Since a couple of weeks the official and long awaited successor of Trackmania United is available: Trackmania 2 Canyon.
This weekend I got a picture of it and also installed a server, since XAseco and Records-EyePiece are also available in matching versions for Trackmania 2 and the interfaces of the server did not change fundamental – see http://playground.arnowelzel.de/askaaron2.
The name already suggests it – compared to Trackmania United there is only one environment, just “Canyon”. But you should not be mislead by this, because the track elements are really versatile.
If you know the predecessor, you will not have any problem with the new version. The virtual currency “Coppers” is now called “Planets” and there is also a new “split screen” mode, where serveral people can play together on one computer – but otherwise nearly everything is the same as before. There is also a single player mode again in Trackmania 2, where you can practise the game on many tracks with different difficulty levels.
But the fundamental change, besides the very felicitous “Canyon” environment is the more complex driving physics. Indeed the new Trackmania is an arcade racer without the pretension of a realistic racing simulation – but you still have to steer more sensitive. The whole thing reminds a bit on a mixture of the earlier environments “Coast” and “Bay” – but anyway I had a lot of fun :-)
The price of Trackmania 2 Canyon is at the moment (as of October 2011) about 20 EUR – this is completely appropriate in my opinion. There is already a huge selection of different tracks for any taste or level of difficulty and many servers use XAseco and the global records database “ManiaRecords”.