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Preview: Nail'd

Justin McElroy

"Do I really have to play that, Aubrey?"

That was me, being dragged away from one demo at the SouthPeak E3 booth to play Nail'd by a friendly, well meaning PR rep. Can you blame my hesitancy? It's (1) called "Nail'd" (2) it's an ATV game made by (3) Techland whose last game was Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood. Tempered expectations would be putting it mildly.

But get this: It's great.

Gallery: Nail'd (E3 2010) | 7 Photos

In describing the game to co-workers, I've found it hard to do so without resorting to really tragic buzzwords. Namely, it's like a regular ATV game but ... extreme. Most prominently, it's extremely fast, with scenery seemingly whipping past you at 200 mph. Jumps are "extreme" too. I didn't have a stopwatch handy, but some of the biggest felt somewhere between five and ten seconds long.

Landing them perfectly will fill your boost meter, as will zipping through large flaming hoops on the course or boosting into your competitors or "nailing" them. ... Hence the name. I know, gross.

If it hasn't already become clear, Nail'd hocks a nitro-infused loogie on reality at every possible turn. Those massive jumps seem doubly insane when you're simultaneously trying to avoid a landing airplane. And if that speed wasn't impressive before, wait until you have to keep it under control while racing in between two massive saw blades at a lumber mill.

Reality has also taken a backseat in the controls, which are incredibly responsive, even while in mid-air. Hard to believe? Sure. Way more fun? You betcha.

The game's still pre-alpha, but there was pretty clearly a graphical hit being taken in exchange for the nutty sense of speed. Assuming that's not improved by launch (and there's every reason to suspect it may be), the rough graphics may be enough to prompt some to pass Nail'd by, but I imagine they'll be far more open once they play for themselves. I know I'm a convert.

Also, Aubrey? I'm officially begging for your forgiveness.

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