Release Date: July 4th, 2013
Genre: Racing, Sports
Rated: E for Everyone
Now, I reviewed TrackMania² Stadium not too long ago and if you gave that a little read you would know that I thought highly of it and its addictive nature. TrackMania² Valley is the third expansion to the TrackMania sequel that released back in 2011 and stays true to its series legacy as being one of the most fun, yet challenging racing games in PC gaming.
Nothing has inherently changed about TrackMania’s gameplay in Valley, with the exception of differences in track variety. TrackMania Canyon is a Wile E. Coyote vs. Roadrunner setting, Stadium is an arena/coliseum, and Valley is a mix of pavement and forested areas, sometimes blending the two together.
This rally-esque racing style will have you traversing on a normal course and then have you navigate through dense forests. On top of races becoming progressively more complex and convoluted, the sections of some races with these wooded areas also cause your vehicle to lose handling and traction when racing at high speeds on its dirt roads.
This give you a bit more challenge while being frustrating at times. If you’re careful enough these short parts of the track are doable, but you can easily lose control and crash. Sometimes I wonder why they don’t just replace the dirt with ice to more accurately explain the constant sliding.
Valley retains the addictive core experience of its predecessors; short and sweet races, 65 new courses to race in divided into 5 difficulties, and a plethora of options to create your own tracks. Every race is one against time, but mostly last between one or two minutes, awarding bronze, silver and/or gold medals in correlation to the time you finished. If you end up getting a bronze or silver medal that oh so encouraging “Improve” option at the end of the race will make you want to go for the gold.
This series just dazzled me with it visual aesthetics. Valley has gorgeous backdrops, incredible reflective effects on your car, impressive vehicle damage, lush foliage in the forested sections; this game in general looks fantastic. I dare say that this is the best looking TrackMania game so far.
Valley wouldn’t be a TrackMania game without the iconic (in my opinion) controls. Up, down, left, right, that’s all you need to race down the trace at break-neck speeds, flying off ramps, and keeping yourself from. Coinciding with the optimal length of the races and the tight controls, it’s no wonder that TrackMania is highly regarded as an excellent racing title. That’s it, I just cracked the code.
Top notch audio as always. You have your normal vehicle engine roaring as you shake hands with death going improbable speeds while catchy dance/electronica music is pleasantly playing in the background. There were a few instances where if you were to restart several times within a single race that you can’t hear your car’s engine. But during my time playing it was, thankfully, a one-time ordeal, however I can see that being a nuisance if it is prevalent.
Valley is another fantastic entry for Nadeo. It has a few hiccups here and there, but nothing that takes away from how beautiful and fun this game is. Once you get started it’s hard to stop and if you do it’ll just pull you back in. On second thought, why would you stop in the first place? Life? You can forget about that overrated garbage! I’m just kidding (not really). At $20 it is definitely pricier than Stadium before it, but considering how much is being offered I’d say it’s worth the price.
Overall Rating: 4.25/5