One of the major complaints that have bedeviled kart racing games for generations is difficulty. All too often these games incorporated “rubber band” AI which keeps competitors close no matter how perfectly players drive a course. Thus, races inevitably end with an opponent using a power-up just before the finish line, ultimately sending the player from first to last and sending controllers from in hand to out the window. Sony’s recently released ModNation Racers is no different, but that may all be changing as a new patch will bring a “Casual” difficulty setting.
Sony Community Manager Ramone Russell wrote on the PlayStation Blog that, “I know everybody wants to know more about the patch that’s in development. We appreciate your patience as UFG (United Front Games) places the final touches on it. There’s been a lot of community feedback and I think UFG has done a good job trying to include a lot of the improvements you’ve asked for. One of the improvements is the addition of a “casual” career difficulty that has less “aggressive” computer-controlled racers. I was able to spend some time last week playing the new build. Let me just say that I had a blast playing through the casual career difficulty and I think those that have been asking for this will be very pleased when you can get your hands on it!”
This new difficulty will go a long way to assuage some of the game’s major issues. Kombo’s own review of the game blasted it for having enemy AI that was “ruthlessly aggressive and downright cheap,” so this patch should address that issue nicely. Now if it also cuts down the unbearable load times then this may just be the most perfect kart racing game ever made.
The major question is how much does this patch do for the game this long after release? Will the revamped difficulty inspire a new wave of sales, or have those who wanted to try out ModNation Racers already done so and moved on? Would Sony and United Front have been better off pushing out this patch immediately after release or would it have even made a difference? While we imagine a few stragglers may give the game a try now in spite of previous misgivings, this is a patch which, if it wanted to really make an impact, should have arrived a month ago.