obstacle elements to add some variety to the gameplay, this wouldn't have been such an issue. To their credit, they do try to add some variety with an "Off-Road" mode that allows you to make your own custom races with custom crash, boost, and track settings, but the weak AI keeps this mode from being really interesting, as the parameters don't matter too much when you are pounding the competition over and over again.