Trackmania Sunrise comes from Nadeo: makers of the original Trackmania track builder game and Virtual Skipper. Make tracks, race on them, compete against others via LAN, hotseat and the Internet. You can customize your vehicle and earn medals
Trackmania Sunrise comes from Nadeo: makers of the original Trackmania track builder game and Virtual Skipper. Make tracks, race on them, compete against others via LAN, hotseat and the Internet. You can customize your vehicle and earn medals—the currency of Trackmania earned through successful showings in challenges. Day, night, sunset, sunrise—you can play in many different environments. The courses are like nothing you'd see in real life: high jumps over water, racing over mesh tracks, buzzing through shopping malls. This isn't how they do it on ESPN.
Grand Theft Auto is not a racing game per se, but it has set the bar in realism. Sideswipe a concrete pillar and you'll scratch the paint. Hit a wall at 200 MPH, and you might take out a headlight. When you skid in Trackmania Sunrise, you leave burnt rubber on the pavement, but cars and scenery show no hint of crash damage no matter what happens. Racing games have gotten so good, that Trackmania looks like its a few years out of date coming out of the gate.
The worst gaff comes when you splash into the water. Does submerging beneath the depths disqualify you from the race? Nope. Unlike almost every automobile in existence, when cars in Trackmania hit the drink, you can rev your engine, point your vehicle towards land putter to shore. Let up on the gas, then punch it and your car can leap from the water like a dolphin at Sealand begging for fish.
Back in the pre-Windows days, you have to navigate from screen to screen—burrow in five screens, then back out to get back to the top. Trackmania give you this same sense of 1980s computing. No dropdown lists or navigation options allow you to snap to the top of hierarchy, so you have to go screen by screen into challenges and then back out to the top drill in again.
A minor complaint comes from Trackmania's tie-in into my steering wheel controller. It would have been nice if there was an option to tie in the features like force feedback, but Trackmania has no way to handshake between the game and the capabilities of the controller. When I abandoned the steering wheel, I found the game handled as well from the cursor keys.
Trackmania touts track building as a big feature. Coming from games like Civilization, Roller Coaster Tycoon, SimCity and the Sims, I found the interface really clunky and vague. There are definite map borders, but you have to bump into them to find them. You drop building elements but they're prone to sit in isolation. You have to destroy and try again until get the magic combination that makes a length of racetracks.
Trackmania Sunrise is a middling offering. What it offers in great visuals, it loses in making those visuals static. It allows you to build crazy cool race courses—if you can divine how the tools work. If you want to race around a course and you can't find another racing game, Trackmania Sunrise is the game for you.