TrackMania 2 Stadium preview: The insane finger-ninja racer is back

TrackMania 2: Stadium

By on March 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

For videogaming eons the thirst for speed has been an insatiable goal, turning fingers blistered and wearing away analogue sticks at the trunks like some primitive lumberjack. Nintendo’s plumber may have a preoccupation with saving princesses, but it wasn’t long before he was climbing into a heavily armed kart to duel it out for four-wheeled supremacy. Playstation eras come and gone have played host to Gran Turismo and Polyphony’s obsession with the intricacies of tyres, during which time Forza both started and finished its multi-lap race to console racer victory.

And yet amidst it all, these old racers — if the forward-thinking developer is to be believed — are nothing more than racing duds. “Look to the future!” they say, pointing towards a technological age of authentically rendered car-seat leather and the inevitable pre-order exclusive new car smell, pumped into the rooms of every would-be race car driver.

When’d it all become so serious?

Trials and its many brethren have answered the disgruntled time-trial racer’s calls for pin-point finger masochism in the interim — almost-racers in disguise — while cars have waged virtual road wars against one another in needless battle, but now, finally, the time-trial king has returned to reclaim his throne. Trackmania, it’s been too long.

If other racing games are highly trained linguists, Trackmania has always been a plain-talking, dubstep-backed commoner standing amidst the fluro lights of its multiplayer mayhem. The Trackmania difference has always been a small change to long-held mottos. Must go faster? No  — must go smarter.

Trackmania 2: Stadium is a return to the series’ nostalgic roots — the most popular and defining of its environments from its free-to-play days — and while there is little difference to be found from surface observations, the corner-shaving perfection of a Trackmania course is still just as infectious. It’s shinier, of course — as most sequels are meant to be — boasting an expanded editor and integration within Nadeo’s borderline-insane communal network that’s as confusing as it is endearing, and after its previous, somewhat bemoaned flirtation with the life of a race car drifter in TM2 Canyon, this new F1-but-not-F1 stable of vehicles are refreshingly controllable.

Low to the ground and built for precision: Trackmania’s true calling.

At the same time multiplayer is still the throbbing, pulsating nightclub of an arena as it’s ever been, with wild tracks as wild as the custom soundtracks blaring anything from hip-hop to rap, while confused drivers try and find the secret finish line that would bump them to the top of the leaderboard. For all the thrills of its multiplayer, beneath the bass, Trackmania has always been, and still is, a finger-ninja’s go-to time trial hotspot. A simplicity that flies in face of over complication and belies its masochist core of repeated retries numbering in the hundreds.

Its beta is more early-access than a bug or stress test — at the moment it’s basically feature complete and performance stable — and while familiar, perhaps at times overly-familiar, it’s a reminder that there are racers out there still willing to hedge their bets on precision simplicity. The glint of the shinier hood, the rising, or setting, sun over the stadium’s awnings – they’re all well and good – but Trackmania’s back on its game, and that’s all that matters here.

Tags:
5 comments (Leave your own)

Just one more turn! :D

Actually found a multiplayer server running the originals tracks yesterday, and it was a blast!

 

I think i need this.

 

makena:
I think i need this.

Yes, yes you do!

 

my god , how did i not know of this!

 

Dont forget to join the TrackMania² GoN Group – http://games.on.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=197647

 
Leave a comment

You can use the following bbCode
[i], [b], [img], [quote], [url href="http://www.google.com/"]Google[/url]

Leave a Reply

PC Gaming Calendar 2014

Follow Games.on.net

YouTube

Steam Group

Upcoming Games

Community Soapbox

Recent Features
Screencheat

Five Australian Indie Games We’d Hand Arbitrary Awards To: AVCon 2014

From a split-screen shooter where everyone is invisible to an abandoned space station, Australian indies are killing it at this year's AVCon.

Mass Effect 3 580x300

Here are 10 things BioWare absolutely must NOT do in Mass Effect 4

The hard truths that BioWare don't want to hear.

Survarium

Survarium Beta (PVP): Hopeless landscape, hopeless hit registration

James picks up where STALKER left off, but finds that the PVP part of this game may not have been the best way to go public.

Heroes of the Storm

Heroes of the Storm makes other MOBAs look like crap: My scientific analysis

Five highly objective examples of why other MOBA games can just get lost, thanks.

Streaming Radio
Radio Streams are restricted to iiNet group customers.

GreenManGaming MREC

Facebook Like Box