There’ve been plenty of “ultimate” editions of games in the past. Often the last squeeze of milk out of the cash cow, these desultory compendia typically comprise the original game, the official expansion pack, a crap sequel and one or two “never before seen!” levels. TrackMania: United, on the other hand, is a beautiful amalgam of the game’s previous forms, caught in the prime of its life rather than as a decaying elder statesman.
Existing TrackManiacs will be all too aware that the series has never relied purely on its ridiculous loops, insane speeds and pixel-perfect ramp jumps. They’re the best bits, yes, but they are merely the main course to a gamut of subsidiary dishes such as arena-bound F1/buggy hybrids, snow tracks that make for almost bobsleigh conditions and rally courses that may not make Colin McRae lie awake in bed at night, but are certainly fun. And now, for the first time, they’re all together in one incandescent bundle of love.