Trackmania 2 Canyon is available right now as a digital purchase straight from its very own official website. It’s the game with an obscene amount of player-controlled cars racing around thousands upon thousands of physically impossible tracks. The game uses Nadeo’s own ManiaPlanet system for updates and downloads, which is why it’s only available direct from the website. That may change but don’t count on it. As we reported previously, despite Ubisoft being the publishers they have stated that there will be no always-online DRM check. John checked exactly how the game does work offline and his findings are below, along with a launch trailer.
First of all, here's John on the all-important online/offline business:
Okay, here's the deal.
You absolutely can start Trackmania: Canyon without an internet connection. It warns you at the start that you'll not be able to access the online elements of the game, and then loads.
What's odd is how it presents the single-player elements. In offline mode, two sections of the game are unavailable. There's Multiplayer, rather obviously, but more strangely, Individual Play.
Instead you can access Local Play, which lets you get at all the maps, but perhaps not in the most helpful way. All the tracks are there, but instead of the nice grid of images to select from, instead you've got what's essentially a directory tree, confined to an odd, messy line. It's clumsy, and I can't think of any reason why offline play couldn't be as neatly presented as online.
The difference with Individual Play is that, as ever with the TM series, you're competing against the rest of the world with your track times, even though you're not actually racing with them. The times can be seen by region, nation, or the whole world, as anyone familiar with TM will recognise. Hence the need for a connection.
In Local Play all those elements are removed, just letting you pick the tracks out of a list. It's undeniably dismissive, but at the same time, it's not how TM has ever been intended to be played.
So crucially, yes, you can launch and play the game offline after an initial activation the very first time you load it.
Good. OK. Right?
As for the trailer? Beautiful, isn’t it? And is it odd that I find it strangely wistful? Almost like it's showing me the world that could have been, a world where driving to my local Tesco would involve gliding across the edges of every building in between, performing a weaving and harmless dance with the commuters as we pass each other by. That's what it makes me think anyway. I'm often discombobulated by strange use of space and surface, but Trackmania makes it all seem quite soothing and proper. In video form anyway. Sometimes, it's good to be a spectator without a worry in the world.
We’ll have more words and thoughts on this once we’ve hurtled around its dreamscapes for a sufficient time.