Off-road arcade racing titles have been somewhat of a rarity on the Xbox 360 and those that are available have received poor reviews critically. One exception to this is Black Rock Studio’s Pure, which received rave reviews back in 2008. Three years on, Nail’d has been released.
Developed by Techland and published by Deep Silver, Nail’d focuses on ATV and dirtbike racing, with an emphasis on speed and verticality. In fact, the speed and verticality of the game is so fast and intense; players will spend a lot of the game crashing into trees, rocks and other obstacles the game throws at them.
Before diving into Nail’d’s game modes, something that particularly stands out in the game is the customisation options available. Players are also able to modify their alias with a choice of eight suits and four styles. Oddly, players are able to pinpoint their location down to the region; however, this doesn’t particularly affect any characteristics of the driver, like their ability to speak Geordie if North-East England is selected.
As for customising the ATV and dirtbikes, players are able to choose from a range of exhausts, bodies and other vehicle parts that has an evident effect on the handling of the vehicle. Further parts can be unlocked as the player progresses through the single player campaign.
The game’s main mode is Tournament, which is made up of a series of cups, leagues, eliminations and the big finale. However, the game mode can prove quite tedious in long playthroughs. This is due to the lack of variation in the race types (Simple Race, Stunt Challenge and Free Race) but, even with additional quirks such as infinite boost, they all end up as a simple race to the finish, even the “Stunt Challenge.”
Stunts in Nail’d are quite limited, with players predominantly being rewarded for landing to perfection or in certain ways as to perform a wheelie, rather than aerial tricks like you would expect. Completing such stunts earns the player boost, which can give them the edge in the race. Another way of earning boost is by driving through fire gates, positioned in difficult to manoeuvre through locations, bringing an element of risk into the game.
The remaining single player game modes are your usual racing title events, including Time Attack, Quick Event and Custom Tournament. These provide extra gameplay time, though are game types players are likely to play once and never again.
Nail’d contains fourteen tracks in total, each of which is significantly different to the other, though all contain spectacular jumps, twists and sights. Each one is based on a different theme, including a mountain creek, a rail track, a dam and a seaside. Overall, the designs of the tracks are very well done and go hand-in-hand with the game’s speed and velocity elements.
As for the multiplayer aspect of the game, Nail’d lacks a local multiplayer mode, something that comes as quite a surprise. Nevertheless, the game does provide support for up to twelve players via system link and LAN, for those who have the option available to them, as well as over Xbox Live. Xbox Live provides the same game mode options and quirks as the single player. If you can find the players, the Xbox Live experience can prove very enjoyable with its competitive nature.
Graphically, Nail’d is very impressive. The attention to detail, especially noticeable in the background imagery, is quite pleasing. Witnessing the occasional hot air balloon, cruise ship and train as players race raises the intensity of the game.
The game’s audio includes a heavy metal soundtrack, featuring tracks from Slipknot, Queens of the Stone Age and Rise Against. This seems like an odd decision for a game with a 12 age rating though it does fit in with the game’s style quite well. As for the remaining audio, the sound effects are to a good standard.
Overall, Nail’d is a good title, let down by some poor development choices. The stunts aren’t as spectacular as players would have hoped and the lack of variation in the race types means the title can get quite repetitive quickly. This is one title worthy trying before buying as it doesn’t quite hit the nail on the head.