Written by Alcator.
Just a few hours after Forever became available, I downloaded it and installed it. This review – the first part of it – describes and comments on things that I experienced during the first 24 hours.
The installation correctly detected TM United on my computer and didn’t ask for any CD keys or stuff like that. It also asked whether to copy all the custom stuff from United, and when I confirmed that, it really copied everything. Here I have just a tiny complaint: perhaps this “Copy old stuff” function could be a bit more customizable, because:
- I really don’t think copying videos shot in the editor makes sense (they might have offered copy/move/ignore). Videos are actually not a custom content of the game, they are custom PRODUCTS not usable within the game.
- There should have been an “Ignore missing files” checkbox (I had to confirm about 100 files that the game “thought” should be in the United folders, but actually were not).
After installation, the game starts (if you keep the “Launch” checkbox ticked). The user interface has been reworked heavily, although some “bad timing” still occurs: If the game fails to connect to the internet, it still asks you to respond to it (instead of preloading challenges first and then asking for internet connection remedy – this way, if you go to the bathroom or to get a cup of coffee during the load time, you come back and have to sit through the loading process needlessly). Also, the problem of the loading screen “freezing” during the “Scanning challenges” persists from older version. I really can’t understand why programs like Total Commander CAN show you how many of the total they have already processed, and TrackMania can’t. Please please please, a simple “Scanning challenges: [Number of challenges found so far]” would be much better.
There are no longer those short videos playing in the background in the main menu. Don’t really know if this is good or bad, I think everyone saw them so many times already that they won’t be missed.
What I noticed by accident is that if you idle too long in the menus, a screensaver starts – a beautiful glass-like rotating Earth globe with luminosity and radiance on it. This globe has different color each time you launch the game.
Forever now unites Nations with United, so that players of both games can play on Stadium tracks together. The drawback is that the car physics has once again been changed, so neither United’ nor Nations’ PF tracks in Stadium are certain to work 😦
Right after getting to the main menu, I went to the Solo mode area, where you’re presented with the choice of either the United campaign, Nations campaign, Custom campaign (you can now build your own campaigns inside the game, which is good), or the famous “Browse…” button for searching for custom tracks.
The campaigns have been changed significantly. Their difficulty is now reflected by colors (White – easiest, Green, Blue, Red, Black – hardest), and progression to harder tracks is limited by requiring you to finish the previous track(s) with some medal first: You need bronze medal to proceed to next track in Green difficulty, silver for Blue, and gold medal in Red. The black tracks only unlock after you gain gold on ALL the previous tracks.
Since I knew there are new tiles in some environments, I immediately looked at the small thumbnail images of the accessible tracks in hopes I would notice something new and try it. Desert was the obvious choice and I quickly tried the new water and “near water” sections, as well as the new majestic bridges. Have to say, desert became much smoother now, with those slightly banked turns and composite bridge slopes.
Alpine environment surprised me with castle walls and Rally got refined with some sort of small fields.
However, the greatest thrills came from the improved Stadium. At long last it’s possible to create big U-ramps, and the new blue-bordered platforms which allow the creation of ultra narrow tobogan-like rides are just awesome. This is the first time I’m really satisfied with Stadium – bravo, Nadeo!
This is all I managed to experience during day one. On day two, I focused on the in-game track editor, so stay tuned for part 2 of this review.