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TrackMania 2 Canyon

TrackMania 2: Canyon (typeset as TrackMania² Canyon) is a racing video game developed by Nadeo and published by Ubisoft.
The release of TrackMania 2: Canyon was somewhat unique, with a combination open-beta/preorder available on August 17th. This allowed those who pre-ordered access into the multiplayer beta, with the remainder of the features automatically activated upon the game's release.

Fire the engine. Cut the first corner. Pull off a smooth drift. Crash headlong into a wall. Hit the restart button. Fire the engine. This is how TrackMania 2: Canyon begins, and for a long while this is how it stays. That's not a bad thing. This isn't a game about winning; it's a game about trying. Trying to get gold, trying to beat your friends' times, trying to shave a millisecond off your own score. It's a game about restarting, and frequently at that. For existing TrackMania fans, this description is surely familiar. The series stays true to its roots with the sequel, with an emphasis on quick-fire segments of gameplay, all neatly tied together in a package for the social media age.


TrackMania 2: Canyon features gameplay similar to that of previous games in the series. The player can race on various tracks, with the ability to do stunts in various modes, including a championship and a cooperative mode.The track editor from previous games also returns, and includes a new ability to create customized track pieces, although this feature may not be available at launch. A new "ManiaScript" is being created to help players add new features in the game (tracks, cars.etc.). TrackMania 2: Canyon will be all around one new environment for the series: Canyon.

Getting into TrackMania 2 is a simple affair. Solo play consists of 65 tracks, the majority of which are unlocked by obtaining medals. You load up a track, start your engine, and then keep playing until you set a time you're happy with. It's great if you're interested only in score chasing, although it's far from a shallow game. Each track has been expertly designed with the leaderboards in mind. Nailing the perfect racing line to achieve the best time takes practice and experimentation as you figure out how to cut corners and start drifts earlier.
Learning the best routes around stages is never a chore. The majority of tracks last anywhere from 18 to 40 seconds; they're short A-to-B sprints that take you around hairpin bends and over dizzying jumps. Frequently you find yourself driving up walls or drifting vertically around a quarter pipe. These stages are short, but the desire to stay on a given track, chasing the best time you can, is encouraged at every point. Each track offers up a bronze, silver, and gold medal to obtain, as well as an official time to set. These times can be challenged every five minutes, with a timer in the bottom right corner counting down until your next attempt. Setting an official time awards you with skill points based on how well you performed overall and contributes to your online leaderboard ranking.

Trackmania 2 cover.jpg
Developer(s) Nadeo
Publisher(s) Ubisoft
Series TrackMania
Engine Nadeo's engine
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows
Release date(s) 14 September 2011
Genre(s) Racing
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
  • PEGI: 3
Media/distribution Download

Trying to set the best time can be frustrating, but usually in a "just one more go" way. A few of the tracks are just plain annoying, though, as some of the longer ones end with a jump or a turn that can easily blindside you. But the immediacy of restarting (hit a button and you're instantly back on the starting grid) makes even the most irritating tracks seem reasonable. Less fun are the lap races, which occur every fifth track. These five-lap affairs are decent enough, but if you're going for gold, then they can feel like a bit of a slog when you mess up towards the end of the fifth lap. The variety and length of the A-to-B tracks make them far more entertaining. 

The complexity of some of the features is the main reason TrackMania 2: Canyon may be off-putting to some. Make no mistake: it's to the game's benefit that it's customizable and open to modding. But unless you're prepared to go to external sites to find new tracks, or you have image editing or 3D modelling skills in order to make decals and new cars, then it's possible to feel as if you're not getting as much out of the game as you could be. Very few aspects of the more advanced components are handled in-game. Grabbing a new track requires you to find it on the Internet or receive the file from someone and extract it into the correct folder which can be accessed via the launcher program. The same is true of cars and most of the replays of official times that are downloaded if you challenge them via the buddy list. Thankfully there's the option to create a "pack" which can be shared, containing multiple tracks and cars, so each individual file doesn't have to be downloaded separately.
Despite this, there's still a highly accessible time trial game here. Given TrackMania 2: Canyon's cheap price, it's a good value even if you're interested only in the vanilla solo and multiplayer modes. It's also a great-looking game. Dust kicks up as you race across canyon floors, and the exaggerated damage model causes cars to bend and buckle into glorious wrecks. Thankfully, the fairly basic soundtrack can be replaced with your own music, and custom maps can have their own songs attached to them.

TrackMania 2: Canyon is a game that tries to cater to as many players as possible, even if the gulf between the simple and the advanced is rather wide. Whether you're heavily investing in the community aspect, or simply racing the different tracks to set some times and save a few sweet-looking replays, the game is loads of fun. While it's hard to shake the feeling that some things, like content sharing, could be a little less slapdash, it's also hard to ignore the potential for community expansion. It's not really a game for those who like their racers to be a little more grounded and a little more focused on progression, but it manages to be rewarding even though you're just replaying the same track over and over, trying to beat a ghost by a millisecond. TrackMania 2: Canyon makes it clear that it's the taking part that counts, but it proves that taking part and then winning is even more of a thrill. 

Watch TrackMania 2 Canyon game trailer


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